Typically served for breakfast, this Southern Vietnamese recipe features tender pork meatballs served in a deliciously savory and rich tomato sauce. You can have Xieu Mai as Pork Meatball Bánh Mì, with Vietnamese baguette, or over steamed rice. It’s a mouth-watering dish that’s sure to be your new Vietnamese comfort food!
Xieu Mai vs. Siu Mai
Though their names are very similar, Vietnamese Xieu Mai and Chinese Siu Mai are quite different. Siu Mai is a kind of dumpling that’s typically associated with Cantonese cuisine and is usually eaten as a snack or part of a meal. You can typically find it served in dim sum restaurants. There are also many different versions of this found all over Asia, as well as different fillings like ground pork, beef, or shrimp.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Xieu Mai is a ground pork meatball. Though both are made from ground pork, Xieu Mai is different from Siu Mai in that it isn’t wrapped in dough and it’s also typically served in tomato sauce. We Vietnamese people usually eat Xieu Mai for breakfast. The tangy sauce and tender meatballs are a delicious way to start the day! But like most Vietnamese dishes, you can also have this at any time.
What to Eat with Vietnamese Xieu Mai
There are lots of different ways to enjoy Xieu Mai. You can have a warm bowl of it alongside a Vietnamese baguette, serve it as the main protein in a Bánh Mì sandwich, or eat it with some steamed rice. I also suggest making extra because this dish freezes really well!
Xieu Mai with Vietnamese Baguette
Having it with a side of Vietnamese baguette known as Bánh Mì is the usual way of serving it for breakfast. The fluffy interior of the bread soaks up the tomato sauce while the crispy exterior creates a wonderful contrast with the tender meatballs. The combination of textures and flavors really wakes you up!
Xieu Mai in Bánh Mì
Another popular way of serving Xieu Mai is in a Bánh Mì sandwich. The richness of the tomato sauce pairs well with the fresh herbs. Meanwhile, the crisp Vietnamese pickled vegetables work with the Bánh Mì to create a textural contrast with the soft pork. It’s super filling and delicious. If you want to make your own fresh Vietnamese baguette or Vietnamese pickled vegetables, click on these links!
Xieu Mai with Rice
Finally, serving the Xieu Mai over a bowl of steamed jasmine rice is a great option for dinner. The fluffy rice turns this combination of warm tomato sauce and flavorful pork meatballs into the ultimate comfort food.
Vietnamese Tomato Sauce
This dish is from Southern Vietnam and is one of the few dishes in Vietnamese cuisine that uses tomato sauce. Vietnamese tomato sauce is savory with a little hint of sweetness that perfectly balances the tomato’s acidity. It’s known as Sốt Cà Chua and is only featured in a handful of dishes such as Cá Chiên Sốt Cà Chua, or fried fish with tomato sauce, and Đậu Sốt Cà Chua which is fried tofu with tomato sauce.
Vietnamese Xieu Mai Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- 2 lbs Ground Pork
- 1 piece Large Onion
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1.5 tbsp Corn Starch
- 1.5 tsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- 3 pieces Medium-size Tomatoes
- 1 can Tomato Sauce 8 oz.
- 2-3 pieces Green Onions
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2 tsp Corn Starch Mixed with 2 tsp cold water
- Add all ingredients to ground pork
- Mix by hand thoroughly
- Allow for a meatball mixture to marinate for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Form ground pork mixture into meatballs and put into a large bowl
- Bring water in a steaming pot to a boil
- Once water is boiling, add the bowl(s) of meatballs
- Steam the meatballs for 20 minutes
- While meatballs are steaming let’s start our delicious tomato sauce
- Chop green onions and tomatoes
- Sauté green onions until fragrant; this should take about 3-4 minutes
- Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for another 3-4 minutes
- Add garlic powder and sugar
- Add 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- Add ½ cup of water
- Simmer tomato sauce for 5-7 minutes over medium heat
- Mix 2 tsp of corn starch with 2 tsp of cold water
- Add corn starch mixture to tomato sauce to thicken up the sauce
- Add steamed meatballs
- Simmer meatballs with the tomato sauce for 10-12 minutes; make sure to cover each meatball with the tomato sauce
- Add chopped green onions and it is ready to serve