Bang bang pow!

This might also be known as an onomatopoeia sandwich.

Read Time: 6 minutes

What is this sandwich?

This sandwich is a riff on a popular appetizer that was invented in the United States but heavily influenced by Asian cuisine and ingredients with the addition of Thai chili-focused ingredients to create what is known as bang bang shrimp sauce.

What is bang bang shrimp?

Bang bang shrimp is a trademarked appetizer invented by chefs at a chain restaurant called Bonefish Grill. The story that Bonefish Grill offers about bang bang shrimp could be printed on the paper inside a fortune cookie so there’s not a whole lot of backstory but I can attest that the combination of ingredients is tasty and with the right strategies it can make a really good sandwich.

The sauce known in parts of the US as bang bang sauce isn’t the sole invention of these chefs. Bang bang chicken is also a popular dish in Chinese cooking—specifically from the Sichuan region. The Chinese version of this dish is very different from what was invented just a few years back by Bonefish Grill employees. I’m bringing all this up because I don’t want there to be any confusion that I’m trying to make a traditional regional cuisine here unless Florida—the home base of the Bonefish Grill—is the culinary region that you’re thinking of.

I’m going to make bang bang shrimp in two different ways and then turn them into sandwiches. First, as always, we need to get that bread. And I have a new recipe.

Sweet scallion sandwich rolls

The dough for this bread is similar to my Hawaiian sandwich bun recipe that I have packed with scallions to add visual and flavorful interest. Other than the scallions, the base of the liquid inside the dough is pineapple juice so there is a lot of sweetness in the bread to balance out the savory green onion flavors.

Thinly slice up 3 or 4 scallions, including the white parts.
Add all the scallions to the dough mixture and knead as usual.
This dough is a little bit tacky but that just means it will turn out as very light bread rolls.

Once the scallions and pineapple juice are incorporated into the dough, the process is just like making normal sandwich buns or rolls. In this case, I thought “sub” rolls would be better for shrimp than hamburger bun-shaped rolls. So I took my Hawaiian bun recipe that typically makes six buns and simply weighed out four portions instead. After shaping into torpedos I had four long and skinny rolls of dough.

Shape all the dough into four 8 or 9-inch rolls and allow to rise.
After an hour or so the rolls have more than doubled and are ready for baking.
The first batch of these rolls I simply painted with egg wash before baking. This is why the rolls are so shiny and brown.
The black sesame-seeded roll ended up being eaten in a different sandwich than the one I’m writing about today.

For one batch of these rolls, I decided to slice up scallions and sprinkle them on the outside after I gave the rolls an egg wash. I wanted it to be clear that scallions were the focus of the roll. I think they turned out a little weird looking but I still enjoyed eating them in these sandwiches. The scallion flavor is pronounced and the pineapple juice in the dough brings a lot of sweetness that is much appreciated.

Here’s my new sweet scallion sandwich roll recipe that I used in these sandwiches. If you don’t want to make your own bread, I would suggest buying Hawaiian rolls to best match up with what I did in my sandwich.

Red pepper and scallion slaw

This slaw I made for this bang bang shrimp sandwich is very similar to other slaw recipes that I have shared, but I have added thinly sliced bell peppers and green onions which both add flavor, but the bell peppers add texture as well. I did not create a full recipe for this slaw because I don’t think it’s required to make the bang bang sandwich work. But if you wanted to recreate the exact slaw that I made, I simply used my Eastern North Carolina slaw marinade/dressing and added scallions and thinly sliced bell peppers.

I found these mini bell peppers, but you can use regular-sized peppers as well.
The goal is just to make sure the pepper slices are about as thinly sliced as the cabbage in the slaw.
The bell peppers add a great texture and sweetness to the final slaw.

While I don’t think that bang bang shrimp is super spicy, if you hate hot food, you should become a fan of slaw for its cooling power. Cabbage is typically the base for most traditional slaw and the juicy cabbage crunch also works well to cut some spice. Overall, though, the biggest cooling factor in this slaw recipe and many other recipes is the mayonnaise-based dressing.

Two preparations of shrimp

Because I am crazy, I made two different versions of this bang bang shrimp sandwich.

Traditional fried shrimp

Growing up in southeastern North Carolina—just 45 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean—shaped me into a huge fan of fried shrimp. I have written about a fried shrimp po’ boy before and I get cravings for fried shrimp from time to time and this recipe seems to satisfy my brain for a few weeks.

Tip: it’s difficult to fry shrimp without snacking on at least one.
You need crispy shrimp to stand up to all the bang bang sauce.
These are very crispy shrimp.
Cornstarch in the shrimp crust means that your shrimp won’t brown as much as straight all-purpose flour.

My fried shrimp recipe is slightly different than the fried shrimp technique that I shared in my po’ boy blog post because I used cornstarch alongside the all-purpose flour. If you’d like to learn more about this, I wrote about what cornstarch does to influence how fried foods look and taste in my Korean buttermilk biscuit sandwich post.

Baked “fried” shrimp

Believe it or not, this baked version of my bang bang shrimp worked better in a sandwich in my opinion. The panko kept its crunch a bit better against all the sauce and slaw and the shrimp was perfectly cooked because the baking process is so consistent.

I tried this recipe a few different times and you can make it with panko fresh out of the box or you can do my preferred method of pan-frying the panko until it starts to brown in a few tablespoons of butter to give the shrimp a more “fried” appearance.

Panko oven “fried” fried shrimp seems to have a bit more in common with the shrimp that I have found in Chicago hot dog stands. The fried shrimp I shared above is more like the shrimp that I grew up eating.

Crispy crunchy baked shrimp.

My panko oven “fried” shrimp recipe calls for a three-stage breading station of:
corn starch > egg, sriracha, mayo > butter fried panko breadcrumbs.

Here’s the three-stage breading station that I use for my oven “fried” shrimp.
Baked shrimp coated with panko breadcrumbs keeps its crunch longer than regular all-purpose breaded fried shrimp. I cut these shrimp pieces in half to stuff them into a sandwich.

I have added the recipe for baking this crispy shrimp separately from the main sandwich recipe below because I’m pretty sure I will be making these again soon whenever I have a craving for crunchy shrimp.

32 minutes
Crispy and crunchy oven "fried" shrimp

Can you make crispy and crunchy shrimp without deep frying in oil? Yes. Yes, you can.

Get Recipe

Bang bang sauce

Bang bang sauce—as created by Bonefish Grill—is a sweet, spicy, and creamy sauce made from three ingredients that should be fairly available in a lot of grocery stores and certainly online.

Other recipes online include mirin or rice wine vinegar and other ingredients, but these three are very flavorful and create a great consistent sauce that works well with shrimp.

During all the sriracha shortages we have started using Ox Brand Sriracha and we now prefer it to the original Rooster sauce.

Bang bang shrimp sauce isn’t very spicy. I think it’s on the low end of “medium” if you compare it to the “grocery store salsa” scale. The mayonnaise is the highest portion of the ingredients, and it tampers down any heat in a big way. The sweet chili sauce also will bring a lot of sweetness and almost nothing in the way of heat to the sauce so the only thing controlling the heat is the sriracha. If you can’t stand the heat, I would suggest simply cutting the sriracha in the recipe in half, stirring everything up, and then tasting. If it’s still too hot you can just add more mayonnaise to cool off the heat.

The fried version of a bang bang shrimp sandwich

This would be the more traditional bang bang fried shrimp sandwich. It’s a bit harder to clean your kitchen after making this version, but it’s a great sandwich.

With my recipe, I can tell the spice level of bang bang shrimp by the color of the sauce. The more orange it is, the spicier it will be.
This was the first ever bang bang shrimp sandwich that I made. It was a bit messy because it got saucy.
If you like fried shrimp, you will love this sandwich.
I ate a whole lot of shrimp this week.

Here’s the recipe for a fried shrimp version of a bang bang sandwich.

45 minutes
Bang bang shrimp sandwich

Crispy fried shrimp in a sweet, spicy, and creamy bang bang sauce becomes a very exciting sandwich. I have also shared a recipe for the an oven-baked bang bang shrimp sandwich.

Get Recipe

The crunchy oven “fried” version of a bang bang shrimp sandwich

I preferred the oven-baked bang bang shrimp sandwich recipe more than the fried version. I don’t think the sandwich is much healthier but the kitchen cleanup is a whole lot easier. Below are some photos and the full recipe for this sandwich.

The slaw and shrimp both bring a lot of texture to this sandwich.
Tossing panko-crusted shrimp in sauce will remove a lot of the crunchy exterior texture so it’s best to pour the sauce on top.
Oven "fried" bang bang shrimp sandwich view printable page for this recipe

This is an alternate version of my regular bang bang shrimp sandwich with a lot less kitchen cleanup but still great crunch on the shrimp. Get the recipe for the deep-fried bang bang shrimp sandwich.


Bang bang sauce
  • 14 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy is a common brand)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha hot chili sauce
crispy and crunchy baked shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 cup Panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 14 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined (around 8 to 10 shrimp)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or hot sauce (optional)
  • all of the browned breadcrumbs (from above)
Sandwich assembly
  • 2 five to seven-inch bread rolls
  • 12 cup coleslaw or shredded lettuce
  • crispy shrimp (from above)
  • bang bang sauce (from above)


Bang bang sauce: in a small bowl add all your bang bang sauce ingredients and whisk to combine well. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Crispy baked shrimp: preheat your oven to 400 F (205 C).

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a large pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted and bubbly, add panko breadcrumbs and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring often until panko starts to look golden brown and toasty—7 to 10 minutes. 

Remove the breadcrumbs from the pan to a large plate to cool while you get the rest of your ingredients together.

Add cornstarch to another large plate.

On a third large plate, add one egg, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, and hot sauce. Whisk thoroughly to combine. These three plates are your dredging station.

Peel and devein each shrimp. I have found that if you have large shrimp they can be easier to stuff into a sandwich if the shrimp are cut in half so you can do that if you'd prefer. It's optional and the shrimp will cook the same if they are whole or cut into smaller pieces.

First, each shrimp goes into the cornstarch and gets fully coated. Then each shrimp goes into the egg/mayonnaise mixture and gets fully coated again. Finally, the shrimp is dredged through the Panko breadcrumbs until they are fully coated with breadcrumbs.

Move each breadcrumb-coated shrimp to a sheet pan and bake for 7 to 8 minutes. 

Serve shrimp with cocktail or tartar sauce. 

Sandwich assembly: slice your bread rolls and toast if desired.

Spread some coleslaw or shredded lettuce on the bottom of each roll and then top the slaw with half of the shrimp in each sandwich. 

Drizzle bang bang sauce on top of the shrimp and then add the top of the roll to complete the sandwich. 

Now that I’m writing these captions, I had the idea that the bang bang sauce would make for a good slaw dressing.
Just going to state again that bang bang sauce is fairly mild because of the mayonnaise addition. So, you shouldn’t be afraid of it if you don’t tolerate spice very well.

Check back next week

Next week I might or might not be recreating one of my favorite burgers at home. Check back and find out.

Support this sandwich blog and unlock behind the scenes content. Follow along with what I am working on next. Click the banner below to join our Patreon community.

Enjoyed reading? Subscribe and I'll email you the next time I post a new sandwich.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.