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Aug 6, 2007 09:01 PM

Banh Mi in Dallas

Where is the best banh mi in DFW?

And is there ANY place near downtown that I can get it? I have a killer craving, but am too lazy to trek to Garland. . .

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  1. Near downtown? Good luck :(

    The place I go to is on Jupiter/Walnut, and the only distingushing feature I remember is seeing a sign that said French bakery on it. They have the typical buy 5 get the 6th one free special, and it's located to the south of the shopping strip where QQ Cafe is.

    1. Have you tried the vietnamese places on Bryan? Perhaps Mai's? I have not looked specifically for banh mi, but there may be some options in that area.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Honey Bee

        I'm pretty sure Mai's doesn't have them (from what I remember). I know Dalat, when it was across the street, always had them on the menu but never once were they actually available when I tried to order it. I also know there's a Ba Le directly behind Mai's, but it's never been open when I popped in to give it a try.

        Banh mi are usually sold at more a deli or grocery store sort of setting rather than sit-down restaurants. I was hoping there was a hole in the wall that I was missing somewhere in the area.

        1. re: vktp

          Good to know. I almost always order bun when I eat Vietnamese food and don't pay much attention to the presence or absence of banh mi. I have to spend some time in the area later this week. I'll keep my eye out and report back if I uncover anything.

          1. re: Honey Bee

            Vietnam Restaurant on Bryan Street has them. I've never tried them there, so I can't tell you how good/bad they may be.

            I've enjoyed just about every dish I've had at Vietnam. I'm actually surprised more people don't go there. It's also always full of Vietnamese/Asian patrons which I consider a good sign.

            For good Pho, try Oishii on Wycliff. They don't have as large of a selection of soup as Vietnam, but I think their pho base has a better flavor.

            Don't go to Mai's. The last two times I went, it was awful.

            1. re: Webra1

              Agreed on all counts-- Vietnam is actually really good, but my (non-asian) friends are usually turned off by the ambiance. And Oishii in fact has my favorite pho anywhere around downtown.

              Definitely stopping by Vietnam today or tomorrow to try the sandwich.

              1. re: Webra1

                Thanks for the info that Mai's has declined. It has been at least a year since I have been there. Next time, I'll head straight to Vietnam.

                1. re: Webra1

                  I've heard the same thing about Mai's.

          2. I heard Lee's Sandwiches was looking for a spot in Dallas, but you might have to wait a few years.

            Central Market is probably your best bet in DFW, though it requires some DIY: baguette, pate, daikon/carrot pickles, cilantro, head cheese, etc. It'd probably be better (quality-wise) than what you can get in Dallas.

            Personally, I think the bread is the most important "ingredient" (that's why it's popularly known as "banh mi" and not "dac biet"), and I don't like the bread they serve in most Vietnamese eateries. So, I usu. make my own banh mi.

            8 Replies
            1. re: giang

              I totally agree about the bread! The owner of Zander's House is willing to make banh mi for us if we order in advance. He said he hasn't found a good banh mi in Dallas yet. He said La Me's not bad (my man loves theirs), but they don't have BBQ pork.

              1. re: giang

                part of the magic of a banh mi is the price, so central market doesn't work for some of us.

                1. re: kindofabigdeal

                  Central Market was just an example (though considering major supermarkets, they make pretty good french bread). My point was that buying the ingredients separately usu. gives better results, e.g., making your own ham sandwich. If you really wanted to be cheap, they sell pig heads at Saigon Taipei for about $6. That's a lot of head cheese.

                  The problem with Vietnamese food is that it's associated with cheapness. I'd be willing to spend an extra $2 if it yielded a better quality hu tieu. Unfortunately, such businesses won't do well here because the older generation prefers cheap food, no matter how much it lacks in quality. For example, Huy in California (imagine Starbucks serving good, authentic Vietnamese food; it's relatively expensive) is only popular with the younger, more affluent crowd. The business works because there's a huge Vietnamese community there, i.e., one hour wait for lunch. Lack of competition and a small community gives us Dallasites mostly cheap, sub-par Vietnamese food.

                  Though, technically, banh mi is more French food, e.g., baguette, pate, head cheese. Vietnamese people only added local herbs and pickles. They should serve it at The French Room ^_^

                  1. re: giang

                    Central Market??? Got to be kidding...

                    There is a Vietnamese restaurant in Arlington called Ba Le...the BEST bread in DFW and possibly at time. It's crispy and delicious on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Fillings are above average for the area.

                    1. re: BellaDonna

                      Yeah, Ba Le is probably the best; that is, if you're willing to drive 30 min from Dallas for a sandwich. The gas alone would cost more than the sandwich! Got to be kidding . . .

                      I guess people don't like Central Market here -_-;
                      Kroger or Tom Thumb, maybe? Doesn't matter to me, 'cause I make my own bread ^_^

                      1. re: giang

                        Went to Ba Le yesterday for the first time and had the banh mi thit nuong. The bread is really good but the flavor of the pork was a bit lacking and it was somewhat tough. But overall, it was very good. We were watching people come in and they would mainly just order the fresh bread by itself and not the sandwich. This restaurant also serves other dishes besides banh mi. This restaurant is now on my list.

                        1. re: giang

                          30 minutes is nothing for good food...or in this case good bread. While you are there, go asian grocery shopping or something and kill two birds with one stone.

                          I have traveled cross country for food 30 minutes is a piece of cake.

                  2. re: giang

                    Lee Sandwiches in Houston is just ok. There are too many to name in Houston that are much better.

                  3. Garland is as close as your gonna get to good Bahn Mi. I would reccommend Bistro B. They are always frsh and authentic. What the Pho!?

                    1. Vietnam at corner of Peak and Bryan is the best I've found close to downtown (<10 minutes). Mai's has been mediocre - at best - for a long time. Binh Minh Market at Brayn and Fitzhugh has banh mi, but I haven't tried. Glad to see from other posters that Ba Le open - not the greatest by any means, but kind of a scene, I guess.

                      Oh, I guess they're talking about a Ba Le other than Old East Dallas BL - Actually, there is a Ba Le everywhere there is more than a couple of VN restaurants.


                      4 Replies
                      1. re: chaskemp

                        Chaskemp - your website has been my bible for exploring Vietnamese restaurants. It is now by far my favorite cuisine.

                        BTW - It looks like the owners of Duy Tan have opened their new place. I haven't been yet, but will hopefully try it soon.

                        1. re: Webra1

                          Tried out PaLa this evening, on a whim. PaLa is in one corner of a strip mall on the SE corner of Shiloh and Buckingham, in north Garland, several doors down from the Saigon Taipei Asian grocer. It's a small, simply decorated place, with a small menu, virtually empty on a Wed night. The broth for my pho (dac biet - house special bowl) was a bit underseasoned, but the fried spring rolls were exceptional. Salad greens were exceptionally fresh, and pickled veggies need more time in the brine. Service is friendly, and they are clearly still setting up (drinks refrigerator remains not yet plugged; drinks still in their cases, the aforementioned pickled veggies, etc.)

                          1. re: guttural

                            Thanks for the report. I'll try them in a few weeks after they get better situated...

                            1. re: Webra1

                              Pls let us know when you go :-)