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Banh Mi in Dallas

vktp Aug 6, 2007 09:01 PM

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. . .

  1. air Aug 6, 2007 10:06 PM

    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. Honey Bee Aug 7, 2007 07:26 AM

      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
        vktp Aug 7, 2007 07:47 AM

        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
          Honey Bee Aug 7, 2007 07:58 AM

          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
            Webra1 Aug 7, 2007 12:18 PM

            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
              vktp Aug 7, 2007 02:07 PM

              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
                Honey Bee Aug 7, 2007 02:10 PM

                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
                  Scagnetti Aug 7, 2007 02:27 PM

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

          2. giang Aug 10, 2007 12:54 AM

            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
              kuidaore Aug 10, 2007 08:41 AM

              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
                k
                kindofabigdeal Aug 10, 2007 09:05 AM

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

                1. re: kindofabigdeal
                  giang Aug 10, 2007 04:57 PM

                  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
                    b
                    BellaDonna Aug 10, 2007 07:11 PM

                    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
                      giang Aug 12, 2007 11:31 PM

                      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
                        jaime24g Aug 13, 2007 09:51 AM

                        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
                          b
                          BellaDonna Aug 13, 2007 06:42 PM

                          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 before...so 30 minutes is a piece of cake.

                  2. re: giang
                    jaime24g Aug 12, 2007 06:10 AM

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

                  3. t
                    The Real Deal Aug 25, 2007 03:43 PM

                    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. c
                      chaskemp Sep 1, 2007 08:42 AM

                      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. http://chaskemp.googlepages.com/east_...

                      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
                        Webra1 Sep 4, 2007 01:28 PM

                        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. http://www.palacafe.com/index.html

                        1. re: Webra1
                          g
                          guttural Sep 5, 2007 09:41 PM

                          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
                            Webra1 Sep 6, 2007 11:26 AM

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

                            1. re: Webra1
                              kuidaore Sep 6, 2007 12:38 PM

                              Pls let us know when you go :-)

                      2. k
                        kindofabigdeal Sep 6, 2007 01:03 PM

                        I had a Bahn Mi at Ba Lee in Farmer's Branch (or Carrolton maybe) today. It's near Belt Line and Webb Chapel next to a large vietnamese market. I got the grilled pork and was pleased. The veggies could have been a bit more flavorful, but were quite fresh. The meat was great tasting, though a bit greasy for my liking. Plus, as always, it was an amazing deal. There's a number of vietnamese joints around here, so I think I'll try one each time i'm up here for class.

                        1. vktp Jun 23, 2008 10:29 PM

                          Lee's Sandwiches finally opened at Belt Line and Jupiter in Saigon Mall. Baguette was fresh, filling on #11 Dac Biet was fine, mall was crawling with people.

                          1. j
                            J.R. Jun 24, 2008 08:39 AM

                            I went at lunch yesterday and here are my thoughts. The baguettes were really good. Very similar to the mass produced ones you get in France. I had the grilled chicken banh mi and it was just ok. It was pretty flavorless and that's not what I look for with these. It was cheap, however. $2.50 for 10". The market itself looked really nice. Also, the food court would be well served to have their posted menus bilingual with English translation, not just Vietnamese and Photos. With some Vietnamese dishes, you need to know what's in it prior to ordering. All and all a good additon to town.

                            1. a
                              Azn Gorger Jun 24, 2008 08:59 AM

                              The Banh Mi at Lee's Sandwiches are below average, much like in Houston. They scrimp on the pickled carrots and pate that are key to the overall flavor. La Me in Garland and Ba Hue (not Ba Lee) in Carrollton are still tops for Dallas area.

                              On the other hand, Lee's has excellent cafe sua da (iced coffee), and their chicken and pork pate chauds looked very appealing. Too full though to try them.

                              1. d
                                dfwdean Jun 24, 2008 10:57 AM

                                Best Banh Mi is not in Dallas, you need to drive to 303 and New York in Grand Prairie, there are two strip malls with several places that specialize in the sandwiches.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dfwdean
                                  l
                                  luniz Jun 24, 2008 01:06 PM

                                  any one single order in particular?

                                2. j
                                  J.R. Jun 24, 2008 01:21 PM

                                  Most all of the folks I work with are Vietnamese, so I asked my assistant who lives in the Jupiter area, who has the best, and she said Saigon Kitchen which is on the NW corner of Jupiter and Walnut. Tried it today, and I'd say very, very good.

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