Friday, July 25, 2014

Dang Banh Mi

Dang Banh Mi held a soft opening/media preview just prior to their official opening on July 21st. I was invited to attend, but have not been paid for my opinion. Located in the strip center at the southwest corner of 183 and Burnet Road, DBM is part of the Plucker's family. The owners (three non-Asian Texans) have long been fascinated with Vietnam, and over the course of several trips, found what they considered to be the best banh mi in the country, and its proprietor, Phuong, was willing to impart her culinary secrets. They are definitely trying to make authentic Vietnamese food.

Love the whimsy and color scheme of the interior, as well as the light fixtures, but it doesn't scream "Vietnam" to me.
The menu board.
We started with a spring roll and som tum (green papaya salad), which is more of a Thai item, but is also eaten in Vietnam. Really loved the peanut sauce (almost as good as my own, so I am picky!) ;)
DBM was overly generous with their portions for this tasting! First off was a sampling of three of the banh mi: chicken, the original with four types of pork (belly, tenderloin, ground, and housemade pate), and oxtail.
A big beefy bowl of pho; I missed a star anise aroma to the broth.
A huge bowl of pork bun, which a delicious nuoc cham sauce (fish sauce, typically with added lime juice, sugar, chile, and shredded carrot).
What I felt that DBM did best were the sauces: peanut, their Dang sauce (sriracha/chile sauce), and the nuoc cham. All three were excellent. They are bottling and selling the sriracha and also a hoisin sauce, which I did not try.

I would be curious to know why they've decided to open a banh mi shop in North Austin, in very close proximity to places like Tam Deli and Thanh Nhi, which are authentic Vietnamese restaurants that have banh mi for about half the price (though smaller portions too). I wonder if they should have opened up along someplace like South Lamar or Sunset Valley where there are no other banh mi offerings. (Not to neglect my beloved Lulu B's trailer on South Lamar and Oltorf; love their food, just wish they had longer hours.) And who is the target audience? If they're trying to reach people who are too intimidated to go to an authentic ethnic restaurant, then they may have succeeded. Time will tell.


  1. I was surprised by the North opening as well. South Austin and Oak Hill is a veritable Bahn Mi desert, now that my beloved T&N Café is gone. Pho Thaison on William Cannon is rumored to have added Bahn Mi, but as a casual add on rather than a dedicated focus, doesn't sound appealing.

    1. I haven't eaten at Pho Thaison on Wm Cannon, but I have been to the one in Southpark Meadows earlier this year. They did have decent banh mi, but they were on one of those little plexi holders at the table, rather than "THE" menu. Good though!