DD Mau features authentic banh mi prepared using BC's seafood, local meats, and spices from around the world.
This place advertises itself as a bánh mì place. Not a steakhouse. Not a salad bar. Just bánh mì, so that's how we're going to score it.
It's a hop in, get out place, or so it seems. You grab your stuff, you go. Or you sit and scarf it down in a couple of minutes, so don't be expecting no ambience or table service. That's fine.
Now by bánh mì standards, these youngsters are slooooow. I was told a 5 minute wait for mine. And there was only 1 guy ahead of me. And no, they're not baking bread from scratch. If the Vietnamese aunties got wind of this, they'd come down here and slap them silly. And there were 3 of 'em there. You head to any of the old school bánh mì places, bam, they'd be done before you have time to get your cash out.
Let's get to the food. Is it a good sandwich? Arguably yes. A great sandwich? Maybe not.
Is it a good bánh mì? No. No. No. What's in every bánh mì? Light, very crispy/crusty Vietnamese-French bread. Half wrapped in parchment paper. What do they have? A heavier, almost traditional French style baguette fully wrapped in waxed (butcher type) paper. No light crispy bread there, it just gets soggy .
And the filling, let's get to that (tonight it was ginger chicken, good chicken, but where's the ginger flavour?), but our agents have had the classic as well as some others. Too much and the wrong stuff. Look, in a bánh mì, you got to taste the bread. There was so much filling, it was almost like a burrito, the bread is lost. Also in a bánh mì, there's got to be some sort of "freshness" from crispy, pickled vegetables, cilantro or something like that. None here. Half-hearted attempt at some special pickled slaw or something. Perhaps good, but proportion is wrong. It was a meat sandwich, none of that refreshing flavour or crunch from pickles, herbs, fresh vegetables or whatever. (Frankly I think you need something acidic, like pickles, to offset the meat).
Look at it this way, suppose I ordered a big caesar salad and it came with a big slab of perfectly done, medium rare prime rib. Tasty? Yes. Good deal? Maybe. But is it a good salad? NO. And that's what we're facing here. It's gone all wrong from the bread right through to the filling. This ain't no bánh mì.
And now the price. Things are pretty hefty, from about $7 and up past $10. To be honest, Subway a few doors down also sports foot-longs at this price, so in that light, sure, I'd rather come here than Subway. But any old school bánh mì place will score you a better bánh mì for half the price or less. Go have a saunter up Robson or on the edge of Chinatown. You need a sandwich in Yaletown? Sure, not a bad pick. Looking to satisfy that bánh mì craving? You come to the wrong corner of town my man.