Yaletown is a neighbourhood in downtown Vancouver known for being quite trendy and hip with the young folk. Due to this, there is a high concentration of great restaurants and cafes to frequent at all hours of the day. The newest culinary collaboration by the great team over at VANEATS.ca is with DD Mau, a small but very popular Vietnamese sandwich joint on Pacific Boulevard. Eating in Vancouver & the World headed downtown this week to preview the new three-item pass.
3-Item Pass for $9.50 from October 29, 2012 – February 28, 2013:
A. “Grilled Lemongrass Chicken“, 1/2 grilled chicken thighs + pickled veggies + cilantro + sweet-chili aioli jalapenos
B. “Crispy Roasted Pork“, 1/2 crispy roasted pork + sauteed scallions + pickled veggies + cilantro + garlic aioli jalapenos
C. “Smoothie“, your choice of avocado or honeydew
If you ask the average Vancouverite what their favourite Vietnamese dish is, chances are they will answer either pho or banh mi. Known internationally as the premiere Euro-Asiatic fusion sandwich, banh mi are enjoyed throughout the world. For those that have never tried this baguette sandwich before, this pass is a great orientation as you get two different types to sample.
Starting off with the Grilled Lemongrass Chicken banh mi, the first thing I noticed was how fresh and crisp the baguette bread was. Obviously prepared that day, the bread was beautifully structured: strong enough to hold the bulging ingredients in but still supple enough to be easily consumed. The grilled chicken thigh was firm yet moist, standing strong as the central ingredient. I thought the pickled vegetables carried just the right amount of tartness which eventually infused the entire sandwich. Normally I am not a huge fan of cilantro but the uniquely distinct flavour fit in very comfortably. Overall, a very tasty and competent take on a chicken banh mi.
As good as the Grilled Chicken was, the Crispy Roasted Pork really stole the show. To anyone familiar with Chinese cuisine, one of the most popular cuts of BBQ meat at any Chinese butcher shop is Siew Yuk 烧肉 or Roast Pork. Known for its salty taste profile and sinfully crispy skin, siew yuk has been one of my favourite meat dishes since I was a child. I have never eaten it in a sandwich form but honestly after this experience, I will definitely be doing it more often. The salty meat is normally paired with rice but the rich bread and vegetables cut the salt level down substantially. My banh mi was full of the crispy skin which provided a mouth watering taste and texture contrast with each bite. Again, the pickled veggies, cilantro etc. were a strong supplement but I could have eaten the baguette and roast pork alone and been happy. One of the best sandwiches I have had in a long time.
Along with the two sandwiches, you get to choose between an avocado or honeydew smoothie. Although it was a pretty chilly day, I still enjoyed the Honeydew smoothie considerably. The drink is very very cold, almost like a fruit slushie but somehow tasted natural paired with the meat banh mi. For $9.50, some might raise an eyebrow at the value of this pass but realistically, this is Yaletown. For a very large sandwich and drink, $9.50 may seem somewhat high but I feel you come to DD Mau mostly for the quality. I have had very good banh mi at a couple other restaurants around Vancouver but I have to admit the Crispy Roast Pork was simply phenomenal. On a return visit, I will definitely be going with a full footlong of fresh, salty pork goodness.
If you enjoyed the photos and review, definitely check out the VANEATS.ca DD Mau video above to learn more about this pass. If you have read enough and just want to eat, the ‘#GivemeMAU‘ pass is currently on sale so head over to VANEATS.ca to buy your pass today!