DD Mau is a little gourmet banh mi place in Yaletown. I guess its location validates the high prices they charge…in any other regular Vietnamese restaurant, a banh mi is at the most $4.75. Hitman first heard of this place from reading about it in a newspaper, and he was very excited as they offer a choice of multigrain bun for their sandwiches…probably no other banh mi place in the city has this option.
So was it worth the extra moolah?? We’re about to find out…
Gotta give them credit where it’s due, they have some pretty creative concoctions. One of those was a Pho Dip which is obviously a play on words on the beef dip. Too bad they were out of it the night we went…however it was still pretty early in the night, around 5pm or so (and they close at 8pm), so I wonder if they had it at all.
I wasn’t about to pay $7 for a normal banh mi, so I went for the next thing that caught my eye: the Crispy Roasted Pork on multigrain, which was an extra $0.50. So my sandwich in total came to $10 and change.
As you can see they do stuff the sandwich quite a bit. However I believe my sandwich to be the same as their BBQ Pork one, since the pork inside did not seem to be crispy roasted pork…but I’m basing that on the Asian-version of crispy roasted pork. There was crackling to be found, but in small pieces, so it seems like they just sprinkled bits of crackling on top. I also found the stems of their cilantro very tough, indicating they were not the younger plants…if that makes any sense.
Also, I couldn’t really taste the scallion chimichurri sauce. I would think that scallion is a pretty pungent taste, but I couldn’t detect it. But that could be due to it being masked by the over-stuffing of the pickled veggies. Honestly when I bit into the sandwich all I could taste was the veggies plus the pork.
Hitman took a different route and went with the classic, again on multigrain. It was also very stuffed and I must say they use quite a bit of cold cuts and meats. I however found this no different from a banh mi from a cheaper restaurant other than the choice of bun. Hitman mentioned he enjoyed the house (garlic?) aioli though.
Honestly I did not find the food to justify the downtown pricing aside from its location…this will most likely be a one-time visit for me.
I noticed that they have a bakery rack in the kitchen, which makes me wonder if they make their own baguettes too. Wait, scratch that…I mean I wonder if they make their own ficelles. These were not baguettes. These were much skinnier.
HITMAN EDIT: I’ve revisited DD Mau since the review and plan to visit again, and my opinion differs from Wendy’s. On the first visit I had ordered the basic banh mi, which didn’t knock my socks off but as Wendy mentioned I thought the garlic aioli really added a little something to it that other Viet places don’t offer. I was also not as disappointed in the value department, in my eyes the sandwich is nearly twice the size of what you would get at a pho place. Yes, the bread is skinnier but it’s also longer than the usual, and the bread is heavier, although I ordered multigrain every time so can’t say whether the white bread has the same heft to it. I realize that the average banh mi costs a little less than half what you would pay here, but I understand rents are high in Yaletown, and the ingredients also come close to justifying the price in my opinion.
Second visit I used a voucher from vaneats.ca that gives a sandwich and smoothie for $9.50. The banh mi was half crispy roasted pork, half lemongrass chicken. The crispy roasted pork tasted the same as Wendy’s although this time there was plenty of crackling. They were also putting a bit of green pepper on the sandwiches today, so that was an interesting touch although one of the pieces I had didn’t have the seeds removed which I found rather unappetizing. The lemongrass chicken was wonderful, you could really get a taste of the lemongrass in each bite, and chicken was moist and juicy. The sweet chili aioli complimented it perfectly and it was topped with just the right amount of pickled veg.
The smoothie was great as well, tasting like a healthier slurpy and with the same texture. They should seriously consider giving out spoon-straws with them though because once you near the bottom it’s a chore to get it all up the straw. They use only almond milk, a slight bit of condensed milk, fruit and shaved ice. The choice the voucher gave was honeydew or avocado; I chose honeydew and was not disappointed. Staff were all extremely friendly too, greeting and wishing good days to everyone who came and went, as well as joking with the customers and amongst themselves.
I brought back another sub for Wendy and I to share to try to sway her opinion a bit; this one was one of the specials, a pork concoction braised in coconut water with quail eggs. We couldn’t really detect the coconut water except possibly as a slight scent although the pork was juicy and sweet and the quail eggs went surprisingly well in the mix. However I’ve had a similar dish, eggs and all, at La Saigonnais in New West and couldn’t taste the coconut water there either so I think it’s just the way that dish is. All in all I have to say the second experience really added to my appreciation of this place and hopefully Wendy will join me next time I visit.