A Banh Mi Weekend! Vancouver Foodster's Best Banh Mi Challenge

We had this great idea to taste all the Best Bahn Mi Challenge entries in one weekend so that we could best remember and compare one to another. The problem is that even with this scientific method of analysis, there was not really a clear far and away winner! They were all pretty amazing. Still, it was a tasty way to spend parts of a couple of days. The most convenient part of this challenge was the fact that three of the four contenders were within easy distance of one another. And so we started at DD Mau in Yaletown.

Their challenge entry was the Ha Noi Meatball Banh Mi. This was their adaptation of a popular North Vietnamese dish with sweetish grilled pork, pork meatballs and garlic papaya. There were crispy pickled vegetables and jalapenos which offset the sweet pork. The bun, which is always critical to a great banh mi was pillowy on the inside and just a little crunchy on the outside. Excellent! We decided that a Mango Smoothie would be a nice accompaniment.
A few blocks away at DD Mau Chinatown, we tried their Pork Belly Banh Mi. In addition to salty tender pork belly, spicy pickled mustard coleslaw was a star. It was the most unique single ingredient that we encountered this weekend. With some added pickled vegetables, cilantro, a fried egg and another top rung bun, this was another winner. 
At Cold Tea, their challenge entry was the Wake and Bake Sub. Another great bun (where do they all get these wonderful buns ?) with pate and Chinese sausage and an assortment of pickled vegetables. The star of this show was two beautiful sunny-side-up eggs. A great Bahn Mi great for breakfast or any other time.
Finally, our Sunday was marked by lunch from Obanhmi in Langley. The Vegetarian Banh Mi off of their regular menu was their Best Banh Mi Challenge entry. We had some great bread this weekend and this was no exception. Aromatic tofu, avocado and their secret filling (relish..sort of mustard and vinegar flavoured but mild) made up the base here with the usual assortment of veggies and cilantro. I always favour the vegetarian option when it is available and this one was pretty good.
Mharie and I chose our favourites and they seem to coincide with the extra effort put in by the challengers. While the Obanhmi Vegetarian and Cold Tea Wake and Bake were both great sandwiches, DD Mau went the extra mile and developed special BanhMi for the challenge.
While Mharie loved the Yaletown, Ha Noi Meatball sandwich, I was sold by the Chinatown Braised Pork Belly affair (the fried egg tipped me over the edge)!
You still have 2 weekends to try any of these tasty Banh Mi and vote for your favourites!


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