Today I was invited down to try some modern Vietnamese cuisine from the food truck “Na Mi”. They are typically posted up downtown Vancouver, right by the Vancouver city centre skytrain exit/entrance. However with a regular Monday to Friday work week I was unable to catch them as they normally are. So today, we took a trip down to the Hillcrest Farmer’s market to visit them on the weekend.
They are parked amongst a few other food vendors, right as you enter the market area, clearly visible in a coat of medium blue against their all silver facade. The menu is listed by the register. It is easy to navigate between their variations on banh mi and/or their vermicelli bowls, along with a handful of familiar sides. All easy to eat on the go, or in our case as a tailgate.
Given the plexiglass box dedicated to fresh baguettes on the counter, we decided to try a couple of those first. Lemon grass chicken tends to be a Vietnamese cuisine staple, so we thought it best to start with the “L.G.C.” Banh mi, described as “Lemon grass chicken and house sauce with spring onions.” The baguette was fresh, crispy on the outside with a shell that crumbles; and chewy at the centre, especially when sauced up with the mix of cream mayo and tangy hoisin sauce. The chicken was delicious with its grilling. Tender and full of flavour, I wanted it more as a part of a bowl with rice. As a sandwich it was missing a tangy component, it needed more pickling.
Out of the two, I preferred the “Chasu pork belly” banh mi with soy hoisin glaze and spring onions. The bun was stuffed with thick cuts of meat. Not just grease and gristle, it had the perfect about of fattiness to pair well with the same creamy sauces and julienned carrots above. It just came together better in this rendition.
We followed our sandwiches up with their “Banana blossom bowl”, being curious as to what a “banana blossom” actually is. You can choose either lemon grass chicken or satay beef as the feature of this bowl of vegetables and noodles. We went for the latter, seeing as we already had the chicken above; and that it would best match with the peanut dressing poured over the bowl. Along side kale, spinach, cucumber, carrots, shredded lettuce, and banana blossom. “Banana blossom” is “a purple-skinned flower, shaped like a tear, which grows at the end of a banana fruit cluster. Traditionally used in south-east Asian and Indian”, (as per Wikipedia). Here, they were sliced thin like noodles and fried for a nice crispy texture. This bowl was my favourite of all that we had, tender meat, crisp vegetables, and a sauce so tasty that it made me want to eat anything that touched it.
We also really like the spring rolls too. Battered and fried with a thick and crispy shell. They were exactly as expected when dipped into the brightening fish sauce.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I liked everything we had and would not be shy to repeat when I see them next. On the same vein, I would also like to visit and dine at their brick and mortar restaurant, if they ever open one. Fresh and fragrant modern Vietnamese that comes to you, you only need to add our own seating into the equation. Don’t deny your cravings.
Granville St &, W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V7Y 1H4