Nammi's Vietnamese Food Truck: A Bit Pricey, but Convenience is Key

Categories: Wok the Talk

nammi.jpg
Kristy Yang
The Nammi food truck officially got rolling (poor pun intended) last week to much Internet fanfare. Social media was abuzz for the traveling Vietnamese food truck specializing in banh mi and Asian-influenced tacos. I was able to check out the colorful vehicle last Thursday and walked away with a bag of mixed feelings to go along with my subs and tacos.

As gas prices continue to be ridiculous, I'd be dishonest in saying I wasn't personally excited with the prospect of a Vietnamese food truck constantly circling nearby. No more gas-guzzling long drives to Garland or Arlington for a banh mi fix. Then I arrived at the truck and saw the prices.

Seven bucks for a banh mi is steep, no? That was my opinion, but it might not be a problem for everyone. Tacos, however, are a good size and filled with a fair amount of meat for the $3 price tag. My only little gripe about the tacos is the sweet potato. As a sweet potato whore, it pains me to say it, but I didn't see a purpose for them in the taco. They were kind of mushy, adding a strange texture and distracting from the meat and pleasing crunchiness of the cabbage slaw.

Sandwiches and tacos come in barbecued pork, grilled pork, lemongrass chicken, lemongrass beef, and Vietnamese tofu. There is also a deli-style banh mi for the purists out there. For virgin Nammi expedition, I opted for the barbecued pork sandwich, a grilled pork sandwich and a grilled pork taco. All three were fine, but they weren't memorable. The meats were moist enough (considering they were being served from a truck), but they could have both used a more intensive marinating and a deeper flavor profile. The highlights of the sandwiches were in the little details. The pickled carrot and daikon and the deft touch of soy sauce were great. The baguette Nammi uses is nice and thin, but I wish they could have been a little less stale and a bit crunchier.

It was day one for the business, though, and there was a long line, so I find it very difficult to be too harsh. The Texas heat is reason enough to be sympathetic to Nammi. On the day of my visit, there was only one person taking orders at the window and one person in the back assembling tacos and sandwiches for a line of 10-15 strong. I almost wanted to put on an apron and go back there to help.

Along with the main menu items, there also are the assortments of soft drinks and chips. I was glad to see Zapp's and Calbee Shrimp Chips being heavily represented in the snacks department. I'm still not too keen on paying $7 for a banh mi, but I'm still anxious to try the lemongrass beef taco.

So, what are the alternatives?

The drive to either Garland or Arlington for a banh mi may be taxing on your car and wallet, but once you get there, the $2-3 you spend on a sandwich is a nice reward for your tenacity. For me, what makes the drive worth it is knowing what I'm getting for that $2-$3. No doubt fans of Vietnamese sandwiches have their own allegiances. I'm no different. For example, Quoc Bao in Garland is its own bakery, so I know that the bread will always be fantastic and fresh. Also, I'd love for good Vietnamese food to be accessible to me on a daily basis, but it just isn't at this point. Banh mi isn't something that I can eat every day, so when it's time for me to kill that craving, wouldn't I want it to blow my freaking mind?

I've raved about Lumi's comparable-to-Nammi's price banh mi thit in the past, but that's because it was very, very good. Of the several times I had it, the meat was marinated to perfection, ingredients of high quality and the bread was crisp and delectable in its own right. So far I've tried Nammi only the one time, and I plan on going back, but Lumi, on the first try, rocked. Paired with a nice heaping bowl of wonton soup for lunch, the $10 for the combo doesn't seem all too bad. I don't mind paying for "really good."

I love the Nammi concept and the entrepreneurial spirit behind it. I hope the truck does well because it continues in spreading the word out on the awesomeness that is Vietnamese food. In the meantime, I don't think your favorite banh mi shop will be losing too much sleep over business.

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8 comments
Erae
Erae

You'll be excited to know that there is a Vietnamese Cafe opening up on Greenville and Lovers Ln. I've driven by many times and it looks sleek!!!

G_David
G_David

I've seen the Nammi truck a couple of different times.  Both times I was tempted by the banh mi, but damn, I've never paid more than $3.00.  I just couldn't pull the trigger.

Chrisdbruce
Chrisdbruce

That's NUTS!! I've had more banh mi's from more places that I can count- they're almost always thin with meat- not Nammi. $7, for what you get, is a bargain. This is not a traditional banh mi- it's a foodies mutation of a classic- something you can expect from almost any food truck. 

But formulating an opinion without actually stopping to taste one is downright silly. Complaining about a $7.00 meal is even sillier.

T.C.
T.C.

I've tried their banh mi a couple times, it was delicious. The grilled pork is full of flavor from marination and the vegetables compliment the meat well, perhaps the blogger tried the wrong one. If you  think $7 dollars is a bit much for a sandwich that means you've gone into Subway or Potbelly to have their freshly cut sandwich which is about 6-7 dollars plus tax and complained about the price? We all have our preferences in food. For me, I prefer Nammi Truck. Love the idea! Good job, guys.

G_David
G_David

Thanks for jumping in here, what, 4 months later?  If you actually read what I wrote, not once did I give an opinion on the food, just that it was more than I would pay for banh mi.  I actually had one tonight at Pho Empire in Irving.  It was delicious, plenty big enough, and it was $3.00.  Then again, I'm not the average American fat-ass that eats every meal like it's my last one for the next week.

G_David
G_David

Sure, I've paid that much for Potbelly, but that's a completely different animal.  Have you ever gone into a Vietnamese restaurant and offered to pay $7 for a sandwich that's $2.50 on the menu?  That's pretty much what you're doing, which to me is a weird preference.

Guest
Guest

potbellys is 4.89...

T.C.
T.C.

Not trying to start a debate; just to further explain my preference, it is that I love a good food truck catering to my area of activities vs. a shop deep into the heart of Garland (or Arlington), which is a long drive for me, and some people. 

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