100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes, No. 71: Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi at Nammi

Leading up to September's Best of Dallas® 2016 issue, we're sharing (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes, the Dallas entrées, appetizers and desserts that really stuck with us this year.

Nammi, which used to just be a banh mi bar in a couple of Vietnamese fusion trucks, now has a space in The Market, formerly known as Shed No. 2, at Dallas Farmers Market. Vendors are packed in like sardines for participation in the food hall trend, which basically looks like a food court ripped out of a shopping mall.

On weekends, a trip to Dallas Farmers Market is not easy — parking is hairy and the crowds are thick. But sitting right in front of the South Harwood entrance, Nammi is about as easy as it gets for anyone looking for a bite to eat. This is more or less the Chipotle approach to banh mi. Choose a meat: ginger tofu, honey-grilled pork, Asian BBQ pork or lemongrass chicken. Get it in a banh mi, taco, rice bowl or noodle bowl. Like Chipotle, Nammi works because they use quality, fresh ingredients.

The 12-inch baguette is flawlessly crispy, and praise be to the garlic mayonnaise. The cucumbers, pickled daikon, carrots, jalapeños and cilantro are noticeably fresh. The lemongrass chicken is beautifully understated in texture and flavor. It makes good sense on a sandwich that gets kicks from so many different flavors. This is a legit banh mi, an example of how well a restaurant can do something if it's the only thing they do.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeremy Hallock