YumMi Banh Mi Food Truck taken by Dave Glad
This food truck is now permanently closed.
The newest truck to hit the street in Minneapolis, opening only yesterday, is YumMi Banh Mi. Located at the furthest reaches of ‘Food Truck Alley’ at 11th and Nicollet downtown. this truck sports a custom built trailer offering all the amenities they need to push out their take on the traditional Vietnamese banh mi.
The first thing that surprised me about YumMi is the size of their truck trailer. However when I thought about how much room they really needed to push out pulled pork, chicken and beef banh mi it dawned on me that perhaps smaller may just be better when it comes to the local food truck/trailer scene. Appearing to be slightly smaller than Dandelion Kitchen‘s trailer, YumMi was able to pack quite a bit of punch into their sandwiches. The second thing that surprised me was their late start into the 2011 season. With most trucks closing up shop for the winter in the next few weeks (usually when the first snow falls), YumMi’s insistence on getting out there in mid-October seemed almost like a lost cause. However the owners are convinced that they will be able to do catering and lunch box meals from that location all winter long and seemed genuinely positive that it will work. I noted that they definitely would have less competition in the scene for those willing to brave the bitter cold to grab a sandwich from them!
YumMi food truck’s menu offers few options, with some to be available only on certain days–if at all. However, their mainstays are their Moo Mi, Oink Mi, Peck Mi, and Bean Mi. While they’re somewhat cute I have to admit that ordering an “Oink Mi” provided me an opportunity to be a little childish and giggle at the inappropriate play on words possible.
My coworker ordered the ‘Moo Mi’ listed as, “Korean-style marinated beef, spicy cucumber carrot slaw, cilantro, Sriracha aiolo (sic),” which was priced fairly steeply at $7.50 and a $1.50 homemade lemonade. MSPD and I ordered their ‘Oink Mi’ sandwiches noted as including, “Vietnamese-style caramel braised pork belly/shoulder, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, Sriracha aioli,” for $8.00. With a large bottle of Sriracha available for dousing I poured a little on top of mine and away we went with sprigs of fresh cilantro flying off into the blustery wind along Nicollet.
Sriracha! taken by Dave Glad
At first glance the sandwiches look like any other banh mi I’ve ever had. While the rolls themselves were somewhat less crusty than many I’ve tried, I definitely appreciated the way they held most everything together as I ate. The vegetables were fresh and crisp but I wish I could have tasted more of their pickled goodness. While I loved the idea of a nice Sriracha aioli it was definitely toned down to match Minnesota tastes.
I took a bite of my ‘Oink Mi’ first. The meat wasn’t as plentiful as I would prefer but the quality of both the meat, being that they braise pork belly and shoulder, and the cooking process surpasses what you’re likely to find elsewhere around town. The pork was quite tasty and when taken with the whole, it was one very tasty sandwich. The ‘Moo Mi’ on the other hand, while still decent, lacked the meat flavor of the ‘Oink Mi’ and definitely was not up to par with the rest of the downtown food truck competition in this category.
The homemade lemonade was in a class all by itself however. Not too sweet, not too sour, and what seemed to include something I just couldn’t put a finger on that made it taste like it was loaded with liquor, I really enjoyed their offering–especially at $1.50. But while I thought it was excellent my coworker drank only a small bit before passing it along while noting it wasn’t enjoyable for her. My sole complaint about the drink was that it was lukewarm. While the truck owners mentioned they forgot straws, and that was definitely not a problem, it seemed they also forgot ice too which was more of a problem even on a day which was 10 degrees cooler than the weather report promised.
Overall I liked what we tried at YumMi but I definitely believe they need to seriously rethink either the amounts they’re serving or the prices they’re charging in order to compete with the other downtown food truck offerings. If you’re heading out that way be sure to pick up some lemonade and an ‘Oink Mi’ and let us know what you think!
Have you tried YumMi’s banh mi yet? If so which one(s) have you tried? Did you like their lemonade? What other places which serve banh mi do you usually frequent? Do you agree that $7.50+ for a banh mi, even in the food truck scene (with World Street Kitchen generally charging $1.50 less–although not serving a true banh mi), is a bit much? Whatever you have to say go ahead and comment on below!
S 11th St and Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Monday – Friday 10:30AM – 2:00PM
See all the pictures from YumMi Food Truck on Flickr here.