Nam Sandwich Shop
Nam Sandwich Shop is a clean and contemporary 20-seat joint that aims to introduce speedy, affordable and take-away-friendly Vietnamese street foods to the west side of Trinity Bellwoods Park. Located on West Queen West, the new fast food eatery takes over the former address of Parkette .
The opening menu, scrawled on a chalkboard, features seven different banh mi, each built on single serving-size baguettes that are delivered daily to ensure freshness. Don't mess with the menu - substitutes are not allowed and the only customization happens when answering "with jalapenos or without?"
It's hard to go wrong with safe bets like the lemongrass chicken ($6), cooked on the flat top then assembled to order with cilantro and NAMslaw, a fine tangle of pickled daikon, radish and carrot.
The line-up also offers coconut meatballs ($5), pulled pork ($6) and an all-veggie version ($6). One of the more unique sandwiches is the turmeric-spiced baked fish ($7) topped with dill and sauteed scallions. Sriracha is DIY over at the napkin station, while pate (for those who care) is absent on the menu. For banh mi, it's not as cheap as I'm sure some would expect, but considering the landscape of $10 hamburgers in the 'hood, it might still be one of the more wallet-friendly lunch options nearby.
Bao ($4) are available with slabs of pork belly or grilled beef nestled into a freshly steamed bun. I try the belly, which is cooked to a gelatinous state and gently caramelized around the edges, then slathered with hoisin and garnished with cucumbers and scallions. Sides of sweet potato fries ($5) come with a choice of curried mayo or horseradish dipping sauce.
Cold rolls ($6) ready for grab-and-go come in a choice of beef, chicken or shrimp and pork delicately wrapped in rice paper with vermicelli, fresh cilantro, basil, lettuce and mint. A selection of salads are planned for future menu expansions.
Nam Sandwich Shop is open daily at 11am and closes weeknights at 9pm and on weekends at 7pm.
Photos by Jesse Milns