Vietnamese DD Mau Finally Open in Chinatown

Two years ago I took a tour of the raw space at 145 East Pender Street underneath Fortune Sound Club in Chinatown with the owners of Yaletown’s tiny Vietnamese restaurant, DD Mau. Siblings Kim Tran and Kon Tran secured the massive space back in December of 2015 and were hoping to open it as their second location before the end of 2016. Fast forward almost exactly two years, and it’s finally here.

Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote about DD Mau back then:

If you’re aware of and dig their tiny Yaletown spot (1239 Pacific Blvd), you’re in for a bit of a surprise as this one will be massive in comparison, complete with a voluminous commissary kitchen that will serve both addresses. I’m already imagining the smell of the place, and it’s so good!

You wouldn’t know if from the street and its sliver of sidewalk frontage, but the narrow opening widens out to some 3000 sqft, less than half of which will be dedicated to floor space, so 50 seats and an 8 seat bar. They’ll be serving up the same delicious banh mi sandwiches that they’re known for, not to mention pho and plenty of southern Vietnamese home cooking besides. I expect they’ll do an especially brisk takeout trade with the Fortune crowd (befitting the name, a riff on di di mau – Vietnamese for “go go quickly”). They’re also pursuing a liquor license, which is new for them, as there isn’t one at the original in Yaletown.

Owners Kim Tran and Kon Tran were kind to show me around the site late last week. I was taken aback by the size, having forgotten that it used to be the main floor of Mings Famous Chinese Foods, the gigantic banquet hall and restaurant (I found the old 1970s shot above via the CoV Archive). A lot of work has already been done (possession was back in December), but there are some cool relics from Mings kicking around, like the old dumbwaiter — the oldest one I’ve ever seen. You can check it out (and more) in the gallery below. You’ll see they still have a long way to go.

DD MAU THEN

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A long way to go, indeed. They’ve done an admirable job with the interior’s unorthodox layout, which begins with a narrow frontage that funnels down to a cool anteroom (its walls hung with family photos, sparsely shelved with old books – in Vietnamese, natch – and bric-a-brac, plus a peekaboo window) and further to the open lounge/bar area and kitchen. It’s all of 54 seats, but they’re well spread out.

Kim and Kon showed me around the massive kitchen and talked of the trials and tribulations of making/baking tapered banh mi demi-baguettes in house for both locations. Right now they’re still outsourcing their bread, but they expect to reveal their own loaves once volume and consistency are in synch (expect this in the next few weeks).

It was a cursory walk-through (I was just passing by), but it smells as good as you can imagine it would, and I’m really looking forward to exploring the menus, especially at dinner, which has plenty of dishes that look to be street food-inspired. You’ll find copies of the menus in the gallery below.

DD Mau serves lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30am to 3:30pm, and dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5:30pm until midnight. Take a look inside:

DD MAU NOW

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