Outside of sushi from Peter’s in Franklin, my previous exposures to Asian fare had not been very adventurous. I’m actually pretty sad to admit that. More so that I was content with it. I’ve lived a life of bad Chinese buffets, overly corporate franchised upscale Chinese food, and sub-par hibachi mixed in with some pretty decent Thai. And I’ve let myself believe that is about as good as “Asian” fare got in the US.
Then Sum Yum Yum popped on my radar. Their gold and maroon logo stating “Asian Subs and Other Specials.” I got pretty excited. Plus their cartoonish logo is full of personality and it made me smile. I was interested in what their take on “Asian Sub” was. I then caught a glimpse of their menu via picture on Twitter. And I saw “Banh Mi” on the menu. I had no clue what a Banh Mi was. (Again, I sadly admit this.) But since their logo said Asian Subs and based on the picture via Twitter, I deduced that a Banh Mi was an Asian Sub. I then did a Google Search and found that Banh Mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread (more often than not, a baguette, which was introduced by the French during the Vietnamese colonial period). The sandwiches made from Banh Mi include meat and soy fillings and are traditionally accompanied by fresh cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, daikon, and spicy chili sauce. I started to get really hungry the more research I did. But it definitely got me more excited to try Sum Yum Yum.
I am always saying to try something new. And this is definitely something new for me! And so I was super excited! Especially when I heard that they were going to be at the Hermitage Food Truck Frenzy. On the particular Wednesday that Jim and I went, they had 4 different Banh Mis, Laotian egg rolls, and spicy fries. The Banh Mis were Fried Tofu, Shredded Pork, Beef, and Chicken. Jim and I had 3 of the 4 Banh Mis and the egg rolls. I was also super impressed that their 12 oz Gatorades were only $1! It was a hot day and that Gatorade was AWESOME!
We split the Fried Tofu, Shredded Pork, and the Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mis. They were all very tasty. Although, the texture of the shredded pork and the flavor made it my favorite of the three. But then again, I love all things pork. The Fried Tofu was a very different flavor for me. We ordered this after speaking with Kong and getting his recommendation. It was a really interesting flavor and really tasty for vegetarian. I was impressed that vegetarian could have so much flavor! The daikon, chilis, carrots , cilantro really make the flavor unique.
The Belle of the Ball though HAS to be their Laotian Egg Rolls. You get 2 for $3. These were decent sized egg rolls and appropriately priced I felt. They were hot and crispy and just so much delicious flavor inside. I actually went back and had another order. I seriously think I could have eaten a dozen…by myself. I’m going on record as saying it is the BEST Egg Roll I have ever had!
Being the eldest of 5 children, his mother taught Kong how to cook in Laos since he was very young. So he has always been cooking for families and has always loved to. Er, LOVES to! Anytime there is a family or friendly function, Kong is the go-to guy to cook. He moved the US nearly 30 years ago and was a cook in Massachusetts. With this background, Kong has aspired to own a “family” restaurant.
He and his wife Tricia are now here in Nashville with their sons, Anthony and Zac. And Kong finally has his “family” restaurant…on wheels! Kong sets the menu and does the cooking. His wonderful wife, Tricia, handles the scheduling and also helps out taking orders. Zac, the youngest, helps with prep and also takes orders. Anthony, the oldest son, is there to greet, meet, and mingle with us. An important part to the food truck experience are the friendly faces. The food is obviously important to a food truck. But the personal touches and the personal interaction is the second component to having returning patrons. From Kong’s cooking to Tricia, Anthony, and Zac greeting us at the truck, it’s a well rounded well oiled machine there at Sum Yum Yum!
So how did they decide on Banh Mis? Well, when the food truck idea really started to become reality for Kong and Tricia, they knew that they wanted an Asian cuisine that people would love and no other trucks were currently offering. They thought of all the foods they loved and thought of how much they loved the Banh Mi from Chinatown in Boston, MA. And voila! Banh Mi Food Truck…Sum Yum Yum was born!!!!
The great thing is that since Kong is such a versatile cook, he can create special menu items for the day. And he is doing this on a regular basis from Chicken Fried Noodles to Fried Rice with Red Ribs. And they are consistently selling out! So you don’t want to pass up a menu special if you see it! And this is really great because it means that there is always something new to try at Sum Yum Yum. Just don’t forget about the Laotian Egg Rolls.
I’m not the best food critic. I’m not the best writer or blogger. But I know what I know. And I know what I like. And all I know is that every time I see Sum Yum Yum, my mouth waters for those egg rolls and I start to day dream of the shredded pork Banh Mi. Nashville don’t be afraid of something you’ve never heard of, because it just might be one of the best things you ever eat! I’m definitely glad that I wasn’t! We are so lucky to have Kong, Tricia, Anthony, and Zac bringing their family cuisine and atmosphere to the streets of Nashville.
Don’t deprive your belly of Sum Yum Yum. It’ll be happy you didn’t.