Fast Food

Taco Bell Parent Brand Opens Bougie Vietnamese Fast Food, Calls Pho ‘Chicken Soup’


Up until now, good Vietnamese restaurants have been notoriously frill-free. There’s very little effort spent appeasing guests with friendly waiters or even translated menus. You go, you enjoy the kaleidoscopic medleys of rice noodles, pickled carrots, basil, and proteins wrapped in rice paper or steeped in broth, you pay, and you leave.

Well folks, it seems we’re finally ready to give Vietnamese food the Panda Express treatment. Say hello to the Banh Shop.

With its first location opening this Friday in Dallas, Texas, the Banh Shop is Yum Brand’s ambiguously authentic yet ambiguously new age take on all that is mainstream Vietnamese food, from banh mi sandwiches to bun (dry noodle salads) to pho. Except they don’t really call it pho. Nope, they’re calling it “Vietnamese-Style Chicken Soup.” Gag me with an Asian soup spoon.


Everything on the menu has been neatly repackaged (read: dumbed down and hipster-ed up) for the Insta- generation. Rather than plain photos of sandwiches identified solely by their protein (beef, pork), guests will find “Grilled Steak” on the menu, along with trendy flowery descriptions like “sliced and char-grilled with honey caramel glaze” and “cucumber-cilantro aioli”; or the “Breakfast All Day,” a two egg omelet sandwich with “ground seasoned pork & sliced smoked ham, with ribbon-cut cucumber & cilantro; with honey-garlic aioli.”

There are also spring rolls, “Wok’d” rice and noodle bowls, pho as we’ve said, bun, a salad, a kind of Vietnamese eloté dressed with coconut milk, butter, and fish sauce, Vietnamese iced coffee, a ginger margarita, a passion fruit colada, and craft beers.


We should note that this is all a gripe over form — the food could taste perfectly amazing. Last month, we ventured to Yum Brand’s other new Americana, travel, and fusion-inspired venture, U.S. Taco Co., and were moderately impressed. But you have to admit that when the “authentic street food” aesthetic can be commoditized by the same brand who runs Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, it’s probably kind of sort of okay way, way overdone.

We’d rather take one of these places any day.

Fast Food

The Company Behind Taco Bell is Making a Banh Mi Sandwich, Really


Yum! Brands (what a name!) — the parent company behind Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut — has its eyes set on creating the next mega chain of Vietnamese eats, starting with banh mi sandwiches. Although the company has been hush hush about the curious “Banh Shop,” EscapeHatchDallas reports that the restaurant will occupy what was once an auto repair shop in Dallas.

The move follows the opening of Super Chix, a new concept testing in Arlington, Texas that effectively declared war on Chick-fil-A after claiming to serve “the last true chicken sandwich”.

While we fear the idea of a DLT-flavored banh mi bun stuffed with cheetos (please please no), we’ve got to hand to the fast food Goliath’s ambition.


Fast Food

This New Chicken Restaurant is Quietly Declaring War on Chick-fil-A


With the phrase “the last true chicken” Super Chix effectively declared war on other chicken restaurants. Yum Brands has been keeping pretty low-key about testing their Super Chix concept. The restaurant has kept quiet and secluded to one location in Arlington, Tex., where they are currently testing their menu.

The funny thing is, Yum Brands also owns the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken. However, since its development, Super Chix hasn’t mentioned their affiliation with the goliath chicken chain. According to Ad Age, the reason behind this, good or bad, is that they want to start “free and clear of all perceptions of all existing brands.”

While the menu is small, it’s stacked for customization. Items include a chicken sandwich, chicken tenders, fries with a variety of dipping sauces and frozen custards. The chicken is said to be hand-breaded, MSG-free and contains no high-fructose corn syrup or phosphates. As of now, marketing for Super Chix is at a bare minimum.

Chick-fil-A, take note.