Banh mi, also known as a Vietnamese sub, is constantly recognized as one of the cheapest and tastiest food options in city. A product of French Colonial Vietnam, the hybrid sandwich pairs crispy French baguettes with Vietnamese takes on popular French sliced cold cuts and grilled meats.
With crackly crusts, pickled veggies, and simple yet delicious flavours, here’s our list of where you can find Vancouver’s best banh mi.
Mr. Red Café
This Northern Vietnamese gem serves up a range of tantalizing dishes, from sliced rare beef pho to sticky rice and mung bean dumplings. Yet, it is their loaded subs that keep patrons coming back time and time again. Toppings include chicken, meatballs, spicy pâté, a veggie mix, and beef stew.
Address: 2234 East Hastings Street
Au Petit Café
Simple, fresh, and delicious banh mi is what you can expect when you drop by this no-frills Main Street spot. Patrons can choose between an array of fillings, like homemade ham, meatballs, shredded chicken, and liver pâté, that come sandwiched between a fresh French baguette.
Address: 4851 Main Street
This casual canteen-style eatery dedicates its menu to Vietnamese classics, such as vermicelli bowls and banh mi. Served on a crispy fresh baked baguettes with cucumbers, picked radish and carrots, cilantro, and jalapeños, it’s no wonder why DD MAU has a line-up out their door come lunch. Sub toppings include lemongrass chicken, BBQ pork, honey-garlic beef, grilled lemongrass tofu, or an assortment of Vietnamese cold cuts (steamed pork loaf, head cheese, and pork shoulder).
Address: 1239 Pacific Boulevard
Ha Long Bay
Made on fresh French bread daily, Ha Long Bay offers a variety of banh mi options, which include beef stew, grilled lemongrass chicken, and grilled pork. Topped with crisp, tasty veggies, Ha Long Bay’s subs are a filling lunch time feed for downtown workers and students. To avoid the lunch rush be sure to turn up before midday, or after 1 p.m.
Address: 430 West Pender Street
Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro
Located across from English Bay, Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro offers West End diners six different freshly made banh mi sandwiches to choose from, for $6.25 or less. Garnished with the usual banh mi suspects, Baoguette’s subs can be topped with spicy grilled beef, a minced pork patty, lemongrass chicken, and assorted Vietnamese hams.
Address: 1184 Denman Street
This tiny storefront on Robson Street offers a solid and inexpensive list of Vietnamese subs, with prices ranging from $4.50 to $4.75. Can’t decide which topping to choose (there are nine in total) go for the Special Sub. Comprised of Vietnamese ham, cold cut meats, and meatballs, this sub has got a little bit of everything on it, which is sure to satisfy even the most indecisive eater.
Address: 520 Robson Street
In addition to their sought-after desserts and drinks, Chi-Licious also whips up homemade banh mi, which range from the more traditional, like the Saigon Signature (various cold cut meats, BBQ pork, pork floss, pate) to the inventive, like the Ducking Good (Roasted duck, ginger, scallion) and the Seoul Savoury (Kalbi beef, kimchi, seaweed strips).
Address: 1120 Denman Street
Five Elements Café
At $4 a piece, no one can deny the incredible value of Five Elements Café’s Vietnamese Submarines. All sandwiches, no matter whether they’re stacked with salty meats or garlic laden tofu, are generously dressed with pickled veggies, fresh cucumber, and cilantro.
Address: 1046 Commercial Drive
Ba Le Deli & Sandwich Shop
This Vietnamese deli and sandwich shop on Kingsway, bakes their bread in-house everyday and loads it with all the usual banh mi fixings. Opt for their #2 Grilled Pork Sandwich. The bread is crunchy, the meat warm and tender, and the veggies crisp. Those searching for an extra kick can select to have spice added into the mix.
Address: 701 Kingsway
For a reliable, affordable and quick banh mi fix head to Hornby Street’s One Saigon. Sandwiches are priced at $4 and come topped with cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, pâté, mayonnaise, hoisin sauce and hot sauce, if so desired.
Address: 979 Hornby Street