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May 1, 2009 12:34 PM

Fraser/Broadway/Kingsway area (YVR)

I just moved into a new place on Fraser Street and I spent last night wandering down Kingsway to King Ed, where I devoured some wonderful pho dac biet and cha gio (all with the Canucks game playing on their TVs, I love Canada!). Along my wanderings, I was astonished at the sheer volume of restaurants, mostly Vietnamese, but others as well.

On my list of places to go to so far are:
Ba Le - for banh mi
Tung Hing - for banh mi, what else should I get though?
Hai Yen - for pho
Hai Phong - for pho
Les Faux Bourgeois

Any other places that should make my summer eats list? Any grocery recommendations? I love Famous Foods already.

What about on Broadway near Fraser? I've been to Pojang Macha with the local meetup group, and I'd go again.

My stomach will thank you!

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  1. You are literally in cheap-eats heaven.

    Tung Hing also has very good chinese-style dessert buns etc (eg cocktail buns, etc.). Get there in the morning and it will be fresh. They crank up the baguette production around 11am...get there at around that time for the freshest bread for your bahn mi.

    Check out My Chau for Pho Ga and a Vietnamese fried chicken. Ningtu for old school Vancouver Northern/Shanghai food (they have some authentic stuff there - dried fish noodle soup, tea-smoked duck and some more modern stuff like nori-battered fish, etc.), Green Lettuce for Indian-Chinese (not a fan myself), Ken's (sort of HK-Cafe like), Dai Tung (dim sum and other stuff), and tons of decent Korean restuarants and shops up and down (the better ones are closer to Burnaby - Cho Sun, Dae Rae Oak, and a few more), Red Fort has pretty decent Northern Indian.

    Have fun exploring the hood! I am in that area regularly. Make sure to check out Fraser St and Victoria Dr as well...more treasures to be found there.

    8 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Thanks fmed! I saw a lot of those names on awnings. Will definitely check them out. I might have to ride down to that jerky place down Fraser you guys were talking about earlier too... mmm.

      1. re: peter.v

        Bee Kim Heng is definitely worth the trip -- I once gave this tasty meat treat as Christmas presents :-).

        At Ba Le you can buy containers of the pickled carrots and white stuff (turnip??) that makes a great addition to other types of homemade sandwiches to spice up your bag lunches...

        Also be sure to poke around in the Vietnamese grocers along Kingsway if you haven't already. You will soon be making your own Vietnamese coffee at home (drool).

        1. re: peter.v

          Just thought of a couple more:
          Cuu Long and House of Dosa (Knight/Kingsway). House of Dosa has an great $5.99 Monday Dosa special.

          You might as well do a Knighafter-esque Pho sense in recommending just one or two places when there are probably two dozen in that area. :-)

          1. re: fmed

            Haha! You make a good point. I'll have to break out a rubric, start a blog and start posting on urbandiner. I saw House of Dosa and thought it sounded familiar.

            Hmm, I think I might have to build up an MSG tolerance so I can do this Pho crawl.

            Apparently Pho Quyen just up from Kingsway on Fraser is good too.

            1. re: peter.v

              Yes it is. One of my favourites. I also like Pho Thai Hoa and Hai Phong (which recently re-opened many months after a sewer backup issue.)

              1. re: fmed

                I just thought of another place which you will probably stumble across when you go to Ba Le. There is a small Russian grocer in that same little strip mall. Can't remember the name but they have myriad cool items with Cyrillic on them and they also make their own vareniki (my bad on the spelling; they are frozen dumplings similar to perogies). Worth a look.

                1. re: grayelf

                  It is called "Alenka". Way down of Fraser is European Breads (which sells the Georgian baguettes you are starting to see everywhere in town).

                  Alenka European Foods
                  701 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

                  European Breads Bakery
                  4324 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V, CA

                  1. re: fmed

                    i've tried their mini perogie-type things. tasty! and they had some yummy halva (but i'm no expert on halva).

      2. I know, not Broadway but Fraser & 27th (they deliver) - Nooru Mahal Restaurant - 4354 Fraser St., South Indian, Sri Lankan & Singaporean Cuisine. I really like the food here. Yummyweb has their menu, they have 4 ft. dosas!

        P.S. I just went to Tung Hing last week for their banh mi, and so far, to me, it's the best I've had in Vancouver to date! The pork buns were so fresh & delicious too, my son couldn't stop eating them! I liked it quite a bit more than Ba Le, but that's just me...

        15 Replies
        1. re: ck1234

          I stopped looking for the "best" bahn mi once I found Tung Hing a few years ago. It is my favourite bahn mi joint in town, for sure. Ba Le is good too....but the fresh still-warm-from-the-oven baguettes from Tung Hing trumps Ba Le's (who outsources their baguette).

          Nooru Mahal is a great rec on Fraser. I also like Al Watan and Pin Pin. For some good old-school Vancouver Chinese: Koon Bo, Sun Lock, Koon Lock, and Grandview Szechuan.

          1. re: fmed

            Does it trump the fresh bahn mi from Au Petit Cafe? I must make a note of trying it out!

            1. re: twinkienic

              Yes...IMO. And they never run out of bread - unlike APC.

              1. re: fmed

                Really must get to Tung Hing soon. I'm a rank amateur when it comes to banh mi.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Adding most of the links for places mentioned -- no Hai Yen or Hai Phong though...

                  Pinpin Restaurant
                  6113 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W 2Z9, CA

                  House Of Dosas
                  1391 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V3E3, CA

                  Bee Kim Heng Beef & Pork Jerky Ltd
                  4194 Fraser St., Vancouver, BC V5V, CA

                  Pho Thai Hoa Restaurant
                  1625 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2S2, CA

                  Pho Quyen Restaurant Ltd
                  3916 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V4E4, CA

                  Green Lettuce Indian Style Chinese Restaurant
                  1949 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2T1, CA

                  Au Petite Cafe (2005) Ltd
                  4851 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3R9, CA

                  My Chau Restaurant
                  1715 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2S4, CA

                  Ningtu Restaurant
                  2130 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2T5, CA

                  Ken's Chinese Restaurant Ltd
                  1097 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V3C9, CA

                  Al-Watan Tandoori
                  6084 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W2Z7, CA

                  Noor Mahal Restaurant
                  4354 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V4G3, CA

                  Tung Hing Bakery
                  1196 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V 3C8, CA

                  Ba-Le Sandwich Shop
                  701 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K6, CA

                  Koon Bo Restaurant Ltd
                  5682 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W2Z4, CA

                  Sunlock Garden Restaurant Ltd
                  4298 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V4G2, CA

                  Koon Lock Restaurant
                  6270 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W3A1, CA

                  Grand View Szechuan Restaurant Ltd
                  4181 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V4E9, CA

                  Dai Tung Chinese Restaurant
                  1050 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V3C6, CA

                  Red Fort Authentic Indian Cuisine
                  1962 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2S9, CA

                  Les Faux Bourgeois Bistro
                  663 E 15th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Thanks grayelf! Now peter.v can repay this effort by promising to eat at every single one of these places :-)

                    Hai Yen
                    646 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K4, CA

                    1. re: fmed

                      OK...let me see if adding Hai Phong works......

                      ( can only add a 'new' place one at a time....)

                      Hai Phong
                      1246 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V, CA

                      1. re: fmed

                        I can't believe no one has mentioned the stellar Red Sea Cafe or the equally popular Fassil both on Broadway near Fraser-both Ethiopian.

                        Haven't been to Fassil yet but the Red Sea is very well run with delicious food.

                        1. re: Sam Salmon

                          That's why you're here Sam :-)

                          Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant
                          736 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T1X9, CA

                          Red Sea Restaurant
                          670 Broadway E, Vancouver, BC V5T1X6, CA

                          1. re: fmed

                            Oh man! You guys are absolutely phenomenal (though honestly, I expected no less). Those two Ethiopian restaurants are literally 30 seconds from my house, so I am really glad to hear that at least Red Sea is delicious. Grayelf, I think you've created the "date list" my roommates and I discussed drafting. So awesome. Also, Duster, glad to hear there's wicked butter chicken down the road.

                            I will report back gradually on all the places I can get to!! Maybe I'll hit up Tung Hing tomorrow for banh mi.

                              1. re: fmed

                                Hmmm, this all makes me think it might be time to start a food blog (with reviews here too of course!). Cameras and I don't tend to get along so well, but we'll see what I can do!

                                1. re: fmed

                                  For pic of TH banh mi, see below.

                                2. re: peter.v

                                  Glad you like the list, peter, but unless you are dating very understanding females, I'd be a bit loath to take them to a few of these spots :-).

                                  I wanted to mention another place I poked my nose into today, right next to Pho Thai Hoa at 1629 Kingsway. It is called North China Dim Sum and it sells all manner of frozen treats including but definitely not limited to har gow and siu mai. I inquired about char siu bao thinking to add some to my trove but they were out by then (1:30ish). The hours are 8:30-6 pm 7 days a week and the phone number is (604) 873-3568; I'd suggest just stopping in as I got most of this info via pantomime. I'm pretty sure the lady manning the fort thought I had wandered into the wrong store :-) but she was as helpful as her limited English allowed. The sign in the window was offering a couple of different items for 8 or 9 cents each so I take it the prices are reasonable. Has anyone tried the wares here?

            2. I feel the need to mention a spot that features pretty highly in my don't-feel-like-cooking-need some-take-out rotation. In the same strip mall as Ba Le, there is an unassuming Pizza Factory that churns out, as you may guess, mediocre pizza. However, they also do Indian food. Their all day butter chicken special is only $7 and comes with enough butter chicken, rice, naan to keep you going for days.

              Thanks for the tips on Tung Hing. Ba Le's grilled pork bahn mi have been the weekend jam lately, but a picturesque bike ride further up Kingsway is now a must.

              24 Replies
              1. re: duster

                Thanks for that duster. These are the best kinds of tips.

                >>Thanks for the tips on Tung Hing. Ba Le's grilled pork bahn mi have been the weekend jam lately, but a picturesque bike ride further up Kingsway is now a must.

                Kingsway has its own kind beauty. It's a great street for food if you are willing to dig.

                1. re: fmed

                  Oh trust me fmed I recognize the beauty of our fair Kingsway. Similar to how I usually find myself in Kingsgate Mall at least once a day and never cease to be taken in by the atmosphere (new spirit eagle is redic).

                  Hopefully this thread keeps going, as it's giving me lots of spots to try that are off the Main St. path.

                  1. re: duster

                    FYI even those from other hoods are hoping this thread keeps going :-). It inspired me to expand my trip to Famous Foods today to include a stop at Bee Kim Heng and Tung Hing. I've attached a shot of 1 lb (!) of the pork jerky which so doesn't do it justice (it's still in the bag through great self restraint). The colour and sheen of this stuff puts other things that call themselves jerky to shame. And it's a bargain at $19 a pound, considering they use grass fed meat and don't add a bunch of chemicals/preservatives.

                    If you go, don't be surprised if it looks like they are out of everything -- someone will come out and ask what you want. Then you (if you are me) will look confused and say you don't know, which will net you generous samples of the beef and pork. Then you will mention that you like hot and spicy, which will likely result in tastes of the picante versions. Then you will be even more confused as they all taste so good you can't make up your mind, so rest assured you can get smaller amounts if you want to take all four home. When I was there today, there was a woman with a little mask on madly cooking up slabs of pork on the grill in the front window. I could have stayed there all day...

                    But I had to go to Tung Hing to try the banh mi. After finding it and parking (a bit picturesque to be sure with some exhibitionism courtesy of a homeless guy) I got in line and watched as the four people ahead of me ordered about a dozen of the "specials" between them. These puppies are $2.75, come on a food long baguette, and have three kinds of meat plus pate in them. I decided that all these peeps couldn't be wrong so I ordered two (there are actually other options listed on a little board over to the right but NO ONE was ordering anything other than the special). I also picked up a pork and chive bun and a pork and shrimp bun (see photo; triangle and torpedo respectively) plus two of the banana "beignets" that another Hound sang the praises of on a different thread. This sumptuous repast came to a whopping $8.25!

                    I sped home to the SO and we chowed down. The banh mi were as good as reported even after a sojourn in Saturday afternoon road repair traffic, and a terrific value, but we both agreed we give a bit of an edge to our faves from Golden Garden in Chinatown. As the SO put it, they are a bit "whiter" (told you we were neophytes) but he also preferred the lower bread to filling ratio in the more expensive ($3.25) and smaller GG version. Nonetheless I would not hesitate to nab a sarnie from TH again in a flash.

                    I'd be less sold on the savoury buns though as both were very greasy and the pork/shrimp one did not get finished. The banana one I would get again. It reminded me a bit of the Pilipino banana fritters in taste though of course it was not crunchy.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      The homeless guy is a fixture there.

                      Most of the time, I eat the bann mi that I buy at Tung Hing right in the parking lot...for that extra fresh feeling. Make sure to try the other bahn mi at Tung Hing too....the lemon grass chicken and the sweet 'sausage' are particular favourites of mine. The meatball sub is good too. I also ask for extra cuke and pickle - they gladly oblige.

                      BTW....that other Vietnamese deli/bakery at the same strip (I think is is called Kingsway Deli or something like that)..sells some very interesting Vietnamese cookies, sweets, preserves, etc. (They also sell banh mi...but not nearly as good as Tung Hing's.)

                      Thanks for the pics!

                      1. re: fmed

                        I will try the insta-snack next time for full effect, but will have to face east if that guy is a regular fixture :-). I noticed some customers getting little bags of what looked like pickled jalapeno but I decided to go with the straight goods for the first taste test. I love that they put whole sprigs of cilantro in -- the stems give a different flavour than just the leaves.

                        When I was at Bee Kim Heng, I noticed that the Grandview Restaurant that fmed mentioned above was right across the street so I steamed over to nab a takeout menu. Lo and behold, the staffer that greeted me was one from their old location on Broadway. I knew they moved about four years ago but for some reason lost track of them. We used to go to the old place quite frequently so it may be time to see what they are up to on Fraser. I recall several of their dishes quite fondly, and I notice they have some items that I have never tried and should such as juicy dumplings and tan tan (though these appear to be the peanut saucy kind). They also have a dine-in coupon where you get a free fourth main if you order three that could be useful for generating tasty leftovers, peter :-).

                        1. re: fmed

                          I too made it to Tung Hing this weekend. It's a short 5 minute ride on my bike, so this might become a habit! I got the house special, as did probably a dozen other folks in the bakery. This was a really good sandwich. I can't believe (and neither could my roommates) that it only set me back $2.75. All the other items looked great too, but I didn't pick anything else up, though I think that will change next time I drop in. Service was friendly, though I had to be a bit forceful to deal with all the other people crowded around the sandwich counter (there was no line... just a crowd and no one was paying attention to order). I used my cell phone for a picture of the sandwich... I think the quality will suffice!

                          Oh, and about that food blog idea to chronicle my adventures in the neighborhood, I've staked a claim at - we'll see if I can keep it up!

                          1. re: peter.v

                            One of the best deals in the city!

                            1. re: peter.v

                              Nice one, peter -- I've bookmarked yvreats and look forward to more posts. But dude you gotta find a better place to snap your sarnies -- grass not sanitary :-).

                              I'm really keen to try the lemon grass chicken to see how it stacks up to our current fave "seasoned chicken" at Golden Garden in Chinatown.

                              1. re: grayelf

                                Sanitary? Pfff. At least it was my front lawn and not a Kingsway patch of grass... haha.

                                1. re: peter.v

                                  You know, I was gonna comment about the grass yesterday. When I looked at it, I snickered and said to myself, "that is sooo a guy photo"... ;-)

                              2. re: peter.v

                                After all this talk I had to go to Tung Hing to try their banh mi today! Tasted good and their baguette was nice and fresh. (You know its a proper Vietnamese style baguette when you sit in your car eating it and there are crumbs everywhere) I just wish there was more filling. But hey for 3 bucks I shouldn't complain! For some reason I have yet to find a banh mi out here in Van that are as good as the ones in Calgary...

                                1. re: alwaysroom4dessert

                                  I just ask them for double meat, cilantro, and jalapeno. Usually runs just a little over $5.

                                  1. re: alwaysroom4dessert

                                    I hear that Calgary has an amazing Vietnamese scene.

                                    Curious...What is the average price for a banh mi there?

                                    In Toronto (last time I was there) it was around $2 ($1.75-ish) - the cheapest I have seen anywhere (outside of Vietnam).

                                    1. re: fmed

                                      The thing about Calgary banh mi is that the popularized sandwiches are satay subs with the usual toppings but the meat is hot and much more prominent than in the Vancouver banh mi. At least, that's the way it is at Thi Thi, my favorite by far. You pay $5.50 for one of those guys. Cold cut banh mi, similar to the ones had at Tung Hing et al are about $4 if I remember right.

                                      I agree with alwaysroom... there's nothing I've seen in Vancouver that compares to the ones in Calgary.

                                      1. re: peter.v

                                        I never see hot banh mi here. The only ones I have had that way are hot meatballs.

                                        I also never see pho satay.

                                        Interesting regional differences.

                                        1. re: fmed

                                          My corner store makes hot banh mi with Beef or Pork satays! Her bread is good too. But, they don't have cilantro or peppers, she just uses hot sauce & carrots & cukes. The only reason I don't order the satays is they have too much sauce on them...SWEET like sugary teryaki. Their meatball subs are $2.50, Special $2.75 & the Satay ones are $4.00. I have to admit I have eaten a lot of their banh mi's since they moved in there!

                                          Yes, this is my corner store that sells lotto & internet & lunch & cigarettes and condoms! I was quite shocked the day I saw a guy asking for those while I was waiting for my banh mi!

                                          1. re: ck1234

                                            Who needs Whole Foods when you have one of these?!

                                        2. re: peter.v

                                          Calgary really does have a great Vietnamese scene! That's definitely it Peter, they are usually served warm (making the bread even more slightly crispy) and have that distinct satay/charbroiled flavor. Still searching for bun that has meat with that real charbroiled flavor, but thats a whole other post thats already been discussed!
                                          Grayelf: Any girl that isn't willing to explore some of the whole in the wall resto's that are hidden gems here in the city, don't deserve to eat it anyway! (My friend and I did have to look away while we watched the token homeless man spit into his cup while we ate though..)

                                          1. re: alwaysroom4dessert

                                            awr4d, you have a point. That is a great litmus test to see if a potential date has, well, chow potential :-). I think peter knows I was kinda pulling his leg anyway cf. my comment about unsanitary grass as well. I have found a few places that have what I consider to be a delightful char on their bun meat (mmm, bun meat!) eg Cuu Long but as you say that's probably fodder for another thread.

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              I thought ar4d was talking about baguette! I concur about Cuu Long's meats...the best char flavour in my books. Let me also add Pho Quyen's, Lu Quan's, and Song Huong's charred meats to my "worthy" list. (Pics shown in order - Cuu Long, Pho Quyen, Lu Quan and Song Huong).

                                              1. re: fmed

                                                Oops...gotta get into the habit of adding Place links....

                                                (We should start another topic about Vietnamese BBQ perhaps.)

                                                Song Huong Vietnamese
                                                1613 Nanaimo St, Vancouver, BC V5L4T9, CA

                                                Cuulong Restaurant
                                                3911 Knight St, Vancouver, BC V5N3L8, CA

                                                Pho Quyen Restaurant Ltd
                                                3916 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V4E4, CA

                                                Luquan Vietnamese Restaurant
                                                1086 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V3C6, CA

                                                1. re: fmed

                                                  Nice calls, fmed and thanks for the relevant linkies :-). I really must try something other than the bo 7 mon and grilled beef at Song Huong...

                                        3. re: fmed

                                          When I first started my Banh Mi search here in central California I heard that it was usually ordered as a morning thing and the normal order was two per person. The first one I tried was only 1.25, iirc, but the bun was small and tough, not bad, just not conducive to a pleasant sandwich, exploring further the buns were larger, with that great flaky exterior, but the filling seemed sparse, though the flavor was great, price usually $2.00-2.50. For dietary reasons I just didn't want to consume that much bread (as much as I would have loved to) so just started asking them to double down on the fillings. Now when I call in my order I only get as far as "Banh Mi, number 21...." OK "for Dave"....OK ..... "10 minutes?".... OK.... (dial tone). The regular is 2.75 I think so it runs just over $6 with tax, wouldn't trade it for anything. (#21 is the grilled or BBQ pork)

                                          1. re: PolarBear

                                            I'm a bread guy so the litmus test is the freshness of the bun. The fillings are important...but you can put great fillings in a stale bun and it will still suck. I should ask if Tung Hing will double the filling. I often ask for "extra vegetables" (another couple of cuke slices and a bit more pickle) and they did not charge me extra.

                          2. Since you mentioned Famous Foods, peter, I thought I would post a possible caveat. I say possible because I haven't tried the Barrilla pasta I bought there today yet. However, I did not look carefully at it and only discovered when I was putting it away that it is made in the US, not in Italy. I always buy the Italian import at Parthenon but they've been out of gemelli so was delighted when I saw it at FF. It may taste just as good but the suggested cooking time is longer and I'm guessing the wheat is different. My bad for not looking carefully enough at the label or noticing the box was taller...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: grayelf

                              i was there the other day and also had the garlic chicken and the house special, enjoyed both but there was some mystery meat that was decidedly very chewy in the hs , anyone else notice this and any ideas what it might have been

                              1. re: vandan

                                It's probably the vietnamese 'bacon' (top left in this photo):

                            2. This post is unbelievable! I've lived at Knight and King Edward for 7 years and know next to nothing about what's good to eat in the area. Probably because I feel shy about going into places where I'm afraid there won't be an English menu. Anyway, I am writing all these places down and making Tung Hing (I used to go the bakery in the same area all the time) and the jerky my first priorities. Thanks all!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: lotuskitty

                                I know how you feel, lotuskitty (love your handle btw!). Several years ago I was doing some business way out Kingway that required me to drive by all the pho/bun places repeatedly. One day I just say "to heck with it" and pulled in to the first one that didn't have blacked out windows. It turned out to be the beginning of a good thing, and while that place is now renamed with new owners it made me realize that the worst thing that could happen is I might end up backing out quickly if I went somewhere I felt uncomfortable. And that has not happened once in the intervening four years. So happy hunting and let us all know what other treasures you find.

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  This really is an amazing post. I went to Tung Hing on Saturday and am now addicted. Ordered the special as directed by so many on this board and was definitely not disappointed. So tasty and wonderful.
                                  Thanks guys!

                                  1. re: moltmonster

                                    Nice to hear you had a nice meal moltmonster. I can see how the banh mi there can be addicting....I might have to pick up a couple tomorrow.