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Grilled Banh Mi at Pho Thai Hoa (Vancouver)

fmed Mar 25, 2010 01:53 PM

We've discussed on the old Western Canada forum the seeming non-existence of a hot grilled banh mi in the style of the exemplary Thi Thi in Calgary....so this was a nice little discovery for me.

The banh mi in Vancouver tends to be of the cold variety. A couple of places serve a "grilled" pork or chicken filling - but in reality it is often oven roasted shreds of meat served lukewarm - not truly grilled. This is my first real sighting of a hot banh mi with freshly grilled meat fillings in town. There could very well be other places that serve it outside my usual range...so if anyone knows of a good hot banh mi, please report! (I don't know how it compares to Thi Thi's since I have never been.)

I ordered the grilled pork and grilled chicken banh mi. The filings were definitely fresh as were the baguettes. The meats were nicely grilled with a decent amount of charring...I would have preferred much more blackening, but this was good.

Pho Thai Hoa...I forgot how good this place is. I guess I haven't been here in perhaps a year....I really need to put it back into my regular rotation. They have good pho and good bun dishes. They also have nice, new, laminated, photographic menus and a few new dishes. (Namely Com Bo Luc Lac - alert grayelf!).

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

  1. v
    vandan Mar 27, 2010 11:20 AM

    i was there yesterday and had the grilled pork it was quite good, and definetely the most expensive bahn mi i've ever seen/paid for

    13 Replies
    1. re: vandan
      fmed Mar 27, 2010 11:22 AM

      It's $4.50 (for the benefit of the other readers). Their regular (cold) banh mi is $3.50.

      1. re: fmed
        flowbee Mar 27, 2010 06:24 PM

        yeah, just tried their grilled pork and their sui mai bahn mi today. it was ok, but missing chilies in ours for some reason. disappointing. don't know if it's worth the $2 premiuim over other places. even comparing with the new ba le (their fillings were chintzy), i still like tbd and perhaps chong lee on rupert the best for bahn mi.

        1. re: flowbee
          fmed Mar 27, 2010 06:53 PM

          I've never tried the banh mi at Chong Lee...I live fairly close. (and TBD = Tiem Banh Dong Khanh a.k.a Tung Hing).

          It's the novelty of a "hot" banh mi that had me interested. Overall, I still do like Tung Hing and Ba Le overall. I go to Tung Hing if I feel like dessert after having a sandwich. (I love their butter buns).

          1. re: flowbee
            vandan Mar 27, 2010 07:01 PM


            1. re: vandan
              fmed Mar 27, 2010 07:06 PM

              (TBD = "Tiem Banh Dong Khanh" a.k.a "Tung Hing")

              1. re: fmed
                vandan Mar 27, 2010 08:24 PM

                ah thanks

                1. re: vandan
                  fmed Mar 27, 2010 08:45 PM

                  More useless information for you:

                  Tiem Banh means Bakery
                  Dong Khanh (Vietnamese...actually Đồng Khánh) = Tung Hing (romanized Chinese) - There was a Vietnamese Emperor named Dong Khanh.

                  There you go...something to talk about at your next cocktail party.

                  1. re: fmed
                    vandan Mar 28, 2010 07:57 AM

                    i like to keep things simple so i'll just stick to referring to it as tung hing

                    1. re: vandan
                      fmed Mar 28, 2010 08:48 AM

                      Me too.

                      (I've referred many people there, but often they couldn't find it because the sign says "Tiem Banh Dong Khanh" with a smaller and harder to see "Tung Hing Bakery" just beneath.)

          2. re: fmed
            Pata_Negra Mar 28, 2010 04:53 AM

            'regular' banh mi everywhere [in YVR] is $3.40 these days. 20 years ago i remember it was $2.50. $3.50 = €2.55 [today's exchange rate thanks to Greece, ay.] here i can get a lousy so-called 'beer' on draft, or a lousy coffee. at $3.50 it's still a very good deal.

            isn't Au Petit Cafe's fancy banh mi also $4.50?

            1. re: Pata_Negra
              fmed Mar 28, 2010 08:45 AM

              Funny how the prices didn't change much in 20 yrs. Tung Hing's "House Special" banh mi was $2.75 until last November when they raised it to $3.00(?)

              APC's banh mi ($4.50) has always been priced higher than the places in the east side). Understandable considering their prime Main St location vs the low-rent Kingsway.

              1. re: fmed
                kfed Mar 31, 2010 03:50 AM

                imho, 4.50 is kinda pricey for banh mi . i've alway prefered the warm variety, like the ones in Calgary.
                just realize that i didnt really try that many banh mi in my travels in vietnam. the cart ones i tried was ok, noticed they went a lot heavier on the liver pate.
                also how come none of the pho places serve pho sate? hmmm ...

                1. re: kfed
                  fmed Mar 31, 2010 06:58 AM

                  Pho sate is a regional thing too. Calgary and Edmonton and I think a few places back East (from what I have heard). I don't remember seeing it it VN.

        2. d
          disoon Mar 27, 2010 12:56 AM

          There is a place that I go to on Kingsway in Burnaby called Pho Saigon. I go there specifically for their grilled chicken banh mi. Delicious! Fresh and hot from the grill and pretty damn tasty. I haven' t tried anything else from there as the banh mi is so good I just cannot order anything else.

          1 Reply
          1. re: disoon
            fmed Mar 27, 2010 01:56 AM

            OK...I'm there!

          2. Pata_Negra Mar 26, 2010 08:05 AM

            day-ammmm all kinds of banh mi listed in a row! be grateful for having access to delicious foods! :D the nearest authentic Viet food from here is France.

            i like Pho Thai Hoa. went there twice on my short visit last spring but didn't have any banh mi. fried mince rolls, bun bo hue, pho and papaya salad for breakfast http://bonvivantnl.fotopic.net/p61596...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Pata_Negra
              fmed Mar 26, 2010 09:10 AM

              Nice pic of the salad. I love the stuff - especially with the jerky.

              You are London-based these days Pata_Negra?

              1. re: fmed
                Pata_Negra Mar 26, 2010 09:41 AM

                the jerky was a pleasant surprise. i thought i was getting the Ba Le beef jerky lol. i had the other jerky [seen in the salad] before, think it's called "kho nai" [or is it "nai kho"?], dried venison or deer meat. it comes in pressed thin sheets. there must be a source in YVR, no? i used to eat only Ba Le beef jerky by the kilo.


                1. re: Pata_Negra
                  fmed Mar 26, 2010 09:49 AM

                  Most of the salads here seem to use Chinese ("Singapore style") pork jerky. The best example of the stuff is sold at Bee Kim Heng on Fraser St. (4194 Fraser Street). I don't think Bee Kim Heng sells venison (I'll check it out next time). You can always get the very common pre-packaged Jerky made by Richmond-based Soo. I'll have a look at a couple of Vietnamese grocers to see if they sell venison jerky. I know Ba Le does sell jerky - I haven't knowingly had it (maybe I had it in a salad?). Maybe it's time I tried it.

                  BTW Phnom Penh (Chinatown) serves my favourite papaya salad with jerky.

                  1. re: fmed
                    Pata_Negra Mar 28, 2010 04:36 AM

                    i looked at your Banh Mi menu photo again trying to find one with tinned sardines. i remember eating that in Saigon [the city]. it's an evening snack there. i think the sardines were a little warm, iirc. to recreate it at home i warm a tin or two in a tiny saucepan, Thai chili garlic paste is added. mop it up with baguette.

                    well ok, i go for the Xiu Mai one instead, please. cheers.

                    i've been to Phom Penh in Chinatown only once. had the noodle soup and was not impressed. would like to try other things on the menu next time as i don't want to slag it off for the one thing i ate and didn't like.

            2. s
              selena03 Mar 25, 2010 07:36 PM

              I have yet to try a Banh Mi but have been wanting to for a while. Do any of the places you usually rec do a good vegetarian one? If so, what can one expect of typical toppings?

              4 Replies
              1. re: selena03
                fmed Mar 25, 2010 08:10 PM

                You can usually get a "vegetarian" banh mi (shredded carrot & daikon pickle, cukes, cilantro, onion) and sometimes a "tofu" bahn mi (same as a vegetarian banh mi plus tofu puffs.)

                The ones from Tung Hing (Kingsway) are pretty good. Pho Thai Hoa doesn't list a vegetarian one, but I'm sure they'll be accommodating.

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

                1. re: fmed
                  selena03 Mar 27, 2010 10:59 AM


                  1. re: selena03
                    fmed Mar 27, 2010 11:05 AM

                    Over at foodosophy, shokutsu just posted a blog entry about a vegetarian pho place in Burnaby...I don't know if they have vege banh mi, but its worth a try if you are in the area.


                    1. re: fmed
                      selena03 Mar 27, 2010 06:09 PM

                      I just looked at their website and this place looks great! They don't have a Banh Mi on the menu but I am going to check it out anyhow as I am always in this strip mall where it is located but have never been in. It looks like an interesting menu.

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