The Dynamic Duo—Viet Sub Special Sub Sandwiches and Beard Papa’s Original Cream Puffs

By Tana Kosiyabong

Special Sub Sandwich by Vietsub

The south side of the Robson Street between Seymour and Richards is becoming one of the most exciting culinary warzone. Many food vendors–including a falafel shop, a Vietnamese sub shop, a dessert shop, a pan Asian noodle bar and a couple Japanese restaurants–are all located within the block (not to mention a food court on the second floor of H-mart). And very soon two more fierce newcomers–Gyudon-ya and Japadog–will join this battle field. Most of these competitors are quite interesting and I’ll eventually review them. But, for now, I will start with a couple shops I called the “Dynamic Duo.”

The first half of the Duo is Viet Sub, a dingy Vietnamese sub sandwich shop in this culinary war zone. Despite the shabby look, their Vietnamese subs (Bánh mì) have won me over. Viet Sub sandwiches are not only delicious, but also very affordable. The sub prices start from $3.25. Viet Sub also offers pho and Vietnamese salad rolls. However, I have never tried them. (Well… the shop name is Viet Sub, not Viet Pho or Viet Salad Roll.)

Vietsub Special Sub Sandwich (Vietnamese ham, cold cut, barbecue meat and meatball)

For this week mission, I ordered the special sub–Vietnamese ham, fatty cold cut, barbecued meat and meatball ($3.75). The cook toasted the subs before served. (If you prefer traditional-style subs, ask for the untoasted.) The warm and crispy French baguette was interestingly contrast to the cold fillings. The four different types of meats made each bite unpredictable and fun. Vietnamese sour pickles–julienned daikon radish, carrots, and cucumber–are flavorful and crunchy. The seasoned soy sauce and mayo beautifully combine the Eastern and Western cuisines together. Fresh cilantro added freshness to the sandwich. The only thing was missing is the pâté. It was spread too thinly on the bread I barely tasted the flavor.

Beard Papa's original cream puff on Robson Street

After I finished the sub, I still have a little room left for sweets. So, I walked out of Viet Sub directly into the cream puff shop next door. Beard Papa’s, the second half of the Duo, has just opened at this location a few months ago. The name may sound a bit weird to some, but probably cute to the Japanese. Beard Papa’s is a Japanese cream puff chain founded since 1999 in Osaka, Japan. According to Wikipedia, “their trademark is the choux pastry shell filled with cream custard, available in vanilla, chocolate and specialty flavors such as green tea, strawberry, pumpkin, Earl Grey tea, Èclair, and coffee.” Their cream puffs are made daily with no added preservatives.

The Beard Papa’s store is a total opposite to the Vietsub. It is clean and welcoming. The shop features three cream puff flavors daily. The store also offers cheesecake stick and fondant au chocolate. For this mission, I went for the most popular, the original cream puff ($1.75).

It didn’t take long for the staff to pump the filling into the shell. The choux pastry shell was slightly crusted on the outside but fluffy on the inside. Once I bit deeper, the vanilla custard cream started to ooze into my mouth. It was light, yet creamy and not too sweet. Since I am not a fan of overly sweet desserts, this cream puff is perfect for me.

Despite of their different looks, Viet Sub and Beard Papa’s complement each other very well. The Dynamic Duo is a good example of Cheap Appetites in Vancouver where the cost of living is among the highest in Canada. However, if you know where to go, you can have a good meal and a delicious dessert for under $6–or even $5 if you order one of the $3.25 sub like chicken, Vietnamese ham, or veggies instead of the Special Sub.

Viet Sub Special Sub Sandwich: ©©© 1/2

Beard Papa’s Original Cream Puff: ©©©©

BUDGET BREAKDOWN:
Remaining Budget: $315.61
Budget Spent: -$5.5 ($3.75+$1.75)
Budget Available: $310.11

Vietsub is located at 542 Robson St., Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.569.3340

For another opinion on Viet Sub from I’m only here for food, click here.

Beard Papa’s is located at 548 Robson St., Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.568.0058

For other Beard Papa’s locations in the Greater Vancouver, click here.

Note: I’ve written about my Japan trip for a couple weeks now. Although I have yet to write about my Cheap Appetite missions in Thailand, it’s time I switch gear to Vancouver for a couple weeks. After all there are so many people including vitsitors here in town for the Olympics. I think it would be more useful to the majority of the readers this way. But no worries, I will write my Cheap Appetite missions in Thailand soon. Please stay Tune!

©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.

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20 thoughts on “The Dynamic Duo—Viet Sub Special Sub Sandwiches and Beard Papa’s Original Cream Puffs

  1. the first time i tried bread papa was in hk. i completely fell for it. afterall i hv such weakness towards sweet.
    last year, one of my friend came visit at my house and bought a big box of puff pastry, then i realized they’ve arrived vancouver.
    i didnt know they hv that much variety for the fillings though. even though i’m sure i will stick with the original vanilla filling, i would absolutely try the green tea flavor someday.

    1. Yes, Beard Papa’s cream puffs are so yummy. I really like them. But I never buy a whole box of them though ’cause I’m cheap. lol. I had tried the green tea flavor before. It was a bit weak. I imagined that it would be like green tea ice cream, but it was much less intense. Hardly smell green tea. But since it was made from the same custard cream base, it still yummy. 🙂

  2. Oh my – does that sub ever look good. I am so envious of the choices in Vancouver. And the price is so right – especially with all that is packed in there. Yep, I’d have had the cream puff also!

    1. This particular downtown block will have even more choices soon. Not that it isn’t now. But after the other two, Gyudon-ya and Japadog, open, I will have a hard time to choose where I should eat So many good choices in the same block. Although it was only 15 mins walk from my place, I wish I lived closer to this block. lol.

  3. I can live on Banh Mi if that’s all I were a castaway on a deserted island. I guess that island would have to be close to Vietnam, LOL.

    Tana, hop onto the #19 bus and make your Banh Mi way along Kingsway between Fraser and Knight, where the epicenter of the local Vietnamese community and restaurants seem to be. Ba-Le is perhaps the best known and the oldest, their Main St. shop goes back to the late 70s if I recall:

    http://maps.google.ca/maps?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&q=bale+restaurant+vancouver&fb=1&gl=ca&hq=bale+restaurant&hnear=Vancouver,+BC&ei=9o57S7rkJZTSsgPt45XqBg&ved=0CA4QtgMwAA&ll=49.279012,-123.099757&spn=0,359.993455&z=17&layer=c&cbll=49.278708,-123.099766&panoid=ML-i7g_nK_imIq23TjaWfg&cbp=12,255.96,,0,6.92

    And their Kingsway shop is at the NE corner of Kingsway and Fraser.
    I think their most expensive banh mi is $4.

    1. LotusRapper, Ba-Le sounds great! I love older shops like this. It’s a testament to how good they are. I’ll definitely go there very soon then I’ll let you know how I like it. I haven’t ventured outside of the downtown area much. This is a great chance. Thanks for sharing with me.

  4. I had to Google Map Streetview to look up the names of some of the banh mi shops that I’ve taken a liking to ! They are:

    1) Ba-Le (Main St and Kingsway locations)
    2) Tiem Banh Dong Khanh (Tung Hing Bakery): 1198 Kingsway
    3) [NAME ?] Restaurant (615 E. Broadway, couple of doors beside the Subway in the same plaza)

    There’s like a gazillion pho/banh mi spots throughout Greater Vancouver, many of them hole-in-walls unbeknown to many of us, that I’m sure serve superb food. I only mention these three because they are fairly close to me and on my commute route.

    Imagine doing a “banh mi & pho crawl” (like a pub crawl) down Kingsway …………..

    4)

    1. Thanks LotusRapper. Lots of great info here. I’ll gather all these and post on the Fan Favorites section. Hole-in-wall restaurants are usually yummy:) The banh mi and pho crawl sounds interesting:) Maybe I’ll give it a try!

  5. Ooh, I just had a Vietnamese sandwich the other week and it was heavenly. We had a Beard Papa’s shop open in Washington, but for a short time only. Weird, right? And cruel to give us desserts – and then take them back!! I missed having it, but that style of cream puff is popular in Hawaii, too. First time I had it was at a little family-run bakery in Makawao, Maui (teeny-tiny farm town where grandparents lived). The custard-filled cream puffs always make me think of happy family memories.

    1. I love Vietnamese subs too. It suits well with my Asian tongue. lol. In a way, my biased tongue normally prefers Asian flavors, lol. Beard Papa’s is also an Asian concoction. I think it was yummy! Too bad you only have a short time to enjoy them in Washington. It was quite booming here. You should have everyone you know signed a petition to get Beard Papa’s back. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but it’s quite possible that the same style of cream puff is popular there. After all, there are a lot of Japanese poplulation in Hawaii. And they are closest to Asia than most of North America. I wish I could go to Hawaii one day. I’ve heard a lot of good thing about it.

  6. Hello! I have not tried a Vietnamese sub yet! Primarily because their aren’t any outlets in this area offering these subs (but a ton of Vietnamese restaurants) and every time I get to NYC, I forget to try one. So thank you for the reminder! These sandwiches make my mouth water, they look soooooo delicious and out of this world. also, I think your photographs are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing! OH! And I can’t get enough of the cream puffs! I’ve actually had those!

    1. Well that’s too bad that you don’t have a Vietnamese sub sandwich shop around. We have many of them in Vancouver. I wish I could spare you one. 🙂 But whenever you’re have a chance, try this affordable sandwich. But I’m glad you’ve tried the cream puffs. They are yummy. It’s difficult to have only one at a visit. lol.

  7. I’m so glad I found your site! I live in Van too so your site is really helpful. lol. I was so happy when Viet Sub open. You ordered my favorite sub^-^ The one with all the different meats. I down 2 subs at a time when I pig out sometimes.

    1. Hey Betty, I’m glad to hear from you:) Welcome to CheapAppetite.com. Vietsub is definitely cheap and good. LotusRappers, one of our long time reader, also recommended Ba Lea and a couple other Vietnamese sub joint. Details is on the Fan Favorites section. If you’re a fan of Vietnamese sub, you may want to check it out:) If I’m very hungry, I’ll be up for two subs too. lol.

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