By Tana Kosiyabong
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.)
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.
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: ©©©©
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!
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