After living in London for a while, I really had a hankering for a good banh mi and Andrew brought me to a place that was always busy and bustling with people. The bread was cold, the fillings were skimpy, and it just didn’t hit the spot. While everyone else seemed to enjoy it, I realized I sorely missed a really, good banh mi – more specifically, the one from Au Petit Café back at home in Vancouver.
Au Petit Café is a small mom and pop shop that was started in the mid 90s, and has stuck around for 20 years. The café has a few small tables, and even though there is usually a queue of people waiting, turnover is pretty quick. They offer a few different types of pho and Vietnamese beef stew, but they are famous for their banh mi and this is the only reason why I come here! The price here is $5.65, which is a bit higher than the average $4, but they always have a steady flow of customers and deservedly so! Some people have tried the chicken one, and said it was just OK. I personally don’t know how the other sandwiches are, but I only ever go for the #1 House Special, and I can’t bring myself to try anything else. I just can’t.
The French bread is freshly baked in house, and is packed with pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, and house-made ham and meatballs. Oh man, the melt-in-your-mouth meatballs are to die for! They’re not your standard run of the mill meatballs – the meat is so soft and juicy, they’re hardly round and almost spreadable. Nicely seasoned with spices, and slightly sweet, I really feel this is what makes these sandwiches so drool worthy!
Andrew can never board a plane in Vancouver without making a stop here, but it was silly for us to think that the banh mi would even last the car ride to the airport, so we know that we have to pick up a few more for the road. So seriously, come here and come hungry. Trust me, even Joey Tribbiani would take a bullet for this sandwich.
Au Petit Café
4851 Main Street, Vancouver, BC (closed Wednesday)