For those who live in Vancouver, it is easy to see that Kingsway is a mecca for Vietnamese food. There seems to be a Pho or Banh Mi joint on almost every block in between Main and Nanaimo. Call it whatever you want, the Banh Mi Highway, Street of Banh Mi, The AutoBanh or The Phoway, it all comes down to one thing - choice. Yes, we as diners have an incredible amount of choice when it comes to Vietnamese food. Hence, on my way home from the hairdresser, I decided to grab some Banh Mi. So I drove up Kingsway in search of a place I've never tried before. As I was passing by one of my favs, Tung Hing, something caught my attention. Hey! A brand-new spanking place opened up right next to Tung Hing! Wow. That is brave indeed. Competing head-to-head. Either paying homage to the street or they really had no creativity in their store name, the place is simply named Kingsway Deli. Despite being located right next to Tung Hing, Kingsway Deli does offer more than Banh Mi. They have hot meals to go a la Kent's Kitchen. But I really wasn't there for anything else.
I decided to do a variety starting with the Cold Cut. The crusty bread seemed familiar to me and I suspect it is supplied by Empress Bakery. If this is truly the case, then that is a good thing since I think they make the best baguette. They also supply Kim Chau with a custom long narrow baguette. With familiar bread and familiar ingredients such as the Vietnamese ham, pork, pate, pickled daikon & carrots, cucumber, hot pepper, cilantro, butter-mayo and Maggi, this resembled the one from Ba Le of yesteryear (before they started making their own bread and lessened their ingredients). I would've liked the daikon and carrots to be more "pickled". They were noticeable in texture only. I also gave their Meatball sub a try. With a predominant onion taste, the meatball was not bad. The meat was a bit gritty in parts, possibly because it was pretty lean. Again, the daikon and carrots didn't provide the necessary zing to liven up the sandwich.
Moving along, the next sub was the Pork Belly. This one, as you can see in the picture, had a good amount of pork belly and Vietnamese ham. The pork belly was prepared properly where it didn't require much chewing. Furthermore, it had enough seasoning. This was a sinful sandwich. The last sub and probably the worst was the Satay Beef. The positive was the large amount of beef. The negative was that the beef resembled jerky. It was so overcooked, chewy and salty that it was a bit difficult to eat. It required quite a bit of gnawing. So, let's just put this place on the long list of Banh Mi joints along Kingsway. The best in my opinion is still Kim Chau with Tung Hing close behind. Kingsway Deli ranks somewhere in the middle.
- Large selection of Banh Mi
- Good amount of filling
- Crusty bread
- Pickles need more pickling
- Some meats are gritty or overcooked