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By Tourism Richmond

The charming elegance of the interiors of Richmond’s Bánh Mì Très Bon (1840-4720 McClelland Road) makes any diner feel like they have been transported to a Parisian café. In the display case are a variety of brightly coloured macarons and an assortment of small cakes. If they turn to the menu on the wall, though, they’ll see classic Vietnamese dishes, like pho, bánh mì, and bánh bot loc (shrimp and pork tapioca dumplings).

Bánh Mì Très Bon, RichmondThis combination of Vietnamese cuisine and French pâtisserie items represents chef/owner Lan Do’s cultural and culinary influences, as well as the colonial history of Vietnam itself. Do, who is of Chinese descent, was born in Vietnam into a family with a passion for food and the restaurant industry. “I’ve had a love of food since childhood because my mom and dad are pretty adventurous eaters. I was never afraid to try anything,” she explains. Her grandparents on her father’s side ran a Chinese bao business while the food she ate at home melded both Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. As a child venturing out to eat with her father, she sampled French dishes like pâté and baguettes with rich butter.

Lan and her family moved to Richmond in 1980 when she was eight years old, but she never forgot her Vietnamese roots, even as she built a successful marketing and business consultancy business in the high tech industry. It was always her dream to open a Vietnamese restaurant, a dream that she finally set in motion when her son and daughter were grown up.In 2016, after quitting her job, Do embarked on a three-month trip to Vietnam during which she thoroughly researched and sampled its cuisine. “I went from the south to the north of Vietnam. I really went into the rural areas and tasted the food there. I think that’s where the food is still intact since the recipes are still the same,” she says. In Hoi An, she discovered the most amazing bánh mì at places like Madam Khanh, The Bánh Mì Queen. She also met the fourth-generation baker of the baguettes sourced by many bánh mì shops in the city.

In addition, Do was so intent on honing her Vietnamese cooking that she trained at The Saigon Professional Chefs’ Guild (World Association of Chefs’ Societies) in Ho Chi Minh City, tirelessly working with three of the country’s top chefs in private lessons that ran from 7am to 6pm, 6 days a week. With their mentorship, she refined the recipe for her pho, as well as learned certain secrets, like how to make the crispiest spring rolls by coating them in a starchy flour before deep frying them.

She returned to open Bánh Mì Très Bon with her husband Doanh Do in a new retail complex in Richmond. For her, the location for her new restaurant was a given. “It had to be in Richmond. I grew up in Richmond. It’s my hometown. I want to contribute as much as I can to the community where I grew up,” she insists. She also saw an opportunity in a dining landscape that lacked an establishment that specialized in bánh mì.

Her concept was culturally two-pronged and unique in a marketplace that usually associates Vietnamese cuisine with non-descript pho joints. “The concept is simple. I wanted to introduce Vietnamese cuisine and incorporate French flair,” says Do. The French elements can be seen in the pastries and desserts, the aesthetics of the room, as well as the plating of the Vietnamese dishes.

In terms of the ingredients, Do aimed to differentiate Bánh Mì Très Bon by sourcing as local, sustainable, and organic as possible. For example, her meat comes from a farm in Chilliwack who delivers the freshest of product to her. This exacting sourcing drives up her costs but Do wants to serve only nutritious food that she would feed her own family.

Besides the French pastries and Vietnamese ham, all components of the restaurant’s dishes are made in-house, including the baguettes that are baked daily. When Do was designing her bánh mì selections, she focused on highlighting basic high quality ingredients, such as in a veggie version with grilled tofu, Portobello mushrooms, and eggplant, and in their popular breakfast sandwich with two fried eggs.

The restaurant’s pho is another labour of love, which involves simmering beef bones for twelve to fifteen hours, allowing the natural flavours to deepen and infuse the broth. Instead of using MSG as a flavour shortcut, Do relies on a balanced use of spices and other ingredients, such as onion, ginger, shallots, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom. While other cooks will incorporate dried tangerine peel and black peppercorns, Do feels they overpower the subtle notes of the broth. The menu is fairly small in order to ensure the consistent quality of every dish served, such as grilled lemongrass chicken on rice with egg, or butter garlic chicken wings. However, Do, both at home and at the restaurant, is constantly engaged in research and development, fine tuning new recipes, which are labour-intensive and offered as specials to her customers. Recent creations were a northern Vietnamese soup with duck, bamboo shoots, and vermicelli, as well as a turmeric seafood noodle soup, which hails from central Vietnam.

Many of these are local street food dishes that no one else in the Lower Mainland is currently serving. “It’s so exciting to bring them out one at a time,” says Do. And judging by the contented faces of those around her enjoying bowls of noodle soups and bites of freshly made bánh mì, her customers share in Do’s enthusiasm.

Check out this recipe from Bánh Mì Très Bon for Tiger Prawn Pomelo Salad.

Bánh Mì Très Bon
1840-4720 McClelland Road

By Tourism Richmond

End August with a joyous and delicious bang during the fourth annual Richmond World Festival. Last year’s two-day festival attracted over 40,000 people (per day!), and this year promises to be bigger and better. The highly-anticipated event takes place August 31 (4pm to 10pm) and September 1, 2018 (11am to 10pm), at Minoru Park in Richmond, and offers an abundance of top-notch entertainment, family-friendly activities, and exciting international eating opportunities.Richmond World Festival

The two-day festival, headlined by Canadian music stars Lights and Magic!, celebrates the diversity of Richmond through globally-themed programming, pavilions, and displays. Attendees can look forward to an artisan market selling unique cultural crafts, as well as a Global Village area with an Indigenous dance workshop, a roster of other cultural performances, and fun “how to” craft workshops (e.g. Japanese bookbinding). Meanwhile, the Bamboo Theatre will wow audiences with Chinese opera displays and demos, while the Africa Zone will feature vibrant artists and vendors. And, those who get hot can find a cool escape at the Antarctica Zone in Minoru Arena.

Younger attendees will love Kids World, with face painting and zany balloon making, while adults will be engaged by the media art displays that are part of “Your Digital Carnival.” Words will also play a prominent role in the festival with readings at the World of Poetry, and the Imagination Stage at the Richmond Public Library. Plus, performers, such as Desi Sub Culture, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, and Kimmortal, will be appearing on the Main and Minoru Stages to get the crowds energized and dancing.Richmond World Festival

With all this activity, attendees are bound to work up an appetite for global eats. A particular highlight is the event’s food program that really showcases the impressive cultural breadth of Richmond’s culinary landscape. The eating begins with the FEASTival of Flavours, a bringing together of over fifty local food trucks promising to be a huge and delicious draw. The festival within the larger festival offers a list of food that is mouth-watering and spans the globe, from Belgium waffles (Beljam’s Waffles) to west coast sockeye salmon burgers (Wheelhouse Seafoods).

Some trucks to look out for are It’s All About Grill, a Richmond Night Market favourite, with their barbecued meat skewers, like juicy lamb shoulder and garlic chicken; Jamaican Mi Juicy with their spicy Jamaican jerk chicken caesar wraps and refreshing tropical smoothies; and Kampong, a family-run business that lovingly prepares Malaysian dishes (eg chicken satays and chicken curry) like their grandmother used to make them. Other food trucks reflect a melding of culinary traditions, such as El Cartel with their Korean/Latin American/Tex-Mex menu that features bulgogi short rib tacos and bulgogi short rib fries, and, of course, the ever popular Japadog, with their Eastern spins on a North American classic. Quintessential comfort food can be found at trucks like Reel Mac and Cheese, Russet Shack, and Wings.Richmond World Festival

The copious eating can be washed down with refreshing drinks from food vendors like Benny’s Tea, Lenny’s Lemonade, and Juicy Green Express (bubble tea). Sweets from trucks like Cannoli King and Slavic Rolls will be the perfect finish to the delectable gorging. FEASTival will be a multicultural chowing down zone, with other food trucks in attendance including the Original Hurricane Potato, Sajetarian (Middle Eastern), Brazilian Roots, and Mr. Bannock.

Once guests are done at FEASTival, they can wander (or waddle) to the Culinary Stage, presented by Tourism Richmond, where top local chefs will be demonstrating their craft. Chefs with Richmond connections include Betty Hung (August 31, 6:45pm-7:15pm), a resident of the city, soon-to-be cookbook author (French Pastry 101), and co-owner of Beaucoup Bakery, where she began as an intern before ascending to head pastry chef. She bought the business with her brother Jacky Hung from Jackie Kai Ellis in 2017.Richmond World Festival

The dynamic duo Dominique and Cindy Duby (September 1, 5:45pm-6:25pm) from Richmond’s Wild Sweets will also be taking to the stage, demonstrating the extraordinary talent and science behind their chocolate and confection making. This couple is not to be missed, as they are masters at what they do, winning numerous accolades, including being ranked as one of the “25 Best Chocolatiers in the World.”

Richmond’s Banh Mi Tres Bon has generated substantial buzz for their innovative and high quality renditions of Vietnamese culinary staples. Chef and owner Lan Do (August 31, 5:30pm-6:10pm), will be demonstrating her knowledge regarding the technique, ingredients, and evolution of Vietnamese cuisine.Richmond World Festival

Chef Mike Manlulu (September 1, 4:45pm-5:25pm) from Steveston’s Britannia Brewing Co. will be talking about and showing attendees how to create west coast dishes that incorporates local produce and seafood. He’ll be part of a roster of well-known chefs presenting that includes Mark Singson, runner-up on Top Chef Season 6, Gurj Dhaliwal winner of the 2007 Superstar Chef Challenge on Food Network Canada, and Drew Munro from Drew’s Catering & Events.

These culinary demos, along with the other programming, promise to make 2018’s Richmond World Festival a massive hit. For two jam-packed days, Minoru Park will be the site of plenty of good eating, cultural sharing, and star-studded musical performances. In short, Richmond offers the ultimate global staycation for the upcoming long weekend!

By Sheliza Mitha

When you consider that Korean-Canadians are one of Coquitlam’s largest visible minorities, it should come as little surprise that a section of this city has unofficially become known as “Koreatown” – specifically the corner of North Road and Lougheed Highway.

Chances are, you’ll know you’ve arrived in the right place when you hit the colourful English- and Korean-language shop and restaurant signs.

Once here, kick off your culinary adventure with a visit to the Hanahreum Mart (known as H-Mart by locals), home to a dazzling array of Korean delicacies (think marinated meats, salty snacks, sweet treats, luscious breads, pastries and more.) The kimchi corner is particularly worth a visit. Korea’s national dish is well represented here with a seemingly-endless variety of this spicy pickled vegetable: cabbage, green bean, radish, daikon, scallion, eggplant, cucumber. If you’re feeling peckish, pick up lunch or a snack from the store’s hot food section. Try some kimbap – a Korean specialty of seaweed and rice wrapped around ham (or some other kind of meat) and pickled radish – or enjoy a tea (or coffee) with a Korean pastry.


After whetting your appetite, venture through the heart of Koreatown for more exceptional foods and flavours. If you’re interested in upscale dining, try Insadong Korean BBQ – where an array of marinated meats and seafood, along with exotic side dishes and sauces, are brought to your BBQ table (a table with a small grill at the centre), so you can cook your meat to perfection. Other savoury and delicious options in the area include Kimbap Cheonguk, Wonjo BBQ & Noodle Restaurant, Seok Gi Si Dae BBQ, Bukjang Korean Restaurant, Hee Lae Deung and Moa Box – among many others.

With nearly a dozen restaurants spanning this section of North Road and just beyond, choosing an authentic lunch or dinner spot is surprisingly easy… and tasty.

H-Mart Coquitlam
#100 – 329 North Rd, Coquitlam

Insadong Korean BBQ
403 North Rd, Coquitlam

Kimbap Cheonguk
341 North Rd, Coquitlam

Wonjo BBQ & Noodle Restaurant
508 Clarke Rd, Coquitlam

Seok Gi Si Dae BBQ
602 Clarke Rd, Coquitlam

Bukjang Korean Restaurant
341 North Road, Coquitlam

Hee Lae Deung
435 North Rd, Coquitlam

Moa Box
2973 Glen Dr, Coquitlam