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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 Brittany Tiplady

Just off of the Trans-Canada highway, nestled into the heart of Langley, is a little cafe with a big vision. The space is simple and humble: white accents and lofty ceilings with exquisite art adorning the walls. On a Friday afternoon The Water Shed Arts Cafe is buzzing with customers, “it’s a busy day!” I note to Jenn Cornish, chef owner and operator. “Oh, this is nothing!” she says. “It gets really busy here.”

 Water Shed Arts Café Langley
A quiet moment before opening hours | Image courtesy of the Water Shed Arts Café

The Water Shed Arts cafe may seem like a typical suburban haunt to the untrained eye, but that’s far from the truth. Cornish has created a safe haven; The Water Shed mandate is “to set the table for humanity where everyone is loved, welcomed, nourished and celebrated,” and that’s exactly what she does. The menu is generous, chock-full of locally sourced ingredients and hearty whole foods that cater to all tastes and dietary needs. There is a vegetarian focus, but the options are not restricted to only herbivores and gluten-free options are available upon request.

The aforementioned art on the Water Shed walls are all for sale, with new work and new artists rotating every few months. This concept drives back to Cornish’s mandate for inclusivity and community involvement. The space is also available for event rentals in the evenings, and Cornish generously offers customizable catering, private dining, open mic nights, and art show openings at Water Shed as well.

Water Shed Arts Café Langley
Image courtesy of the Water Shed Arts Café

I enjoyed lunch with Chef Cornish on that busy Friday afternoon-I devoured the grilled turkey and havarti sandwich (a hearty slice of turkey breast with artichoke spread, red peppers, spinach on cranberry bread) and bowl of the featured pumpkin soup (nourishing and savory), while she munched away on a gluten-free tofu burrito. We got deeper into the ethos behind Water Shed, her concept behind the food, and her inspiration for opening the bustling Langley bistro.

BT: Let’s talk more about your vision and mandate.

Jenn Cornish: We are a place that nourishes people in every possible way. And part of that is seeing people and knowing them, and knowing who they really are. This is a safe place, and a judgement free zone where people can connect and be themselves, and enjoy a place where they are able to connect with other people

Part of that is done with our visual arts display, as well as musicians that come and play here. But we also hold that mandate for every customer that comes through the door. Everyone has something that they offer to the world and we see that.

BT: What gave you the inspiration to open up a spot like this?

Jenn Cornish: My partner is a very creative and artistic person and that was a huge inspiration, and I am too – my palette is just food. I was in health care for over 15 years, so when I decided to get out of that field, I ended up falling into this opportunity of opening a cafe. I realized within the first few months that this cafe brings together every aspect of who I am.

BT: Is there a theme or concept for the food?

Jenn Cornish: There isn’t necessarily a theme, but everything is made with real, whole food, and completely from scratch. We want people to know exactly what is in their food, and that’s something that’s really important to me. I have an autoimmune disease, and how I’ve managed it is through food. So it’s important to me to offer food to people that they can trust.

BT: I know you offer catering services, and open up the space in the evenings for events. What else does Water Shed offer after hours?

Jenn Cornish: We do community feasts as well. So I pick a theme and make a meal, sometimes it’s family style, sometimes it’s plated, and we sell tickets for the night at different price points depending on the courses and the style. It’s a really fun long table feast.

BT: I love how balanced your menu to accommodate everyone.

Jenn Cornish: It’s really important to me to be mindful of being responsible when thinking about the world around us, and being aware of who we share the planet with. We have a lot of gluten-free options and vegan options, and if you look at our menu, it’s definitely veggie centric but we don’t exclude. We just try to make as little negative impact on the environment as possible. There’s been a lot of education, and we want to have a menu that is accessible to everyone, so no matter who you are and where you are in your diet spectrum, you can eat here.


The Water Shed Arts Cafe
#11 20349 88th Ave, Langley
Open Monday-Saturday

Visit to check out further information on events and catering.

By Kristi Alexandra

If there’s one thing to be known about Burnaby’s Mountain Heights area, it’s that the local eateries are deeply tied to a sense of community. Chez Meme, a resident favourite breakfast and lunch haunt, is no exception.

Isabelle and Ross Spence moved into the neighbourhood eight years ago, opening up the intimate seven-table bistro. The couple hoped to serve up comforting breakfasts and fresh lunches while still maintaining some leisure time in their lives.

Enter Chez Meme, the baguette bistro serving up breakfast, lunch, and a full wine menu from 8 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday.

“We used to own a creperie in downtown Vancouver, and we were open every day, so we had no life,” Isabelle tells WestCoastFood. “We just had two children, so we decided to sell [the creperie] and try to have a nice lifestyle. We wanted to still have a restaurant but to just do breakfast and lunch.”

The timing was just right, and the response from the neighbourhood has kept them busy ever since. But why breakfast and baguettes?

“We know how much people on the west coast love breakfast,” she says emphatically, “all day long.”

A Baguette Willy breakfast

As a born-and-raised West Coaster, I know she’s not wrong.

Isabelle serves and chats with all of the bistro’s customers, staying true the the haunt’s French roots by peppering her conversations with ouis, d’accords, and bon appetits.

The residents seem to love being regulars here, and Isabelle assures me that the feeling is mutual.

“Here, it’s laid back and has a community feeling. We have people who come back just to say hi because they live in the neighbourhood,” she says. “I’m from a small city in France, so for me, it was really nice to find that here.”

But it’s not just the comforting, European hospitality that keeps diners coming back. It is, without a doubt, the perfectly crusty but perfectly soft baguettes, handmade sides, and homey atmosphere that has Chez Meme always buzzing with patrons.

Kick off your breakfast with a Baguette Willy (an open baguette with scrambled eggs, black forest ham, and a bechamel cheese sauce) with homemade smashed potatoes, or a Pain Au Chocolat. Lunch timers can sit down with a classic cordon bleu or From’ton baguette, and a French onion or soupe du Jour to dip. The simple French fare and family-style service will make you feel like you’ve been whisked off to the simple life in the French countryside.

And it’s a feeling perfectly captured by Isabelle’s own childhood.

“My grandparents had a farm, and I named the restaurant after that: Chez Meme. ‘Meme’ is my grandma, and the idea was that every time my parents were like, ‘Let’s go Chez Meme,’ we knew we were going to have so much good food on the table. My grandma always cooked, and she’d make the chickens she had, and cook with vegetables from her own garden.”

It’s easy to understand why, when you walk into Chez Meme, you feel like you’re having lunch with family. With just a few tables and some spots lined up along the window, the little baguette bistro is not a place to be shy about grabbing a latte and a baguette by oneself – especially when the taste is so transcendent. The shop takes only one reservation every 45 minutes to an hour, so the tables are saved mostly for walk-ins.

“Because we make the baguette all day long, it’s always fresh,” Isabelle says, proudly. And there’s no reason not to take your lunch with libations.

“People come and when they do the brunch, they can come and have a mimosa or a wine with lunch. I mean, come on, we’re French!” she says with a laugh. “A little rose with your lunch is great. It makes you go home happy.”

And “happy” is absolutely the feeling you’ll have upon leaving this Mountain Heights cafe, with a belly full of baguette (and some wine, too).

Chez Meme Baguette Bistro
4016 Hastings Street
Burnaby, BC

By Winnie Tam

When Steveston Bakery opened in 1989, the road wasn’t yet paved and there were barely any other businesses nearby.

Today, Steveston is one of Richmond’s most beloved and bustling neighbourhoods, with lots to see and eat for locals and tourists alike. And while the surroundings of Steveston Bakery have changed dramatically, husband-and-wife owners Hemant and Bimla Rao’s commitment to quality in their food and baked goods hasn’t budged one bit. The lineups that appear daily in their bakery are the best proof.

Image courtesy of Steveston Bakery

The shop is the kind of friendly neighbourhood place that every town dreams of. Since moving from Fiji to Canada in the early 80s, the couple has established a regular fan base for their bakery; in fact, some patrons have been visiting nearly every day since it opened (yes, it’s open seven days a week). Hemant jokes that some people call his bakery Steveston’s “second community centre.”

All-day breakfast | Image courtesy of Steveston Bakery

It’s no wonder. Every day, Hemant and his bakers serve up a dizzying assortment of goodies, all made fresh in the bakery. There are different flavours of muffins and scones, turnovers, cookies, buns, bread loaves, cheesecakes, croissants, bagels and much more. Customers can also enjoy all-day breakfast and lunch, with daily specials for each, and a vegetarian and a meat-based soup option every day. Like their baked goods, the Raos buy their groceries fresh daily and make all the food and soups, including the soup stock, in-house from scratch.

One of customers’ favourites is the sourdough bread loaf. If you go there on a Saturday, you can get it for just 99 cents – the same price it was when Steveston Bakery opened 28 years ago.

Don’t be intimidated by the lineup – service is friendly and speedy and it’s definitely worth the short wait.

Opening hours: 7 am-6 pm Monday to Saturday; 8 am-5 pm Sundays and holidays.

Steveston Bakery
12231 No. 1 Rd
Richmond, BC

By Anna Black

Tucked just a few blocks from the New Westminster Skytrain station, you’ll find a cozy little Vietnamese eatery on Carnarvon Street called Banh Mi Bar.

Now in its second year of operation, the restaurant has become a popular choice with locals because of their affordably priced and freshly made traditional Vietnamese baguette subs and friendly customer service.  Owners Lily and Tung have been described on Yelp Canada as an “absolutely lovely pair of people” that are “nice and friendly” and always “deliver with a smile”. The restaurant has received numerous five star reviews and as a result was recently named one of the site’s Top 100 Restaurants for 2017.

The menu, although simple, offers a delicious choice for every sub lover complete with delicately flavored grilled meats, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and just a splash of sriracha, all served on crisp freshly toasted baguette. One of Banh Mi Bar’s best sellers is the House Special which features four different types of pork plus meatballs. Other options include meat balls, pork patty, vegan, cold cut, and chicken. Their iced Vietnamese coffees are also always a big hit.

The restaurant offers patrons some inside seating room but because of its location right in the heart of historic downtown New Westminster, it’s also the perfect stop for takeout on your way to New Westminster Quay, Queens Park, or for a stroll by the Fraser River.  While you’re there make sure to grab your stamp card to receive your eleventh sub for free.

Banh Mi Bar is open Monday – Friday from 10 AM – 6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM – 5 PM. They are closed on Sundays.

Banh Mi Bar
722 Carnarvon Street
New Westminster, BC

By Kristi Alexandra

Global grub can be found all over the Lower Mainland, but where do you go to find a bite of comfort food? A map of some of the best places to find a great sandwich (besides the corporate franchises) in the Royal City of historic New Westminster will put your mother’s brown bags to shame.

Big Star Sandwich Co.

1. Big Star Sandwich Co.

The most obvious haunt to hit when craving a huge hunk of sandwich is downtown New Westminster’s Big Star Sandwich Co. Offering up 27 different sandwiches — like the beef dip with demi-glace gravy or the turkey and stuffing — on a fresh baked filone, this Columbia Street spot pairs subs with vintage sodas that Pop Tate would be proud to serve.

Columbia Street Sandwich Co.

2. Columbia Street Sandwich Co.

Tucked into a narrow shop front along Columbia Street, you’d be forgiven for missing this gem if not for its sandwich board out on the sidewalk. This small shop can be revered for its mom & pop vibe (or, in this case, mom & mom) and incomparably comforting sandwiches. Try the turkey, bacon & avocado sandwich or go with a classic egg salad sandwich that recalls the most impressive high tea you’ve ever been to. With prices starting at $4.50, it’s practically robbery.

Holland Shopping Centre

3. Holland Shopping Centre

Among Dutch curios and groceries, the Holland Shopping Centre’s deli serves up handmade sandwiches on a bun by request. Dutch favourites include broodje kroket (a smashed croquette on a bun with mustard), broodje haring (raw herring on a bun with white onions) or a custom meat-and-cheese bun (blood sausage and edam, anyone?). Starting at $3.50, there’s no reason not to try out a bite while doing a Netherlands-inspired grocery shop.


4. Re-up BBQ

For a trip to the south via the Fraser River, Re-Up BBQ delivers that smoky, slow-roasted and calorie-rich fare. Known well for their order-and-eat pulled pork sandwiches or their take out BBQ kits complete with coleslaw, one giant bun you can’t miss is the spicy fried chicken sandwich. A few alligator-sized bites into this $9.75 serving,  you’ll be crying Uncle. Trust us.

Bahn Mi Bar

5. Bahn Mi Bar

BBQ chicken bahn mi with beef pho is a common staple at many Vietnamese restaurants, but Bahn Mi Bar flips the tradition on its head. Served up sub-style on French bread, Bahn Mi Bar offers up cold cuts, meatballs and even a vegan sub as an option, with sandwiches starting at just $4.50 (taxes included). Sweetening the deal, the shop even offers a stamp card (as if they could get any more affordable).

6. Greens & Beans Deli Café

For the lunch-timer crew (the shop has limited hours), Greens & Beans Deli Café opens for classic comfort food fare, including soups and sandwiches. Classics appear starting at $3.75, but specialty sandwiches such as the Turkey Elaine (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo on a Kaiser Bun) and the Autumn Bomb (turkey, tomato, lettuce, hot peppers, pickles, mayo & mustard on toasted flax) steal the show. On occasion, Greens & Beans has even welcomed Seinfeld’s “soup nazi” for an appearance or two.

Burger Heaven Restaurant

7. Burger Heaven Restaurant

Known best for their mile high burger and their political burger polls, it might be hard to imagine one would come here for a bite between two slices of toast — but oh, one does. While the sandwiches don’t run cheap, they do get piled high. The grilled Hawaiian Delight and toasted Heavenly Club give even the joint’s exotic meat burgers a run for their money.

Anny’s Dairy Bar

8. Anny’s Dairy Bar

While some French Canadians seem to prefer our West Coast weather, they still do enjoy the taste of their own grub. Poutine, steamies, and stuffed Montreal smoked meat sandwiches reign supreme at Anny’s Dairy Bar in Uptown New Westminster. Rye, corned beef, and a healthy helping of mustard tickle the taste buds. Top it off with some classic maple twist ice cream.

Coming Home Café

9. Coming Home Café

Shameless comfort food without the subtlety — could the name be any more indicative of what they’re all about? Loved most for their bistro-style brunch, Coming Home Café also offers up goods like the sumptuous havarti grilled cheese on two whole-grain slices.

Sandwich Map:

By Catherine Dunwoody

Scott Harper watched the movie Chef one night, and the next morning looked in the mirror and said “I don’t want to spend another minute of my life doing anything I don’t love to do.”  And added, “one day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”   

According to his wife Debbie, she laughs and says,  “Scott’s a dreamer, he built me a beautiful food truck… I’m the real Chef.”

Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill
Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill

The couple are a second­generation family born and raised in Coquitlam, with a strong pull to give back to the local community that supports them. Cheese Street Grill food truck is their baby, and they travel the food truck festival circuit, plus other events and markets throughout the Lower Mainland.

What do they serve? Handcrafted grilled cheese sandwiches, seasonal soups, all made with locally sourced, highest quality ingredients. And love. Their “mac ‘n cheesy” is a fan favourite, with 8 different gooey, melty cheeses with Granny Smith apple slices. The “spicy mama” (with Italian sausage and chipotle) and “big daddy” (with double-smoked bacon) sound intriguing too.

Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill
Image courtesy of Cheese Street Grill

Scott tells us the most satisfying about running their family business is, “people saying what a great job we are doing – and really meaning it! Most people only hear that when the boss is trying to keep them from quitting.”

Come hungry – this food truck doesn’t kid around.

Find out where the truck is now: