“Too few people understand a really good sandwich.” ~ James Beard
Chef and food writer James Beard knew a thing or two about what makes a good dish. While you may have thought it was Julia Child, it’s Beard who is credited for bringing French cuisine to America’s culinary landscape during the 1950′s. Since his death, his legacy and influence remain strong. The James Beard Awards are given to the industry’s finest chefs, restaurants, journalists, cookbook authors, and other players in the food industry. In a nutshell: he’s a big deal.
Sure, the French have contributed one or two things to the culinary scene, but in our opinion one of their biggest accomplishments is when they introduced the baguette to Vietnam. Why? Because the banh mi was born.
It may look like your typical sub, but au contraire mon ami, it is anything but. It’s a banh mi, and there’s nothing else like it. It’s the perfect marriage of East and West, the definition of what can go right when you fuse cuisines from two cultures. The softness of a French baguette hugs crunchy carrots, spicy cilantro, cool cucumber, and savory pork in a united embrace that clearly indicates a unity only describable in one word: fate. Leave it to the Vietnamese to take colonialism and make something uniquely theirs.
You don’t need to book airfare to Ho Chi Minh or Provence in order to enjoy both of these delicacies. You just need to hop on the bus and take it to Au Petit Cafe on Main Street. The name of this restaurant doesn’t lie; it’s small, so you may have to wait for a table or take your banh mi to go. However, when it comes to taste, there’s nothing petite about it. It’s gros, grande, large, big, giant, robust, monstrous, huge, colossal–okay you get it. It’s just really good.
We lied to you. There is actually one more thing that’s small about this cafe: the price. From meatballs to ham to chicken, there are five options for less than $5 bucks.
We think Mr. Beard would approve.
Au Petit Cafe
4851 Main Street,
Vancouver, BC V5V 3R9