BaoQi Vietnamese Eateri

Vegan-friendly

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Tofu puffs: 3.5 out of 5
Price range: $
Times visited: 1
Location: 620 Davie Street, Vancouver
Hours: (winter hours) Sunday & Monday – closed; Tuesday to Friday – 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday – noon to 9:30 p.m.
Contact: 604-568-7980

Tofu Bahn Mi - BaoQi Vietnamese Eateri

Tofu Bahn Mi

The moment we walked into this place, we were in love.

BaoQi is an adorable little Vietnamese restaurant tucked away between several sushi joints on Davie Street between Granville and Seymour streets. It’s easy to overlook, and we have, in fact, walked by it on a few occasions without any notice. Even from the outside, it still doesn’t look very striking. But walk through the door and the cozy atmosphere will have you thinking you’d like to stay for quite a while.

While seeing the huge, beautiful goldfish in a floor tank just inside the doorway left us a bit unhappy, there was nothing else about the restaurant we didn’t like. Although it is a small space, there is a large booth with seating for eight and a long, beautiful wood table with wood stools that seats 12.  One of the most interesting aspects of the restaurant’s decor is a wall decorated with vintage frames and black and white photos of two striking Vietnamese women from the 1940s and 50s.  Other small touches, like a shabby chic bench and coat hooks, as well as the delicate glass cylinders on the tables holding sleek black chopsticks, give this place a charming character.

Vegan Cuon - BaoQi Vietnamese Eateri

Vegan Cuon Rolls

The menu boasts two delicious vegan options, a Tofu Bahn Mi (a Vietnamese sub sandwich) and Vegan Cuon Rolls (rice paper salad rolls). Now, before you think “Not all vegans like tofu”, this is not the kind of tofu you’re likely thinking of. The tofu in the bahn mi and the cuon rolls is a fried, minced, marinated bean curd that mingles with a mixture of juicy, crisp, and fresh ingredients. 

The lone server’s warm greeting endeared us to the place, and we were totally smitten when he brought us a deliciously fragrant cups of tea as we waited.  Less than 10 minutes later, with everything made fresh to order, he smilingly presented our carefully packaged food – all of it for less than $11.50, including taxes.  Wishing us well on our way out the door, we gleefuly exclaimed how excited we were about the food. He chuckled and smiled from ear-to-ear, wishing us well once more.

So, how was the food? Oh my goodness gracious! It was good. The bahn mi’s bread had the perfect crispness on the outside and pillowy softness inside. The filling was layered with lightly pickled daikon and carrot, fresh cucumber and cilantro, and spiked with a wee bit of jalapeno. The bahn mi was so good our toes curled with happiness. (Yes, our toes curled. Cats do it too when they’re happy.)  And the cuon rolls?  Just take a lookie-loo at that picture! More delicious, shredded tofu surrounding layers of crisp lettuce, more lightly pickled veggies, and vermicelli noodles with a not too sweet peanut dipping sauce. The final touch is the fresh basil leaf just inside the top of each roll.

It’s obvious that we’ll be back many, many times. As for the veganizable menu options, we’re not sure. But we’re definitely going to be investigating them tout de suite!

Advertisements

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gabrielle on March 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Ooooh! Awesome tip! Banh Mi is my favourite sammich in the world, and I am ALWAYS looking for one that rivals Saigon Sandwiches in SF. Do you have to specify no mayo or is it vegan as is?

    Reply

  2. I’m so glad to hear these are good! I heard about this place but I haven’t tried it yet. I’m definitely going to make an effort to get downtown for a Banh Mi.

    Reply

    • SaraJane: One of us is seasoned in bahn mi eating, the other is not. I am the not half, and I really enjoyed it, though my other half also really liked it. There could be better ones out there for sure, but since this is the only place in Vancouver that has them, I’ll take whatever I can get 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: