I had no idea that we have varieties of banh mi (also known as Vietnamese submarine) here in Calgary that are difficult to find elsewhere. It was not until I had a discussion with some Vancouver foodies recently that I discovered warm banh mi is almost unheard of in Vancouver, despite there being banh mi shops almost on every block in some neighbourhoods. It was then I realized what a hidden gem we have here in Calgary!
All these years, I took for it granted and thought the sate beef and sate chicken subs were common varieties of banh mi. They were the only varieties I always ordered ever since I moved to Calgary over 10 years ago. Shortly after moving to Calgary, I got introduced to Thi Thi and it became my go-to place for Vietnamese subs. I’ve tried other banh mi shops around Calgary over the years but always thought Thi Thi’s was still the best in Calgary. It never dawned on me that their subs rival that of other cities with much larger Vietnamese populations such as Vancouver. I had just always assumed other cities have their top banh mi shops as well.
The discussion I had with the Vancouver foodies piqued my curiosity and I started trying out banh mi from the well-known shops in the Vancouver area such as Au Petit Cafe, Tung Hing, and Kim Chau. In fact, recently when I visited Kim Chau in Vancouver I noticed that they sold sate beef subs. I was surprised as I’ve been told by some local foodies that sate beef subs didn’t exist in Vancouver. I was excited to give it a try to see how it compares to Thi Thi’s version as Thi Thi has been well talked about amongst Vancouver foodies. Unfortunately, Kim Chau’s version of the sate beef sub totally pales in comparison to Thi Thi’s.
What is unique about Thi Thi’s signature sate beef and sate chicken subs is that the meat and cheese are toasted along with the bread in the toaster, thus melting the cheese just enough so it blends better with the rest of the other flavours. After the meat, cheese, and bread have been toasted, the sub is topped with a variety of fresh vegetables such as thinly sliced onion, cucumbers, pickled carrots, mayo, hot sauce, chili peppers, and cilantro.
Between the sate beef and the sate chicken, I personally prefer the sate chicken more at Thi Thi’s. Even without the chili peppers, the sate sauce that Thi Thi uses gives the sub the perfect amount of spiciness. The sate chicken meat is tender and flavourful. All the ingredients just work together in perfect harmony for every bite.
Thi Thi Vietnamese Submarine
209 1st St SE