Road Trip to Richmond and Vancouver, BC + Banh Mi Thi Thi: Calgary, Alberta

Happy (late) Easter!

I haven’t updated this blog for awhile due to travelling to Chicago for work and then catching up on work since we were gone for work….it’s a never ending cycle.  Anyhow,  this past Easter long weekend we decided to take the mountainous drive from Calgary to Vancouver.  Ah, nothing like road trip to excite you for the upcoming long weekend right?  Well, it was a beautiful drive through the Rockies but it’s also a long one, about 12 hours.

The drive through the Rocky Mountains from Calgary to Vancouver as beautiful as it is, can be quite nerve wrecking to drive.  Since some of the roads are one lane each way with the occasion passing lane which are hard to notice especially if you’re driving at night.  Our suggestions (like many of our friends have suggested) is to drive in the day and don’t risk driving at night.  Especially the drive between Banff, Alberta and Golden, BC where a lot of the roads are one lanes and are on the sides of the mountains-  for those who are scared of heights your legs might feel a little weak in the car (mine did for a short time, but it was all good… ).  Oh, and during that particular drive the weather can change instantly… which did happen on our way there.

What we ended up doing was taking off from Calgary at around 2:00 pm and got to Kamloops, BC at around 11:oopm.  Generally, it wouldn’t take this long but we did hit some rain, then snow, then rain plus snow, with a mix of semi-trucks and folks who think they’re car drivers,  which caused us to take the “slow and steady” mentality to reaching Kamloops.  From there we took Route 5 (Yellowhead) to Vancouver instead of Highway No.1 (for all you travellers who haven’t taken the route-  Route 5 from Kamloops is much easier (2 lanes each way, pretty, and shorter distance to get to Vancouver).

For the food lovers out there, you may ask “What snacks did you pack?” and my answer to you is this …..

From Banh Mi Thi Thi: Rib Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sub)

My choice as the ultimate road trip food to pack is… the Banh Mi.

Bánh mì or bánh mỳ (English pronunciation: /ˈbʌn ˌmiː/, Vietnamese pronunciation: [ɓǎɲ mî]) is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread. Bread, or more specifically the baguette, was introduced by the French during its colonial period. The bread most commonly found in Vietnam is single serve and resembles a torpedo, therefore the term bánh mì is synonymous with this type of bread. The bánh mì is usually more airy than its western counterpart, so as a result, has a thinner crust……The sandwich is a product of French colonialism in Indochina, combining ingredients from the French (baguettes, pâté and mayonnaise) with native Vietnamese ingredients like cilantro (coriander leaves), hot peppers, and pickled carrots.”  -As per Wikipedia.  

My personal choice of Banh Mi in Calgary is from Banh Mi Thi Thi (aka. Thi Thi Vietnamese Submarine) located in Chinatown on 1st Street S.E. and 2nd Avenue.   All they do is Banh Mi so you know that they must do it well.  For this trip I ordered 2 Assorted (kinda like a cold cut sub but with Vietnamese style hams and head cheese) and their Rib.  Out of the two the Rib was eaten finished first. It’s not at all spicy,  there’s very subtle heat to it and it’s very tender with great savoury sweet seasoning.  The Assorted sub is a classic you can’t go wrong with either,  it’s not at all spicy and meat is well… Vietnamese style sandwich meat.  Heck, it’s still better than honey ham from grocery store right?  It’s not overly salty,  kinda sweet, a bit of black/white pepper and fish sauce makes up for the flavour.   Last but not least, both subs were garnished with the standard pickled carrots, onions, cilantro,  mayo and a drizzle of their special sauce which I have no idea what’s in it but it’s the bottle with the dark liquid but I know it’s good stuff.  The bread was soft on the inside and had a crunchy crust that anyone would love,  OH and we had them toasted.  :)
There is reason why we picked Banh Mi instead of home made egg sandwiches, a bucket of fried chicken, or sushi from T&T and they are:
1)  They are packed full of flavour- sweet, salty, sour (from picked carrots), and buttery (from the mayo…).
2)  They don’t get soggy….
3)  They’re in singular hand held size (you eat with just the one hand).
4)  They’re so good, guaranteed you’ll finish the whole thing (no waste…..)
If you do decide to go with Banh Mi for your road try my suggestion to you is not to get anything thats too spicy.  The last thing you want to do is cause a fire in your mouth while you’re in a moving vehicle frantically searching for water AND for those who have stomach and digestion issues, aim not get heart burn when you’re in a moving vehicle or worst yet, need to go to the washroom when you’re on the side of the mountain with no bathroom facility in sight.
….So the road trip to the city of great Vancouver and Richmond begins from here folks.  I’ll be posting our 2.5 day stay in Richmond and Vancouver and hopefully be able to give you some tips here and there.

Thi Thi Vietnamese Submarine on Urbanspoon

** Banh Mi Thi Thi takes cash only **

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