Tiem Banh Dong Khanh (a.k.a. Tung Hing Bakery) on Kingsway, Vancouver


Maybe there are other bakeries that has equally good Banh Mi.

For me, I had only wanted Banh Mi from two places in town. It is either from Ba Le (on Kingsway not the one in Chinatown) or from Tung Hing. No, I am not a Banh Mi snob but it is just that I do not know of any other place who serves better Banh Mi.

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Tung Hing is located on Kingsway near the intersection with Inverness. It is also located just a block away from Ba Le. So every time when I wanted to get a Banh Mi I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted to go to. I find that I go to Ba Le more than Tung Hing but really both are equally good.

The name Tung Hing Bakery is an easier name to remember than Tiem Banh Dong Khanh for sure. Does anyone know why Tung Hing has two names? Or even what the Vietnamese name mean?

Anyway, Tung Hing is a smallish operation famous for its Banh Mi and also pastries. Unlike Ba Le which has a few tables, Tung Hing doesn’t have one … or at least I can’t recall they had any. Sometimes at work when I need to get away for sometime on my own to decompress, I would take a long drive to Ba Le, grab a newspaper and just enjoy a Banh Mi with a cup of ice cold Vietnamese coffee (with condensed milk!). That works all the time and I enjoy it.

With Tung Hing, it is always to-go for me.

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I am a noob when it comes to Banh Mi. And I am curious by nature. When I see all the ingredients all laid out there, I wanted to know what everything is.

But good luck trying to find out. They are machines behind the counter. I mean, they are pretty machines too but they are not programmed to smile … or to answer idiotic questions. I even had to stand aside and stare at the menu — and try to figure out for myself what I wanted. I don’t know why but serious and pretty girls scares me a lot. LOL!

Yeah, they work very fast. It helps if you know what you want. Maybe that is one reason why I like Ba Le a little better than Tung Hing.

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To me, a great Banh Mi is all about the baguette. Baguette has a short shelf life. It is best when just out from the oven. After four hours, they are really not as good and you can tell the difference. That is why I don’t even want to touch Banh Mi from places like T&T and such.

What makes Tung Hing and Ba Le stands apart from other places where you could grab such a sandwich is that they … bake these foot long baguettes in house. Every time I was there they always have freshly made ones. I love it when they pour a freshly made tray of baguettes into the basket at the counter. When I see that, I would tell them I want the ones just out.

Tung Hing’s baguettes are light and airy with a nice crust.

Oh yeah, the other reason I prefer Ba Le over Tung Hing is that Ba Le has a much much newer and bigger oven. Go see both and you will know what I mean.

The Banh Mi has its roots from the days when Vietnam was a French colony. Here is what one writer says:

“Before 1954, when the French pulled out, we called them French sandwiches,” says caterer Germaine Swanson, 72, a Hanoi native who from 1978 to 1998 operated the beloved Germaine’s restaurant in Glover Park. “But only rich people could afford French bread spread with imported butter, pate and ham. After the French left we started to add Asian ingredients to it, spices and herbs like cilantro, to make it taste better.” To replace the costly imported cornichons, the Vietnamese created the radish and carrot pickle.

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The ingredients are fresh and tasty. You just can’t beat the combination of thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon, long sliver of cucumber and cilantro. That, to me, is the other characteristic of a great Banh Mi.

It is also cheap too. It is like $3 only. Being a light lunch eater, this is the perfect size for me.

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Really, that is about it. The Banh Mi is more about the texture of the baguette and the freshness of the vegetables.

The meat of various kind and the pate is not really that important to me although I gravitate towards grilled pork like 90% of the time.

As good as the Banh Mi in both of my favourite places, it seriously pales compared with how they make this in Vietnam. Oh my god … look at the fried egg … and the frying oil too! That is BANH MI, spelt in all caps.

I was wondering if anyone makes Banh Mi like those in Metro Vancouver. If there is, I am going tomorrow.

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Tung Hing also makes pastries. They looked more Chinese style pastries than Vietnamese. I am saying this because my image of a Vietnamese pastry is that they are more colorful.

Suanne loves their pastries. She said that they are much cheaper in Tung Hing compared to places like New Town or T&T.

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So, every now and then I would drop by Tung Hing and pick up some pastries on the way back from home.

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Suanne’s favourite is the durian cream bun which has a bit of shredded coconut in it. It is lovely and is the only place we know that has such buns.

Tung Hing Bakery 同慶餅家 on Urbanspoon

55 thoughts on “Tiem Banh Dong Khanh (a.k.a. Tung Hing Bakery) on Kingsway, Vancouver

  1. Pingback: Waves Coffee in Metrotown, Burnaby |
  2. Hi Ben,
    I think BaLe is the best value-for-money sub place in Vancouver. However, quality-wise (n presentation-wise as well) I would have to say Au Petit (on Main n 33rd). For something in between, I go to Dong Khanh. Now, if you want the real deal, make a trip to Vietnam and see for yourself hehee. We have a banh mi (and coffee, too ofcoz) culture down there, Im telling ya =)

  3. #71 and the first four courses of #74 are great in rice wrappers. The two together serve 4-6 people depending how hungry/greedy they are :-). Either way, good food and value!

  4. I stand corrected; according to my husband, they pre-fry the eggs and heat them up in the microwave. I am sure they would be better fresh, but they are still very good. They sometimes run out of eggs (oddly, they are only 100 feet from T&T), so don’t get there too late.

    • Hi Corinne: Thanks for checking! I was about to just go sometime this week and check it out too. I went to Kim Chau (again!) today to get some sandwiches for the people in the office and I was telling Kim Chau that there is a place in Surrey that has fried eggs banh mi — made fresh! She was skeptical about that but I thought I see a “Hmmm-I-better-check-this-out” look in her face. 🙂 She told me that after my first visit, she went to youtube to check i out the AB’s No Reservation episode on Vietnam. Let’s all pile on the pressure on Kim Chau, shall we? Get them to make banh mi the way they make it in Vietnam. Foodies unite!! Ben

      • Ben, you can count me in. Next time I drop by Kim Chau will definitely ask for fried egg in my banh mi. I went there last Saturday and bought 4 banh mi. They are absolutely delicious. I think the secret is the soya sauce like sauce they put in there. Its a little sweet and savory. Is it Maggi sauce? I’m not sure.

        BTW, do you guys notice that recently the jalapenos they put in banh mis lack any heat. It tastes like green pepper. Not hot at all.

      • Hi Crispy Lechon: This is spooky. I went today and also bought FOUR baguettes. I also noticed the sauce from the Maggi like bottle but I also did not ask. And I asked for double jalapeno and I did not taste any spiciness in it. It was spicy the last time but not this time. Well, all my office mates gave the thumbs up for the banh mi and they are bugging me to tell them where I got them from. I refuse to tell them saying it is my little secret. Want to keep them in suspense a bit longer. Anyway, they are just mere mortals, not uber foodies like us. I think they will like all banh mi. I think they will be walking past subway in disdain going forward. He he he … ignore me. I jest. Ben

      • Hi Ben, #71 is grilled marinated slices of beef and #74 is their famous beef 7 ways. #71 will be good in rice wrap. At $24 dollars, I think #71 is also good for 3 to 4 people. If you add #74 which is also good for 3 to 4 people, we will have enough food to feed up to 8 people, I think. And there are only 4 of us going so far. So we need your stomach Ben. LOL.

  5. Ben, if you are in the Surrey Guilford area, the food fair in the T & T mall has a Vietnamese sandwich vendor. They are the only one that I know of in the Lower Mainland that do an egg bahn mi, and it is worth the trip to try it. The stall used to be part of the Ba Le chain but about two years ago, it changed hands, and they aren’t part of it anymore. The quality did go down; quite a bit at first, but it has improved over time. They also carry all the typical deli items as well.

  6. LOL. We must’ve got the same girl. She asked if we ever had one of their Banh Mi’s and insisted they had the best and we’d keep coming back. We were there to browse after dim sum so never went back to order the famous number 1. Guess now I’ll have to go back and see if I can get the sandwich and start pressuring them for the egg on top. Maybe if enough chowtimes readers ask….maybe one day they’ll do it. 🙂

  7. Actually seafood can also raise your uric acid. So greyelf, if we sit on the table this coming Sunday, I can make some sacrifices and eat your share of the scallop and crabs. 🙂

    • I was kidding, but I shouldn’t. I actually know someone who suffers from gout — no fun.

      Okay LR, low ash??

      I appreciate the offer, Crispy, but I can’t make it on Sunday, family stuff.

  8. PS I know you rarely get back to a place more than once but #71 on the Song Huong menu, the grilled marinated slices of beef, is excellent as well. You get a big ol’ platter of thinly sliced raw beef that you grill yourself and roll up, similar to the first course of bo 7 mon but marinated and of course grilled. I like to get #71 and #74 together when I go with a group of 4 to 6. Beef fest, mmmm.

      • You know, I was thinking of rescheduling the Song Huong one next Thursday anyway (I am going to Pinpin on Friday for an all pork dinner and I’m pretty sure I’m getting gout from all this rich food). Maybe we should move it to September and then you and Suanne might be able to come to try #71…

      • So we are getting #71 and #74, right? Yum! It will be a beef feast. Can’t wait to try it. It’s a bit of a drive from Richmond but its well worth it I’m sure.

  9. Dear Ben,
    The subs that you saw on Anthony Bourdain’s show are from Central Vietnam. You can tell from the shape of the baguettes- they tend to be narrower and have pointy ends. Plus, if you pay attention, you can see they use a different kinds of herb, too. They usually add ‘Rau ram”- a pepery herb that’s very popular in Vietnam beside cilantro and green onions ofcourse. Also, the meat gravy that they put in the subs is something you can only find in provinces in the Central Vietnam.
    About the runny eggs, that’s a lovely touch but in everdyay we don’t usually have such a crazy assortment as Mr. Bourdain does here. His version is indeed the Supreme- the sub of all subs. I never attempted to try such a filling breakfast. If anything, it would just be the fried eggs put nicely in the baguette with a dash of soy sauce =)

    • Hi Kiki: Tell me more, tell me more. You seems to know a lot about Banh Mi. There are a lot of food geeks lurking on this blog and they are very hungry for these sort of info. LOL! So, you got a “recco” (TM Gayelf) of a great Banh Mi place? Ben

  10. Okay, so I stopped by Kim Chau on the way to dinner tonight. When I walked in I realized this is the place fmed had been telling us about on Chowhound last year that has loads of frozen meat products and other gear to make your own tasty Vietnamese snacks (bo la lot et al). Will definitely be returning soon to stock up.

    Tonight I picked up a number two (marinated pork). The lovely and informed server told me that the number 1 is indeed their most popular and a good starting point. I politely declined, not being a liver pate kinda gal. We chatted as she prepared my banh mi from a spotless and fully appointed array of meats, veg and condiments (despite the fact that they were closing at 7 pm, a mere 15 minutes hence).

    She told me that Kim Chau provides the meat for many of the Vietnamese restaurants in town including Golden Garden. She also advised that KC gets their baguettes from Empress, which is where the Ba Le on Kingsway used to get them before the Amazing French Oven arrived.

    I also nabbed a tub of pickles and two Vietnamese flan. Then we drove a few blocks to meet our dinner companions and share the banh mi (the server at KC kindly cut it into small pieces for me). All pronounced it very tasty. I will be back soon.

    • Yes – I get frozen pre-marinated meats, springrolls, etc at Kim Chau (and at Thu Hien across the street). As a little aside, the proprietor of Chau restaurant on Robson St is the daughter of the owners of Kim Chau. If Kim Chau had good bread, it would make my top list too. But alas, their bread (Empress) is often dry and stale tasting. I’ve found that it is a bit of a crapshoot there. (I still prefer Tung Hing and Ba Le.)

      • Hi Fmed:

        Ah … so Kim Chau and Chau are related huh? I remember Chau as overly expensive when I visited them last year:
        https://chowtimes.com/2009/04/02/chau-kitchen-and-bar-on-robson-vancouver/

        I mean, I am still clamouring for a more upscale/fine dining Vietnamese restaurant in Vancouver but Chau serves unexciting food. It was just same food with better plating, nicer ambiance, serves wine at a higher price. So yeah … my impression wasn’t that good. Not when spring rolls were $11 no matter how good it is.

        Ben

    • Love you dedicated in the search for good food, grayelf! Glad you like it. I am thinking that since you got it so late in the day, the baguette is might not be as fresh. If you do go back again, time your visit with the delivery. And I can half sense that you will pick up the phone today and ask them for their delivery times. LOL! BTW, where is Empress? I never heard of them but since they make the baguettes for KC, it’s another piece of info good to know of. Ben

  11. Oh oh, we are going to Aree tonight for dinner at 7, which is awfully close to Kim Chau — I wonder how late they stay open? Jojo, you in?

    I used to get the pickled daikon stuff from Ba Le before they renovated but I can’t remember if they still sell it. It’s pretty good in other kinds of sandwiches besides banh mi :-).

    I’m waiting for the day when Song Huong starts selling their dipping sauce in bulk. I plan to set up an IV drip immediately!

    • Hi Grayelf: What is this thing about Song Huong’s dipping sauce you are talking about? I must find out more about it especially when it is so good you want to inject it direct into your veins. LOL! Is that fish sauce or what? Ben

      • fmed actually sussed out the ingredients so he’d be a better person to answer but suffice to say that the key one is… pineapple! This dipping sauce is much thicker and richer than the usual nuoc cham as well.

        I take it you haven’t tried Song Huong yet, Ben. We have a Chowdown planned there for next Thursday if you want to join…

      • I thought you had tried the 7 courses there but I was too lazy to do a search to confirm :-). Then you have tried the dipping sauce because it is what they serve with the first course. I just put it on everything!

        I’d love to try the Thai Hang bo 7 mon, though I’ve read reports of it being more like a five-course, with two missing (sadly the bo luc lac for example, an outstanding version of which I am still hunting for here). If you need auxiliary tummies when you go, please advise…

      • Bo 7 Mon at Thai Hang definitely worthy (even if it is only Bo 6 Mon) — Song Huong is closed till the end of August…

  12. It was banh mi day in Vancouver :-). I had the “chicken seasoning” one from Golden Garden in C’town this afty. But I still want to hop in the car and go to Kim Chau RIGHT NOW to try theirs.

    • Grayelf, Kim Chau sells the julienned pickled carrots/daikon by the box, IIRC $3/small, $5 for large. And jars of the dipping sauce (nuoc cham) too.

  13. I love the subs here! Especially the lemongrass chicken. But when it’s super busy they tend to skimp out on the ingredients ><
    I'm not really a huge fan of the other products they sell though… I've gotten a few stale-tasting baked goods and generally speaking I think other bakeries are better at baking Chinese buns and making cakes

  14. It was Tung Hing all the way for me till Ba Le started baking their own bread on site. Ba Le also gets the edge for having uber friendly and helpful servers and air conditioning. You can really melt in a long line up at Tung Hing. I also love the flan from Ba Le, really excellent. And I’ve only had bad luck with the pastries at Tung Hing unfortunately — too greasy for me.

  15. Although, Tung Hing uses a longer baguette, Ba Le gives you more meat in their special banh mi. Like fmed I like both of them.

    I usually buy the cassava cake and the banana fritters from Tung Hing. Their Vietnamese version of cassava cake is almost the same as the Pinoy version without the topping. Besides at 80 cents a piece its certainly cheaper than Goldilocks’ (Pinoy bakery) varsion.

  16. “Tiem Banh” means bakery. “Tung Hing” is the romanized Chinese version of “Đồng Khánh” (who was an Emperor in Vietnam).

    I haven’t found better places to get banh mi than Tung Hing or Ba Le (Kingsway) here in town. (I do like to go to Tung Hing because I can get a sandwich and some dessert!)

    • Hey fmed: You probably know I am not much of a dessert person but am curious, what is your fav kind of dessert? I’ve never considered desserts at Ba Le/Tung Hing but I know Suanne would love to them. Ben

      • They have a crazy good butter bun at Tung Hing – it is like a coconut bun, but with a sweet sugar-butter filling inside. Their Chinese desserts like pineapple bun etc are also pretty good.

      • I get the deluxe hot dog bun for my son, he loves it.

        As to their sweet goods, they don’t come across as being of equal quality when compared to other popular Chinese bakeries (Pine House, Maxim’s, Anna’s, Amy’s). But the savoury stuff is alright. Since my commute is along Kingsway, I often (too often) get my brekkie at Tung Hing …. nothing like warm, fresh-out-of-oven BBQ pork buns 😀

  17. Have you ever had banh mi from kim chau? I think it is just up the street and I prefer their banh mis over ba le, because their bread is a longer baguette and they put a fair amount of meat and vegetables in their sandwiches.

    I’ve never been to the tung hing bakeries in Vancouver, but there are a few in Toronto too. The durien bun looks delish, I must try it!

    • Hi Lucy: OMG! After reading about Kim Chau’s Banh Mi yesterday, I decided to go get one for lunch today. It is amazing! You are right, Kim Chau is just about 100-200m from Tung Hing. I walked in and was greeted by a really friendly and helpful girl. As usual, I asked for the marinated Pork version. She was so persuasive and said that I must get their #1. “Trust me” she said adding that they uses Vietnamese ham. While she was assembling the Banh Mi I chatted with her. She said that their baguette is longer but also narrower. She said it is much better than the usual ones we see that is shorter and fatter. According to her it is less dough-y and more crusty — the way Banh Mi is in Vietnam. OMG, it indeed is awesome. I love it and really feel in love this now. They don’t bake the baguette themselves but she added that they have 300 delivered everyday fresh. I took the opportunity to ask her about the style of Banh Mi they make in Vietnam, you know, with the fried eggs and such. She said been there done that but it is just not nice if it is not made fresh. The eggs need to have the yolk runny and such … but knows what I mean. I said I am willing to pay $6/$7 even if she can make it like they do in Vietnam (the standard sandwich is $3 anyway) — she laughed. No, I said I am serious. Well, she is not biting. So … now my favourite Banh Mi place in order is as follows: Kim Chau > Ba Le > Tung Hing. Thanks for recommendation. Excuse me while I get back to my #1 Banh Mi. Ben

      • Wow sounds like a really good banh mi. I looked up Kim Chau and there is nothing yet written in the net but it looks like a good one to try.

      • Ha, they’re on my drive home (and on the same side of the street too ……. ). No, no, must resist ….. must save room ….. I’m going to RPM tonight for dinner …….

      • I remember you mentioning that, LR. I’ve never been to RPM past about 5 pm so am interested to hear what it’s like for dindin. Please report back on Ning.

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