The Union: Fried Tofu Banh Mi with Phillips Ginger Beer

DSC_2348The Union sits on the edge of Vancouver’s Chinatown, where they’re doing a tasty combination of South-Asian cuisine. You’ll find their take on vermicelli bowls, pad thai, butter chicken and the famous Vietnamese sub known as the Banh Mi.
Of course, I was in for one of the Banh Mi sandwiches, specifically the Fried Tofu Banh Mi, other options include Sweet & Sour Fried Fish, Crisp Pork Belly or Lemongrass Chicken. This sub style sandwich comes on a fresh French baquette with spicy sriracha aioli, fresh jalepenos, daikon & carrot pickle, cucumber and cilantro. As soon as the sandwich was placed in front of me the smells permeated into my nostrils. The scent of peanuts was the first thing I could detect, which I think came from the sauce that the crispy and moist fried tofu was lathered in. Nice heat came from the fresh jalepeno, but not so much that I was reaching for a glass of water (or my beer) after each bite. The pickled daikon & carrot brought a great acidity and a touch of sweetness, which was rounded out perfectly by the cool cucumber and cilantro. The fried tofu totally worked in place of a meat protein on this, and if you’re looking for a little something extra they’ll gladly throw a softly fried egg on there for you, which is what I did. Another small but cool thing about this sandwich is that it came in a bowl, which I thought was unique and presented the sandwich in a very picturesque way.
The Union, like many newer places offers a great selection of craft beer on tap as well as in bottles. The beer that piqued my interest the most was the Phillips Ginger Beer, which is one of the tap options. I find Phillips consistently offers up a great product no matter what the style. Now, I’d admittedly been apprehensive about this beer as I tend to steer clear of “flavoured” beer. But I quickly realized, this wasn’t a “flavoured” beer at all, it’s a true ginger beer. It had an instant ginger aroma and then an even stronger ginger taste, that even packed a bit of heat. This worked well with the heat from the jalepeno, and also mingled with the other ingredients in the sandwich. But even with all that ginger flavour, this is still a well-balanced, full-bodied and tasty lager.
So if you’re looking for an elevated Banh Mi sandwich paired with a really interesting take on a true ginger beer, then head to The Union for This Sandwich and That Beer.
Check out and for more info, follow them both on Twitter: @TheUnionVan and @phillipsbeer, and follow me @TSTB_blog. Check Legacy Liquor Store if you’re looking to pick up a bottle of Phillips Ginger Beer on its own.
Also, catch my monthly radio feature on “Just Here For The Beer Radio” on its new home Team Radio 1410AM, March 16th at 12:00pm PST.

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