Hubbub Sandwiches

Restaurant: Hubbub Sandwiches
Cuisine: Sandwiches/Salads
Last visited: September 17, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC
Address: 859 Hornby St
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4-4.5 overall, but 6 for the pork sandwich
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Opened this year
  • Locally owned/operated
  • Simple menu
  • House made/marinated meats
  • House made dressings
  • Bakery bread
  • Very popular for lunch
  • Healthy options
  • Clean/modern
  • Pay at cashier service
  • Affordable
  • Small selection of beer
  • Catering available
  • +$.025 for “customization”
  • Order online
  • Mon-Sat: 10:30am-9pm
  • Closed Sunday

**Recommendations: Pork Sandwich, Clean Slaw

I know I’ve found a sandwich or place I really really like, when I save my post and revisit it to try more things before I blog about it. That’s what happened here. My first visit was with @VictoriaChemko and I just had to come again. Quite often I like to try new places, and I’m not in the downtown core often for lunch. I also hate looking for parking. So for me to be so determined to repeat a place in downtown for lunch in a high traffic area means that there’s something irresistible about it. So what was so irresistible? The staff? Maybe, as the paper boy hats are charming, but it’s actually the pork sandwich.

The pork sandwich is seriously the highlight here. The rest of the menu is good and some things were okay, but the pork sandwich will get me through the door over and over again. Needless to say, I highly recommend it, even if you just go for this sandwich. I’d say it’s worth a 15-20 minute walk, so if you’re that far away (I consider that far) and have a 1 hour lunch break… run!

Hubbub Sandwiches only opened early this year, and I’d say that’s a bit late to catch on to the “sandwich trend” that hit Vancouver last year. There was also a burger trend, and I guess now it’s a pizza trend. But trend or not, it doesn’t matter, Hubbub Sandwiches has a formula that works, and it’s simply: keep it simple.

The menu is incredibly simple with a two step process: “pick your protein” and then “pick your side”. The toppings and ingredients are limited, but they’re high quality and individually treated with much care. They have a recipe they’ve created and it’s what works, so I wouldn’t mess around with their suggested sandwich fixings.

The sandwiches aren’t cheap, and I guess some may consider it a pricey sandwich, but I find the quality high enough that’s it’s justifiable and I saw the value because it’s freaking delicious… well at least for the Pork Sandwich. Honestly, the Pork Sandwich picked up points on anywhere else the restaurant or food lacked.

On the table:

**Pork Sandwich 6/6

  • Marinated for 24 hours to be spicy and tender, then perfectly slow roasted. $8.49
  • Our sandwich starts with a base of pickled jalapenos, creamy garlic sauce, romaine lettuce, cilantro, and crunchy caramelized onions atop a toasty baguette.
  • I’m a sucker for anything with pulled pork. This is the house favourite and no doubt the must try.
  • Oh god! I literally dream about this sandwich. Local or tourist, I’d bring anyone here… unless you’re Jewish or Halal (I say that light heartedly).
  • The baguette was a bit crusty, hard and chewy, but the top layer seemed shaved off so it was already thinner than it would have been.
  • Although I wasn’t keen on the bread, it was easily overlooked with the ingredients it was holding.
  • There was a generous amount of extremely delicious house marinated roasted pork which certainly made up for it!

  • The roasted pork used is a bit more fatty and that’s what did it. That’s where all the flavour is!
  • It’s not overly fatty or gelatinous though, and its oils and juices just soaked right into the bread and helped soften it up without making it soggy at all.
  • The pork was incredibly tender, juicy and soppy, and every bite I took would drip out delicious meat juices.
  • Initially the flavour was sweet and then right away it was tangy and then immediately after it was spicy. It’s not burn your tongue off hot, but there is a spice and it slowly picks up and lingers even after the bite is gone. It’s delicious!
  • I think there’s brown sugar in the marinade, but it’s definitely not a sweet sauce, and then there might be a bit of mustard and even some pureed pickled spicy jalapenos in the marinade to give it such a kick. It’s not a Worcestershire kick or a black pepper heat, but almost like a Mexican spicy kick.
  • It wasn’t a barbeque pulled pork sandwich and there’s no tangy, bold, or sweet barbeque sauce, or any BBQ sauce for that matter, but the flavours are of natural pork juice and marinade the meat soaks in.

  • Since it wasn’t a typical BBQ pulled pork sandwich, I loved the switch up from cole slaw to the crunchy layers of whole leaf romaine lettuce, large strips of caramelized onions, and the spicy tang of pickled jalapeno peppers. It brought the sandwich to the next level, but I couldn’t taste or see any cilantro.
  • The long strips of juicy roasted vegetables that were naturally caramelized and sweet, with still a crunch, was an undeniable factor in playing their roles in this sandwich.
  • I tasted every layer and every single ingredient and everything had a purpose.
  • The only thing I didn’t notice was the garlic mayo, and as mentioned the cilantro, but I didn’t really care.
  • I guess I could have had a stronger garlic aioli, but given that most people have to go to work, nobody wants garlic breath.
  • The flavours were incredibly well balanced and it was surprisingly quite a spicy sandwich, but it didn’t over power the natural flavour of the pork.
  • It was a perfect combination and ratio and I totally understand why they wouldn’t want anyone messing with it.
  • It’s personal tastes, but in the context of downtown, I’d choose this pork sandwich over the famous Porchetta Sandwich from Meat & Bread, or the popular Pulled Pork Sandwich from Re-Up BBQ. I like those ones too, but this one has my heart!

Turkey Sausage Sandwich4/6

  • Free-range, lightly spiced chorizo handmade by a local butcher. $8.93
  • Our sandwich starts with a base of pickled jalapenos, creamy garlic sauce, romaine lettuce, cilantro, and crunchy caramelized onions atop a toasty baguette.
  • This was very good, but you have to expect it to be a bit drier as turkey sausage will be naturally drier.
  • The hard and chewy baguette was a bit more noticeable in this case because there were no meat juices to soften it up.
  • The ratio of meat to bread is fine though, but I’m just not huge on the baguette here, it’s just okay.

  • The sausage was made by a local butcher which I appreciate, but it wasn’t juicy, but not really dry either. It’s not very soft, but not hard or too chewy.
  • I wouldn’t consider it really a chorizo because it was turkey for one, and it was way less fatty and it didn’t seem cured, for very long at least. It seemed in between fresh and “short-time” cured.
  • It was a bit sweet, slightly peppery with perhaps some cumin and fennel too. It had a very herby flavour with lots of fresh parsley mixed in and it’s not very salty.
  • I actually do like turkey sausage, but this one seemed quite lean that it needed more garlic sauce or maybe even some mustard or something to help moisten it up.
  • The vegetables really helped in this case since they were juicy and the caramelized onions brought another level of sweetness. Again, I couldn’t taste the cilantro.
  • The garlic mayo and pickled jalapenos almost mimicked a tartar sauce in the context of this sandwich and there was still a spiciness, but it was coming more from the pickled jalapenos than the sausage.
  • I’m not sure I’d care to try this again although I did like it.

Chicken Sandwich3/6

  • All natural, steeped in citrus juices and coconut milk. Like a mouth vacation! $8.93
  • I found this one the most ordinary sandwich, and being a chicken sandwich, chicken can get pretty boring.
  • The chicken was naturally drier being white meat, so together with the harder and chewy baguette it just got extra dry and was a bit hard to eat.
  • The meat wasn’t juicy, but somewhat moist, but could have been more tenderized and even more moist for white meat chicken breast.

  • Although I was pleased to see such a big piece of chicken in my sandwich, it didn’t pick up any of the flavours from the marinade.
  • It seemed more like a sweet creamy mayo and it wasn’t tangy or very sweet, but just on the bland side.
  • I think having pieces of chicken, almost like how you would have it served in a Thai chicken curry would have been great to give the chicken more surface area to absorb all the flavours.
  • The coconut milk just seemed like plain coconut milk and its flavour wasn’t developed yet so it didn’t have an impact.
  • I think their side of “clean slaw” on this would have been appropriate in enhancing the flavours as well and it just felt very muted as I expected a “mouth vacation”.
  • For a chicken sandwich, in the context of downtown, I’d recommend the Brass Chicken Sandwich from La Brasserie Street food cart. It’s a different style, but for a chicken sandwich, it’s amazing!
Prawn Sandwich 4/6
  • White tiger prawns basted in a margarita-style marinade and sauteed to order $8.93
  • Okay so I went back for this prawn (or shrimp) sandwich since so many of you told me to go back and try it. I did like it, but I still found the pork to be better.
  • The pork and prawn sandwich are executed the exact same way with the same toppings and sauces, but it’s just the protein that is different.
  • The sandwich came with 7 prawns, but they were more like shrimps and they didn’t look like Tiger prawns.
  • They’re sautéed upon order and their marinated in a tangy citrus lime juice.
  • I just wanted more prawn though because the chewy hard bread was slightly more distracting with the shrimp than it was with the pork. In short, the bread stood out more than the prawns.
  • I could taste the crunch of the tangy shrimp, but it was almost overpowered by the tangy and spicy pickled jalapeños.
  • I 100% agree with @julius comment she left in my comments section below, that you need to request double shrimp (extra cost) for a meatier bite.
  • I would also request to order this with the Clean Slaw next time too and I think that would be interesting to try.

Quinoa Salad3/6

  • A hearty, high protein salad with black beans, corn & peppers. It’s superfood! $2.99
  • I loved the ingredients in this salad, but it was as good as the combination of ingredients got.
  • There’s no particular sauce and although it was well dressed it was just a simple olive oil and perhaps lemon dressing. It had no real tang so I couldn’t even tell if it was lemon or balsamic.
  • It was a bit smoky from the beans, crunchy with celery, sweet with bell peppers and the corn didn’t carry much flavour, but a bit expected.
  • I loved the almonds giving that extra crunch to the already nutty quinoa, but the dressing I found kind of bland. I’d prefer a sesame dressing or more tang or salt.

**Clean Slaw3.5/6

  • Crisp cabbage with coconut, mint and cilantro in a light, zingy vinaigrette. $2.99
  • This was a very clean slaw with no mayo and it was incredibly lightly dressed, which I liked.
  • It’s a sweeter slaw, not a tangy one, and the coconut milk and generous amount of dried shredded coconut lent itself playfully as a sweet salad.
  • The mint was very mild and the salad was all around fresh, mild, light, refreshing, crisp, crunchy, and easy to enjoy.
  • I loved the added pumpkin seeds which gave it more texture, flavour and style. It was different and eclectic, which was nice.

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14 Comments

  • Debs says:

    Did you try the prawn sandwich? That is equally as good as the pork. 😀 also try Paseo’s in Seattle, it’s almost the same style of sandwich with huge lineups.

  • Mijune says:

    @Debs – WHAT?!? REALLY?!?! The last couple times I went NOBODY recommended or ordered the shrimp!!! That good huh? i would never think to order shrimp at Hubbub… I better go back! But how do I resist the pork?!?!?

  • Erin says:

    This is a few blks from where I live, so I CERTAINLY will be visiting to try the pork sandwich (which, sad as it is, is one of my fave foods- and my boyfriends- haha!) Thank you for sharing this!

  • Meg says:

    I tried the shrimp too… SO good! And I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to mix seafood with bread either…. it was seriously delish.

  • Mijune says:

    @Erin- omg you have to come back and comment after you try it because I REALLY want to know what you think! I love pork too!! I’m a sucker for pulled pork and seriously I’m obsessed with this sandwich.

    @Meg – I love shrimp sandwiches, but I honestly did not have high hopes for it here! It seemed way more like a meat place than seafood place. ok this just really gives me and excuse to go back now… must try: shrimp sandwich!

  • julius says:

    totally agree – the pork is the real deal.

    if you try the prawn sandwich, order double prawn for a meatier bite. so satisfying.

    and if you go back for the prawn sandwich, then you must try the elote corn. creamy flavorful goodness. definitely a face-wiper.

    oh, and i’m also a huge fan of their chocolate chip cookie… if you still have room for dessert!

  • Mijune says:

    @Julius – Omg double prawn!??! You’re genius!!! Should I top it with the clean slaw too? I’m going to try that with the pork next time 🙂

    See I totally thought the corn on the cob would just be corn on the cob… so I passed. hmmm…

    lol… sorry I have to laugh at that one… welcome to Follow Me Foodie…. I ALWAYS have room for dessert… 😉

  • Linda says:

    mmmm i heart sandwiches!!! i really wish there was somewhere in vancouver that sold authentic cubano sandwiches! i really want to try them! 🙂

    wow that chicken looks really really dry and bland and combine that with the crisper bread and you definitely have an unpleasant mouthfeel! i always think that if the bread is really good, it could carry the sandwich 🙂

    mmmm the pork sandwich looks great! definitely something i would order as well and from the sound of everyone’s comments, the prawn one should be on the list too 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @linda – Yeah Cubano’s are hard to find, but the ladies at Be ‘wiched make a good one!! Just far away I know 🙁

    YES I agree with that! A killer brioche bun can make a killer burger even if the patty isn’t the BEST.

  • Mijune says:

    Heads up everyone! I updated my Hubbub post and tried the prawn sandwich! http://www.followmefoodie.com/2011/09/hubbub-sandwiches-vancouver-updated-post/

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