(Exterior photo by Tommy Mok/Flickr)

I’ve driven past Duffin’s Donuts on Knight and East 41st in Vancouver countless times, but have never stopped in. It looks like any mundane donut shop until you look closer. The signage boasts donuts.. and hot torta subs, noodle soup, and Chinese food.

I was driving home one night after some work drinks and appetizers when I realized I was starving. Of course, I was cruising down Kingsway in the heart of Little Saigon, which made me crave a banh mi sub. Alas most of those shops were closed.

I turned onto Knight Street and saw the glowing red and yellow awning of Duffin’s. Why not? I figured a torta is still a sandwich.

Open 24/7, the decor is definitely stuck in the ’70s, and the atmosphere borders on sketch. Perfect.

Duffin's Donuts, Vancouver

Duffin's Donuts, Vancouver

Duffin's Donuts, Vancouver

There seemed to be a lot of staff behind the counter, who were quite pleasant.

I thought I knew what I wanted to order, but I was overwhelmed by not only the menu but also all the different foodstuffs on display.

Duffin's Donuts, Vancouver

Duffin's Donuts, Vancouver

Not pictured are bubble tea and pupusas. So many wonderful things in one place. Then I spotted banh mi on the menu. WOOT!

I got a basic cold cut Vietnamese sub. It was $4. FOUR BUCKS. OK, I’ll admit, I had very low expectations.

The leering Asian men at one table were giving me the heebie jeebies, so I took my banh mi back to my car like a furtive raccoon.

I took a bite by the glow of my dashboard as the rain fell harder.

Oh my god, it was good.

Duffin's Donuts, Vancouver

Duffin's Donuts, Vancouver

OK, OK, I was starving, and enchanted by the novelty of this strange place, but it was a decent banh mi. The bread could have been toastier, and the cold cut more varied, but hey, it was 9:30 p.m. and it cost less than five bucks.

I need to come back to try the torta.

Duffin’s Donuts, 1391 E 41st Ave., Vancouver, (604) 325-5544.