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Banh Mi Ba Le, Oakland (2nd location)

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Banh Mi Ba Le opened up a new expanded place at International/19th Ave, four blocks south of their other Oakland location. The new place features a more extensive menu with Banh Cuon & other steamed specialties, Bun dishes, and soups in addition to their sandwich menu. There's about 7 tables for dining in, as well as a huge selection of ready made meals to go.

I've tried 4 of the 12 Banh Mi choices, special combination (headcheese and other cold cuts), grilled pork, pork meatball, and sunnyside up egg. I really enjoyed the latter two today, especially the egg one - the whites were perfectly browned and fluffy, and the yolk just oozing out. I thought the special combination was tasty as well. The grilled pork was ok, just slightly lacking in flavor, but had a generous portion of pork.

I'm no Banh Cuon expert, but I thought it was a pretty good version, not falling apart like some I've tried. The nuoc cham was slightly more on the vinegary side though.

The place gets a good rush a little bit after noon, with the high school a few blocks away. So I'd recommend getting there early or waiting till after the rush. There's a parking lot in the back.

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Banh Mi Ba Le
1909 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

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  1. did they close the old location? or is this in addition to? Is there Dine-in space at the new location?

    1 Reply
    1. re: nicedragonboy

      The old location is still open, but I believe only serves coffee and snacks. Yes, there's 7 or so two tops for dining in at the new store. It's actually quite spacious and there's also a bathroom as well.

    2. The sunnyside up egg is one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. It's very, very simple but just so amazingly good. I also very much enjoy the pork meatball sandwich - it's more highly seasoned ground meat than meatball - it is very tasty.

      Their iced Vietnamese Coffee is deadly good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pastryqueen

        Glad you liked the egg banh mi. The meatball sandwich - the first couple times were excellent for me, the last was very heavy on the pepper. Did you find it peppery at all?

        1. re: DezzerSF

          yes, but that's why I enjoyed it so. . i LOVE pepper. :) Some times it's more so than others - either way I like it.

      2. If anyone has tried both Banh Mi Ba Le's banh cuon and the banh cuon at the old Hung Ky, it would be great to hear how the former stands up to the latter.

        2 Replies
        1. re: shortexact

          Go to the EC Ba Le about once a week, but don't know the viet. names of anything -- which one is the banh cuon?

          1. re: kc72

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A1n...

        2. Anyone know if they're open on Sundays? If so, hours?

          8 Replies
          1. re: kc72

            their business card says they are open seven days a week 6am to 7pm. . perhaps call because the other night I went to pick up dinner - my mind and palate set on a #5 with fried egg (meatball sandwich) and they were closed at 6:45.

            1. re: pastryqueen

              I went to the EC Ba Le today and the guy told me the Oakland location was closed on Sundays (EC also)

              And I wish they'd do the fried egg thing in EC.

              1. re: kc72

                hmmph. . well these cards can't be too old. . .perhaps I will *have* to go investigate tomorrow. . you know for accuracy and to see if a banh mi is the breakfast of champions.

                1. re: pastryqueen

                  please do ;) It'll make for a good pit stop on my way to the Coliseum in the future.

                  1. re: kc72

                    strange, they used to open on sundays at the old location. They'd get plenty of business from the local church going crowd.

                    1. re: kc72

                      @kc72. . .

                      they ARE open on Sunday. . regular hours. .. doing a brisk soup business . . I had this for breakfast. ..

                      #5 with fried egg! Delicious!

                       
                      1. re: pastryqueen

                        Perhaps the guy at the EC location didn't understand my question last time. That sandwich looks good, wish they did them in EC -- so there's no runny/drippy yolk at all?

                        1. re: kc72

                          you can ask them to cook it soft or hard. . the soft cooked is really messy but SO good. . .I usually get it cooked hard just to save my shirt! :) best to eat the soft cooked egg sandwich right away - the hard cooked egg holds for a trip home or to the ballgame. ;)

            2. last week stopped into Ba Le on International and 19th Ave for fried egg banh mi and banh xeo crepe and noticed that they have banh khot minicrepes on the menu. when I ordered it, I was shown a take out carton with 8-10 crepes in it with greens and nuoc mam sauce. Bought it for about $4 and the crepes were the softer variety, not like the crispy ones served at Ngoc Mai on Hyde in SF, but tasty when dipped in the garlic-flecked nuoc mam.

              This is the first time that I've found banh khot in Oakland and have been looking for some time. will go back again to see if a freshly-made version is available. This place is a gem.

              2 Replies
              1. re: zippo

                went back today for the fresh banh khot. 12 to the order, each with a small bay shrimp on top and a slight crust on the bottom of the crepe from the pan, with lettuce and mint. $5. I still can't find anyone else in oakland or berkeley who makes them.

                1. re: zippo

                  here's a link to a slideshow of some photos I took about 3 months ago of the banh khot at Ba Le on Int'l Blvd at 19th Ave in Oakland. There is music accompanying the slideshow, in case you want to lower the volume:

                  http://weeklyegret.phanfare.com/slide...

                  here are the same photos without the slideshow:

                  http://weeklyegret.phanfare.com/58461...

              2. About a week ago had Green Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky and Liver – (Goi Du Du Bo), $5, at Ba Le on International Blvd. near 19th Avenue in East Oakland. It's listed as #4, Papaya Beef Jerky Salad, in the appetizer section (lower right) of their postcard-sized paper menu. I don't think that it's posted on any of their menu boards along the wall.

                This version of papaya salad was different than any other of the half dozen or so that I'd had before. A good-sized portion with green papaya shreds, fresh mint, bits of soft, slightly sweet beef jerky and short strips of liver comes with a cup of about 2 oz. of a dark brown dressing (maybe a diluted hoisin sauce?). Nothing else: no peanuts, shrimp or crab paste, garlic, chilis, peppers, carrot, lemon or nuoc mam. I liked the simplicity of it and it certainly was memorable for the strong aftertaste of liver and mint along with the crunch of the papaya. More ingredients might have just undercut the liver/mint/crunch of this style.

                It's available either as a ready-made takeout item or they can make it fresh.

                Also on the postcard menu (but not on the menu boards) in the sandwich section is #14, Banh Mi Luon, eel sandwich, for $2.75. This is the only banh mi shop that I've seen that has eel, not counting Sea Salt's $14 eel banh mi with sides. I'll put up a description of it on P. Punko's Bay Area Banh Mi Google map thread.

                4 Replies
                1. re: zippo

                  Did you happen to notice if they were selling any of that beef jerky on its own? They were carrying it at the EC location for awhile next to the register, but stopped (much to my dismay).

                  1. re: adrienne156

                    Yes, Adrienne. Was in the neighborhood this afternoon and dropped by. They did have beef jerky, two kinds, in clear plastic freezer bags, sitting next to the cash register. The smaller bag was $5, was reddish brown and looked like it had either dried chili flakes or chili pod seeds on the jerky. The larger bag was $ 7.50, brown in color and may have had sesame seeds on the beef. All the bags had a little sticker on them that said "Ba Le, 1909 International Blvd., etc."

                    1. re: zippo

                      Yea!!!! Thank you.

                  2. re: zippo

                    mmm...one of my favorite salads. for the price, I think it's a very large portion that they give.

                  3. Closed for remodeling until Jan. 3.

                    1. #2 pork combo, is there anything better to eat for $2.75? So delicious.

                      1. I ordered #54 "pate pork sung (rousong)" thinking it would be pâté, but it's actually sung / rousong, dried meat (the stuff they have in containers by the cash register).

                        Do they have pâté and if so what number is it?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I don't see just pate on my take-out menu. They have it as part of other sandwich combos so you could ask them if they'll make it.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I might as well post the menu since I took a photo.