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Mar 12, 2008 01:34 PM

Banh Mi Ba Le, Oakland (2nd location)

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.

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?

        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:


                  here are the same photos without the slideshow: