Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Aug 22, 2008 06:11 AM

Banh Mi???

Just moved here from Atlanta where the ethnic food scene is great. I'm having a craving for Banh Mi. Any recommendations?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not a banh mi expert by any stretch, but you owe yourself an immediate visit (and many, many followups) to the Eden Center in Falls Church. Loads of threads on this board about this Vietnamese heaven. I've had a few banh mi at Song Que, the "deli" owned and operated by the Hong Que (Four Sisters) folks. I'm partial to the pork varieties.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Geoff

      I've eaten Banh Mi at Song Que and although the sandwich was OK, they have the highest prices in the area and I question their cleanliness based on what I saw while I was there.

      The Washington Post rated the offerings of all the sandwich joints in this area and said a place called "Nhu Lan" inside Eden Center is the best.

      I tried them out and indeed they were pretty good, although I'm no expert, but all in all, I'm not a big fan of head cheese, so even if it's good, I'm not going to be going back again and again.

    2. In the MD suburbs, Ba Le on the Pike in Rockville is brilliant.

      FWIW, the Post did a taste test back in Feb:

      1. Separate, but related topic...any good Banh Mi in Baltimore? I've only ever read it about it near DC.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Christina D

          There is no banh mi in Baltimore, good or otherwise. :-(

          Although, I"d quite happily be proven wrong on this one!

          1. re: baltoellen

            Not in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Howard, Anne Arundel...

          2. re: Christina D

            Actually, I was at Rocket to Venus in Hamden for dinner last night and was very surprised to see Banh Mi on their menu. I didn't order it so can't provide any kind of feedback regarding if it's any good, just that Bahn Mi does exist in Baltimore!

            1. re: ILoveBacon

              I've had it. Far from authentic but quite good. The only meat is a thick slice of pate.

              1. re: ILoveBacon

                I've had it to. Not terribly authentic but has a really tasty mint aioli in place of mayo. num

              2. re: Christina D

                If you are around the Howard County area, there is a shop in Ellicott City that has delicious Banh Mi. The shop is called Cafe Au Lait. My favorite is the Char Siu (pork) banh mi :)


              3. Best is DC Sandwich (Banh Mi) on Rt. 50 in Falls Church. It sits next to Pho 75 which is a cash-only Vietnamese soup joint that is excellent and inexpensive. Next best is all over Eden Center, up the road a little bit.

                5 Replies
                1. re: BigEats

                  I actually don't agree that every place in Eden Center is equally good. I haven't tried them all, and I have trouble remembering names, but there was one I really wouldn't go back to. I pretty much always go to Song Que (and always order the #3). I need to branch out and try other CH suggestions, but I love that and just always fall back on it (especially since the bad experience with that other one...).

                  And if I remember (I might not) the one that that Post article placed first I didn't love. But that article was my starting place, too.

                  I was actually also disappointed by DC Sandwich, but I should say the bubble tea I get to go with the banh mi is an important part of this recent new addiction of mine, and I think it was the bubbles at DC Sandwich that I didn't like, but I don't remember liking the sandwich as much as Song Que, either.

                  I'm totally no expert, just two cents.

                  And yes, to the OP, do get to Eden Center asap!

                  1. re: mselectra

                    i read this post and i was so excited to go to song que (because i never know where to go in eden center) but was disappointed but the dryness of the bread, and the sheer massiveness of the bread. it wasnt crusty, just kind of big and soft... and so i took the sandwiches (#1 and #3) home, shook on some more rice vinegar, added mayo, and it improved them.
                    but... i was a little let down.

                    what i wasnt let down by, though, was all the other fun stuff you could eat and try at song que - they had some great little pastries (minced pork, bbq pork are the ones i had) and some interesting pre-packaged food. not to mention the fruit!

                    1. re: elnora

                      Sorry if I misled you! It seems like there's been another thread on here about which places in Eden Center have the best bread for banh mi, and I think you're right that Song Que didn't stack up -- I need to branch out myself -- but I agree it's just fun to go in there. I'm still new to this and obviously not an expert at all (but my vietnamese s-i-l was impressed I even know what banh mi is :))

                      BTW, I haven't been in a while because I don't get that way in the summer much, but I actually thought the last time I went that both the sandwich and the bubble tea weren't as good as usual. But still better than the couple other places I have managed to try.

                      1. re: elnora

                        Coupla doors down, to Huong Binh.

                        Plus they have by-the-pound rice noodles in several styles (as well as other stuff).

                    2. re: BigEats

                      Agreed on Banh Mi DC Sandwich. Best banh mi bread I've found with a nice crisp (v, above and beyond that of the Eden Center banh mi delis). Could use a bit more filling for the combination banh mi, but I guess you can always double the meat and veggies. The grilled pork banh mi was nice, too.

                    3. My favorite is Ba Le Bakery in Falls Church. (I believe that it's affiliated with the aforementioned Ba Le in Rockville.)

                      Bale Friends Bakery
                      2822 Graham Rd, Falls Church, VA

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ballston01

                        I'll give another nod to Ba Le, especially Super Combo #1. Two or three locations in the area.

                        1. re: ballston01

                          Ba Le is a national chain but it's not regulated so every Ba Le is different and has different owners. I like the Ba Le in VA for banh mi. They make their own fresh french bread there daily. I'd go to the Rockville Ba Le more for the soups than the sandwiches.

                          1. re: ballston01

                            Just found this thread and was contemplating the Wendy's near my hotel, but wasn't the chowish thing to do! The Falls Church location is open 24 hours! and I got combo #1 bases on Steve's rec. It sure was good. Are any of the bahn mi served hot? Anything else there worth trying besides the bahn mi?

                            1. re: ballston01

                              I went to Ba Le and saw that it's sign is the Eiffel Tower. In Chinese, Paris is called Ba Le. Little food trivia. Anyway, there's so much there that I didn't try their banh mi. I'll have to check out Super Combo #1 next time.