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Vietnamese sandwiches in Oakland?

Anyone know of a place to get good Vietnamese sandwiches in Oakland?

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

    (510) 261-9800

    1. Cam Huong Cafe on International where the parking is somewhat easier than the downtown branch.

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      Cam Huong Cafe
      702 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

      5 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        The International and 7th location has an Actual Parking Lot right across the street! It's that fenced-off corner lot with the not-obvious "Cam Huong Parking Only" sign.

        Of the three places in Chinatown I go to (Cam Huong, BC, and Ba Le) I tend to gravitate towards Cam Huong. Better bread, much bigger selection, and more stuff stuffed into the sandwiches.

        Just to be confusing, there are two Cam Huongs in Chinatown; both on Webster. The one on the corner of 11th is NOT the one you want -- only dim sum-y bakeryish stuff in there. The sandwich shop is in the middle of the block between 9th and 10th, away-from-broadway side.

        There are about 20 different sandwich choices of which I hardly ever stray from three: BBQ pork, which is that bright red chinese style pork; Grilled pork, which is what generally gets sold as bbq pork in vietnamese restaurants; and BBQ bacon. The bacon is somewhat indescribable: it looks like thick slice of raw bacon, is not smoked at all, shows no sign of anything related to barbecuing, and is warmed up in the microwave. It's also really terrific.

        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          I am also a big fan of their curried chicken.

          1. re: lexdevil

            I second the chicken curry Bahn Mi. On it's own it wouldn't be much of a curry, but it works well in the sandwich.

            1. re: 10foot5

              Hmmmm .... so on these two recommendations I gave it a try yesterday. I think there was a bit too much salt and anise for my taste, and the sandwichmaking lady went waaaay too easy on the hot peppers. But I guess I'll have to give it another ten or twelve tries before I'm certain. Thanks!

              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                It's definitely improved by ample hot peppers. I see the possible saltiness issue, but I've never been blown away by anise.

      2. At Ba Le, my favorite is the meatball banh mi with a fried egg added. In Chinatown, I like the banh mi at B C Deli.

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        B C Deli Sandwiches
        818 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

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

        14 Replies
        1. re: abstractpoet

          Thanks. I think the BC Deli is the place my daughter raved about. Thanks too for educating me on the terminology. I consider myself well-versed in the food world, but this is one of the few things I've never had. Banh mi here I come!

          1. re: abstractpoet

            After trying BC Deli two or three times recently, it seemed to me that the meatball banh mi was much, much tastier than either the BBQ chicken or BBQ pork. My 3-year old got the meatball and he was right! (Lucky me, I got to eat half of his sandwich.)

            1. re: chompy

              Have you had the meatball at Ba Le?

              My standard order at BC is the grilled pork (different, I believe, from the BBQ pork, which is more like roast pork).

              1. re: abstractpoet

                I'm not actually sure that I've been to Ba Le, so I'll have to go try the meatball there. And the grilled pork at BC Deli. (Both the BBQ chicken & BBQ pork at BC suffered from a bit of gristly greasiness, so maybe grilled is better).

                Have you tried the meatball at BC, and if so did you prefer Ba Le's?

                1. re: abstractpoet

                  I think Ba Le's actual meatball is tastier, but BC's bread is better. Same issue with the cold cuts sandwich - I like the balance of Ba Le's better (more pate), but the bread is softer and squishier.

                  BC Deli also has a tasty banh mi bi, with shredded pork skin and coconut - I can't remember if Ba Le has one or not.

              2. re: abstractpoet

                BC Deli has a buy three get one free special that Ba Le a couple doors towards 8th St matched.

                Strange that this Ba Le isn't in the Places list

                1. re: PorkButt

                  Here's Ba Le but I'm confused when you mention 8th because that's where Cam Huong is. Is there more than another Ba Le besides El Cerrito?

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                  Ba Le Sandwich
                  1500 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                  1. re: wolfe

                    There's yet another Ba Le at 812 Franklin. The functionality to add a new place is apparently gone, but you can see it on Google Street View.

                    1. re: PorkButt

                      Thank you. Bahn mi sandwich shops seem to be the rage. Paraphrasing Thomas Riley Marshall, VP of the US from 1913 to 1921 "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar", what Bay Area wants is a good $2.50 sandwich.

                      1. re: PorkButt

                        Is the one on Franklin actually connected to the other two? Or is the naming just the same in general?

                        1. re: kc72

                          It's still confusing isn't it?
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/498452

                          1. re: wolfe

                            Was there mention of a Franklin St location in that thread you pulled up?

                        2. re: PorkButt

                          The Eiffel Tower logo on the awning is also on the Ba Le Hawaii chains' web site.
                          http://latourbakehouse.com/

                        3. re: wolfe

                          Also, the last I heard the Ba Le at 1500 International wasn't serving sandwiches anymore--only the shop at 1909 International.

                          Haven't been to the one on Franklin, so I don't know if it has anything to do with the others. I know that the El Cerrito location doesn't do the fried egg, which I always like to add to the meatball banh mi (as recommended in the older thread wolfe pulled up).