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Jul 5, 2012 02:10 PM

Ba Le Bakery - beyond the banh mi

Hue cool snacks to be found at Ba Le Bakery in the Dot.

They're always doing a bustling business and I note that many from the local Vietnamese community are procuring all kinds of treats from pastries to prepared foods. I believe galangatron has commented on their chè and they have a diverse selection, in addition to some cold beverages, and a killer cool sugar cane extractor machine that I must have.

Many of the snacks are unique Hue/central Vietnamese treats, perfect party or picnic food, and on the 4th they were jammin' full of families stocking up for a day at the beach.

In the case there are a myriad of banana leaf-wrapped goodies, both sweet and savoury, some baked breads (again, sweet & savoury), and some pre-packaged goodies.

The Vietnamese have a world of awesome charcuterie that I need to eat my way through, and one such example is Ba Le's nem chua - basically a fresh cured pork with slivers of pork skin running throughout, topped with sharp raw garlic and a fiery chile. Perfect pocket snack.

Banh beo are steamed rice cakes filled with some chopped dried shrimp. Very subtle and simple on their own, a dribble of fish sauce elevating them to deliciousness. $5 for a ten-pack.

Banh loc tran are a tapioca starch dumpling filled with shrimp. Chewy little buggers, these have now replaced my gummy bear stash.

Banh it tran, another dumpling, this one made with rice flour, this is a glutinous and sticky-chewy mochi dumpling filled with chopped pork/shrimp, also served with fish sauce. I am thoroughly enjoying the jaw-workout.

Banh pate chaud came fresh out the oven, a nice pork pate filled pastry.

Banh choui nuong is banana enveloped by sweet rice and I believe baked and then served with delicious unadulterated rich coconut cream.

There's a whole world of other snacks there that I will be returning for soon.

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  1. Awesome pictures. Are numbers 2 and 4 of the same dish (banh beo) or is one of them something else?

    I have also had the banh choui nuong from Ba Le before, and really like it. They also make some decent fruit smoothies.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave MP

      Dave, #2 is banh beo and #4 is banh it tran

    2. I like how they have everything laid out in the case and all the drinks listed in big thumbnails on the wall. One of the best delis in Boston!

      1. oh bbbbboy! Banh pate chaud and Banh choui nuong have my name all over them. The puff pastry looks to be bought-in and oil-based, but how is the pate filling> what flavors?From another web comment, it sounds like their bun cha gio is really worthwhile too.(I wonder if my go-to Banh mi place, pho viet, does a good version of bun cha gio.....) When we tried this place last yr. I was really fascinated by the ready made drinks with all kinds of beans and yams and seaweed and noodles and coconut milk and just everything strange and intriguing! The whole shop was a real wonderland. Thx much for the specific info and esp w/ the photos; really helpful!

        1. This is good stuff. Also, there is an "international market" in the works close to Ba Le on the other side of Dorchester Ave. Looks like a pretty big space.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Guinness02122

            What is all of that jerky looking stuff laying around in the middle of the store? It looks good.

            1. re: AndOne

              Couldn't really see inside. I saw it as I was riding by on my bike.

              1. re: AndOne

                At Ba Le ? There are a few bins of pork fluff, shrimp fluff, and a coupla jerkies IIRC. I need to grab a stash of the jerkies - there are also a handful of Vietnamese brands you see at the Dottie markets too.

              2. re: Guinness02122

                Is that different from Phu Cuong market, which is across the street from Ba Le? I wrote about it in this thread during the winter

                1. re: Dave MP

                  Yes. This is a "coming soon..." thing.