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Aug 13, 2014 09:45 AM

Ba Le Vietnamese Bakery Deli Falls Church

I've been going to Ba Le for a few years. I started out by trying out their banh mi sandwiches - didn't like them very much (prefer Banh Mi DC). Next I tried their bun bo hue and some other noodle soups, which are generally pretty good. Then I changed my diet, cutting out most carbs. So now I would order a quarter chicken (all dark meat) for $2.75, cha gio (fried spring roll), and shrimp roll (summer roll, not fried). There's nothing special about their summer rolls but their cha gio at $1.25 each is really good, and the chicken leg/thigh are usually very moist and flavorful, having been marinated in a slightly sweet sauce. Today I tried something completely different - called a banh gio ($2). This is a white gooey thing wrapped in plastic wrap found in their prepared hot food case. Inside the gooey white stuff (rice paste) is minced pork and mushroom. I thought it was really good but probably an acquired taste for non-Asians. Here's a better description
I also tried their banh xeo. It came with lots of herbs, which really added a nice flavor to an otherwise bland dish. The shrimp inside were not shelled, but the shell didn't really bother me. Combined with fish sauce, it was pretty good.
Next time I go to Eden Center, I'll see if anyone else is doing banh gio.

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  1. According to the link, like a Vietnamese tamale! Sounds intriguing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      It's fun to find new things to try. Too bad Ba Le doesn't provide any special sauce but it tasted pretty good without any sauce.

    2. i've had the stuffed rice crepes from somewhere there in eden center (the take-out /prepared foods place in the corner) and like them.

      this link within your link you might find interesting:

      1. I also prefer Banh Mi DC despite it not being in Eden Center.

        2 Replies
        1. re: msjess

          Is Banh Mi DC the same as DC Sandwich on Arlington Blvd at (I think) Graham Rd? If so, do they have any seating there yet? I've liked their sandwiches but I don't enjoy eating my lunch in my car. Eat-in Banh Mi is pretty scarce. I like the sandwiches and tables at the new Four Sisters Grill.

          1. re: MikeR

            That's the shop that I was referring to. No seating in there - probably never will be.

        2. I wouldn't necessarily call it "gooey", more more gelatinous with a glutinous quality. I think it's made with a combination of glutinous rice powder and tapioca. Definitely some MSG or some flavoring powder in it though, something that's just pork wood ear mushrooms and steam rice can't be that tasty on its own.

          I would recommend eating it with nuoc cham - called nuoc mam interchangeably but it can easily be made with a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, water, chili peppers, garlic, and lime juice/vinegar. Lots of recipes online