Ba Le French Sandwiches
Vancouver, BC V5T 3K6
I have not yet found a lunch meal with a bigger bang for the buck than a Vietnamese sandwich. Bahn Mi, for me, is the ultimate in fast foods. You can walk in to a Bahn Mi joint and walk out within a couple of minutes with a fresh, (relatively) healthy and incredibly satisfying meal..all for less than $3 CAD.
I have two “go-to” Bahn Mi joints in Vancouver: Tung Hing on Kingsway (which is my favorite, if you must know – I will post on Tung Hing soon) and the subject of this posting – Ba Le – also on Kingsway….right at “The Triangle” formed by the intersection with Fraser St.
I judge Bahn Mi joints by the quality and freshness of their bread. Tung Hing, for example, bakes their bread on premises…and you can get a sandwich prepared with beautifully crusty bread pulled out of the oven just a couple of minutes prior.
Though Ba Le does not have a bakery on-site – their bread is still quite fresh (the crispy crust explodes with crumbs and the interior crumb is soft and fluffy.)
What they lack in baking facilities, they more than make up for in their filling: Ba Le makes their own charcuterie. Their specialty is their Vietnamese “bacon” – the rolled pork belly you see below. They have other fillings as well Cha Lua (the ubiquitous Vietnamese “ham” or “spam”, Char Siu Chinese BBQ pork, Liver paste and a number of others. Their pickled carrot and daikon (which is traditionally part of Bahn Mi) is very fresh tasting.
Kingsway (which has quickly become Vancouver’s “Little Saigon” ) is dotted with very good budget Vietnamese restaurants and there are a quite a number of worthy destinations on this street. Ba Le is certainly worth the stop if you just happen to be in the area.