On my way back from a truly satisfying breakfast at Cafe Medina, I stopped by Ba Le in Chinatown. No, I wasn't getting some Banh Mi for myself, I'm not that much of a glutton! Rather, Viv had just taken our son out for his swimming lesson and didn't have lunch yet. Normally, I get my Banh Mi fix at the Kingsway location; but it really wasn't on the way home. Honestly, I really don't remember the last time I visited the Chinatown location. It would probably be back when we lived in downtown before kids. Ah, life was so much simpler back then.
The Chinatown location is quite a bit smaller than it's Kingsway counterpart. It is considerably more run-down looking after the recent renovations at the Kingsway location as well. However, no one really goes there for the ambiance (at least I hope not), it's the excellent Banh Mi that counts. But, there is a difference. For some strange reason, there were no hot peppers in the Banh Mi. Instead, there was an abundance of pickled onion slivers. Personally, Viv and I didn't like that combination and much preferred the other version better. It's probably that we had to request peppers to get it? Despite that, there was the requisite cold cuts, pate, butter mayo, fish sauce, pickled daikon and carrot and cilantro on a crunchy french roll. At $2.75, this has to be one of the best values in town, especially if you like Banh Mi (is it just me or is it cheaper than the Kingsway location?).
For good measure, I picked up some Thit Bo Vien (Beef Meatballs) and Chả Lụa (Silky Sausage) at around $5.00 each. These go great with any bowl of noodles at home. Despite being full from breakfast, I was still determined to fit a Banh Mi into my eating schedule today. Although we were planning to meet some friends for dinner tonight as well...
- It's tasty, fast and cheap
- Great combination of textures and flavours in an unassuming sandwich
- Consistently good here
- If you don't like pickled onions, you'd better tell them before they make your sandwich
- Not much parking around there