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Ba Le Vietnamese Deli, Open 24 Hours on Graham Road in Falls Church - Rockville and Langley Park Stores Have Closed


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A visit to the doctor yesterday gave me an excuse to visit my favorite Vietnamese carryout. Now, it's probably not as good as the places in the Eden Center, but Ba Le is cheap, good, and until we moved in August, was a half mile from my house. The have a dozen sandwich varieties, plus soups, noodles, and rice dishes. Bahn mi are $2.50 each, or 5 for $10. Nothing on the rest of the menu is more than $8.25.

My standard order is the combination sandwich (headcheese, pate, & ham with plenty of pickled veg, cilantro, and sliced chilis) and an iced coffee, but I have sampled some of the rice and noodle plates on occasion and been favorably impressed. The grilled lemongrass pork sandwich is also very good.

Their decor used to be grim, but they have recently spiffed it up with new tile and more tables, and they now accept credit cards.

Ba Le Vietnamese Deli
842-A Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
301-294-7808

(It's conveniently located in the same block as the MoCo liquor store, right across from the Wintergreen shopping center)

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I used to go to this chain a lot when I lived in Hawaii. They have a good cross section of grilled meats and rice noodles that were cheap and tasty. I recall them having pretty good sticky rice and mango or guava. I didn't realize they were in the DC area.

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They've been in Rockville for a few years now. There might be one in NoVa too.

A Vietnamese friend working in Rockville turned me on to this place some years ago. Their bahn mi makes for a pretty good snacky lunch. I was not so impressed with their desserts though.

The Rockville location still makes me do a doubletake. Long long ago when I was a wee lad, my first and only retail job was in the exact storefront they now occupy, when it was one of only two places in Rockville that sold this newfangled thing called "personal computer software".

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I was having an intense jones for banh mi - mostly because of the crispy veggies, and decided to stop by after a trip to Rockville. I grabbed one of my usual chicken banh mi, but decided to also get banh xeo to go. Slightly crisp and saturated with the nuoc cham, piled on with lightly pickled radish, cucumber, carrots and Thai basil was fantastic. Nice chunks of pork and small shrimps. My one little nitpick is the tail shells were still on the shrimp, making it less easy to consume. Mmm... The owner Christian has done a lot to modernize the place like free wifi.

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I had a pretty mediocre Bahn Mi Bi (Shredded Pork, $3.00) at the Rockville Ba Le today. There was plenty of shredded pork, but too much circular raw onion thrown on top, and a heavy hand with the salt shaker - the sandwich seemed out of balance. I'd never been here before - it's a surprisingly dingy place for Rockville Pike, and would look very much at home in Eden Center.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I had a pretty mediocre Bahn Mi Bi (Shredded Pork, $3.00) at the Rockville Ba Le today. There was plenty of shredded pork, but too much circular raw onion thrown on top, and a heavy hand with the salt shaker - the sandwich seemed out of balance. I'd never been here before - it's a surprisingly dingy place for Rockville Pike, and would look very much at home in Eden Center.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Yeah, the chicken is really the way to go here. I've found the rest all leave something to be desired though the combination is okay in the clutch.

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I tried once last week, and once the week before, to visit the Rockville location. Both times the front door had a sign indicating that they were closed for the day. I tried calling their number (301-294-7808) several times over the past two weeks but the phone was never answered. Today, a call to that number gets a "that number is not in service" message. I think that this may spell the end for this location.

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I drove by over the weekend and I thought I saw a sign that said they were closed for remodeling. Was that no longer there?

All I did was a drive-by. The door was propped open and the space looked empty. I did not stare too long for fear of rear-ending the car in front of me. I just checked and the phone is still disconnected, which I think would be odd if it was just a remodeling with the same business reopening. Maybe I will go by tomorrow and actually stop the car and read whatever is there to read.

actually stop the car

It did stop. Chain Bridge. Mid-span. During rush hour. 3 hours to get a tow truck. It was special. I am not driving anywhere today. B)

Edited by dcs
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This is a small "Vietnamese Deli" wedged into a corner in Hechinger Plaza in Langley Park/Hyattsville, at the corner of Riggs and 193. Apparently it has been there for some years, now neighbors to the H&A Grocery (in the former Hechingers space).

The menu has a large selection of banh mi, plus rice and noodle dishes and several soups. There is a large refrigerated section with drinks and prepared desserts (three color dessert, some other kinds of pudding things, all $2), also some grocery type items, and an area with a few buns, spring rolls, etc. There are only three tables, and most of their business seems to be takeout. I think the banh mi are around $3/each, with a "buy five get one free" offer. If you get the three color dessert (che be mau), the refrigerator is cold enough to solidify the coconut cream, and you will need to wait for it to warm up if you want to have it more like a drink.

I'm not an expert on banh mi and have only tried the banh mi at Ba Le a few times. Usually I get the roast pork or bbq pork - these banh mi are a bit more moist than I am used to, I think due to the pickled vegetables. I need to remember to eat the banh mi as soon as I can so they don't get too soggy.

I've also tried the crab and tomato soup, which came with a dish of condiments similar to what you would see with pho, and consisted of tomato, crab, and pork on a mass of vermicelli rice noodles. I liked this soup a lot, and want to try some of the other soups. I'm not sure if they have the usual pho, but there was some spicy beef soup on the menu.

Much of the take-out orders to Vietnamese clientele seem to be the rice and noodle dishes, so these bear further investigation as well. I frequently shop at the H&A market, and this makes a nice stop for a snack or lunch.

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I am very thankful that Ba Le in FC is open 24 hours. I am not thankful that they charge higher prices compared to Eden Center, but when one is craving a banana/plantain and tapioca che ($2.50) for some crazy reason after drinking with friends, well, hey, whose to complain on price? It was a solid version, not clumpy, nicely coconut-y and well-cooked plantains. It's just that darn price-to-amount ratio again.

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I am very thankful that Ba Le in FC is open 24 hours. I am not thankful that they charge higher prices compared to Eden Center, but when one is craving a banana/plantain and tapioca che ($2.50) for some crazy reason after drinking with friends, well, hey, whose to complain on price? It was a solid version, not clumpy, nicely coconut-y and well-cooked plantains. It's just that darn price-to-amount ratio again.

Their packaged house-made beef jerky is good (sorry Mary, I know you don't eat beef). However, the last time I was in there, they had raised the price of a tub (perhaps a 16-ounce clear-plastic fold-over tub) from a reasonable $10-ish to a ridiculous $20 or so - I absolutely took a pass. Hopefully, this was just mislabeling - these jerkys have some type of fruit flavor to go along with the ample addition of MSG, but they really are good. I'm not at all a fan of their Bahn Mi, but at 4 AM? It's this or 7-11.

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Today the sign said: Pho Nom Nom coming soon

It looks like the Langley Park Ba Le may have closed.  It was not open this evening at 6 pm, and there was a "for lease" sign in the window.

 

The Rockville and Langley Park locations closed, but Falls Church is still open 24 hours.

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Baby's swimming lessons are around the corner so @MichaelBDC and I stopped by and picked up some sandwiches and other treats as a trusted friend recommended this place. We both got the Dac Biet, and while it was pretty good, it wasn't the best we've had in the area...by far. I also picked up a Che Ba Mau, and it was barely passable. Wouldn't order it again. @MichaelBDC also got some banana dumplings and beef jerky. I had a bite of the beef jerky and it was too dry and not great. 

We went to Banh Mi DC pre-baby and will go there again this weekend for a more recent comparison. 

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46 minutes ago, eatruneat said:

Baby's swimming lessons are around the corner so @MichaelBDC and I stopped by and picked up some sandwiches and other treats as a trusted friend recommended this place. We both got the Dac Biet, and while it was pretty good, it wasn't the best we've had in the area...by far. I also picked up a Che Ba Mau, and it was barely passable. Wouldn't order it again. @MichaelBDC also got some banana dumplings and beef jerky. I had a bite of the beef jerky and it was too dry and not great. 

We went to Banh Mi DC pre-baby and will go there again this weekend for a more recent comparison. 

You know, I found a place just off Route 50 called Lee's Sandwiches. It's apparently a California-based chain, and had pretty much the best baguettes I've had in a DC-area Banh-Mi shop. If you're heading to Banh Mi DC Sandwich, don't sleep on Lee's.

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