Sunday, 11 February 2018

Banh Mi Quest: Battle of the Ba-Les

Everyone says Ba-Le has great banh mi because they bake their own bread in-house. What's the difference between the two Ba-Les then? We went and tried them both. First up, Ba-Le Sandwich Shop (Chinatown).

We had high hopes. It was a small hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pops kind of place. Our old favourite (Golden Garden, who's stopped selling sandwiches now and sparked this quest) was just a block away. Everything pointed to this being our potential replacement. Unfortunately, it did not deliver.

Cost per Sandwich: $4.00
Bread: 1/5 - As soon as you touch it, you know it's stale. It was too dry and too flaky.
Sauce: 1/5 - The consistency is very thick, which may be why it didn't spread and ended up being so little of it we couldn't tell there was any sauce at all
Filling: 2/5 - Too much onion, not enough chicken or anything else. The onion is all you taste.
Meat: 1/5 - Barely there and too dry.
Value: 2/5 - Average price. We would eat it again if we had no other choice, but it's hardly worth it.

There's a reason the Ba-Le on Main Street is a "Sandwich shop" and the one on Kingsway is a "Deli and Bakery". The bread here is baked in-house and just about as fresh as you can get it. There's always a line, so it pays to call ahead to order - unlike the one on Main Street, where it's set up like a subway and made immediately. This is likely another hint at how everything at Main Street's just not as fresh as Kingsway.

Cost per Sandwich: $4.50
Bread: 5/5 - Even though it's toasted, it still feels soft, fresh, and moist.
Sauce: 4/5 - Good consistency and amount, but could do with more seasoning.
Filling: 3/5 - Good texture and flavour of vegetables, decent amount of chicken, but not enough vegetables.
Meat: 4/5 - Good amount of chicken and moist, but could do with more seasoning.
Value: 4/5 - Pricier than other places, but worth it. The bread is the freshest we've had.

Winner: Ba-Le Deli & Bakery (Kingsway)

Ba Le Deli & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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