Banh Mi aficionados - Ba Le's baking operation is now online at the Kingsway location. They had the ovens installed in Nov(?) but last week was the first attempt at a real run of Vietnamese baguettes. After a week of abortive attempts, they are finally using their own buns.
It's a pretty big investment for them. The baker went to France to learn the craft, etc.
They used to get their bread from Empress (kitty corner from them on Kingsway) - but they were not satisfied with product (crumb was too dry, the crust was too soft, and hours of operation were too short).
Tung Hing down the road always had the upperhand since they had their own baking operation. Tung Hing's baguettes were always fresher and they never ran out of them. Ba Le used to run out of buns regularly. (Ba Le had a much better selection of filling than Tung Hing, however.)
Verdict? Fantastic. The baguettes were nearly perfect - eggshell thin, crispy crust, beautiful slashing, and a soft pillowy crumb. It just leapfrogged over Tung Hing as my favourite banh mi joint. I hope they keep the quality consistent.
701 Kingsway (at Fraser) - right at the "Triangle"