The Washington Post
Best banh mi photo
(James M. Thresher/FTWP)

Best banh mi

Catherine Zuckerman  |  Updated 11/23/2011

Savory cold cuts, meatballs and pates are layered with crisp veggies and served on baguettes.


Ba Le

Langley Park, MD

This Vietnamese deli has locations in Rockville and Hyattsville: Head to the latter for sandwiches, and order the pork breast. Its pale, thinly sliced rounds of meat rest underneath long strips of snappy pickled vegetables, ensuring that every bite packs that perfect, vinegary punch. $3.


Banh Mi DC

Falls Church, VA

There are 24 sandwiches to choose from at this bustling takeout, where the slim, torpedo-shaped baguettes are baked inhouse and the requisite cilantro is applied with gusto. The pork meatball melts in your mouth; the fuzzy texture of the dried pork is unusual, but its funky, salty taste makes it worth trying. $3.50-$3.65.


Dickson Wine Bar

Washington, DC

This U Street hangout has good drinks, a friendly vibe and a trio of nicely executed banh mi, the best of which is made with steak. Loaded with strips of prime rib-eye from Kansas cattle, it's a beefy -- and welcome -- break from convention. $10 to $12.


Nhu Lan Sandwich Shop

Falls Church, VA

The Eden Center is famous for its wide selection of everything Vietnamese, including banh mi, and this tiny gem peddles the best of the best. The "combination" is delectable for its toothsome slices of ham and headcheese, fresh, plentiful garnishes and rich "secret butter." Try to eat just one. $3.50.


Pho 14

Washington, DC

The name says soup, but there's terrific banh mi at this Columbia Heights establishment, too. The pate is pleasantly gamy, and the pork just fatty enough. Grilled chicken is also good, its sweetness held deftly in balance by the jalapeno heat and pickled vegetable tang. $3.99.


Pho House

Germantown, MD

Montgomery County, here's your fix for banh mi. All are dressed with homemade mayonnaise, plus the standard accouterments. The House Special, featuring three types of ham, delivers harmonious bite after harmonious bite of meaty goodness; the grilled pork iteration ranks tops in its category. $4.25.


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