If there’s one food I don’t fuck around with, it’s a pork roll.
I will eat pork rolls before most other foods. Give me the choice of a Michelin star dinner and one of these delicious babies, it’s banh mi all the way. It isn’t even a choice.
That being said, I’m very much devoted to the banh mi for providing me with a relatively healthy, inexpensive and convenient lunch food – one that sadly (having grown up in a country town where there was a total of one Vietnamese family) I didn’t get to enjoy until I was in my early 20s.
Since then, I have travelled across the country and tried banh mi after banh mi. I love the fact that such a consistently delicious food can come out of some of the grungiest looking bakeries you’ve ever seen. Right next to that beloved neenish tart (that honestly I’ve never seen anyone buy), and the vanilla custard slice that seems to follow me throughout my life, is the signature silver bain-marie overflowing with grated carrots and coriander. And that sight makes me smile from ear to ear. I rarely get more frustrated than when I roll past a ‘Hot Bread’ store and I don’t see this little silver fridge of wonder.
Now, by no means does this article constitute every bakery in Sydney, but below are listed the greatest banh mi makers I’ve yet experienced. Price is no indication, by the way; the best rolls are those with a good bread/meat/veggie/sauce ratio, which is trickier than you’d think. No one wants a dry banh mi, but if you are dripping brown liquid through the foil-lined packet then it’s too far the other way.
Tried and true. This renovated terrace house is home to the tastiest crispy pork banh mi around. Help yourself to unlimited iced tea while you eat.
2. Vita Hot Bread, Padstow
I found this absolute knockout of a sandwich while touring the area – hot BBQ pork and a finger-licking BBQ sauce. Pity it’s tucked so far away… although, the trip is worth it.
3. Marrickville Pork Roll
The original and the best. The pork is plentiful and juicy, and the ratio is always on point.
4. King’s Hot Bread, Hurstville
Amazing baguettes set the scene here. Each baguette is so soft on the inside it melts in your mouth. Super cheap at $4.50 for pork.
5. Delish Pork Roll & Juice Bar, Newtown
This bright green underground haven is great for the quick in-n-out roll. Try the chicken rolls (which I admit is blasphemy) with a freshly squeezed juice.
These girls are cash only, but there’s an ATM across the road. Right next to Capitol Theatre, they warm the bread, which is a glorious addition I hadn’t even considered. They also serve sugar cane juice to whet the palate.
7. Le Cafe, Crows Nest
The staff here are some of the friendliest, most generous and warm-hearted people I have met… and they’re on the North Shore.
8. Enmore Delicious Roll
The pork rolls are fresh and cheap, with an especially tasty serve of pickled carrot.
9. Norton Bakery, Leichhardt
Here they use more mayonnaise than usual, but it’s totally forgivable. The staff are so quick at making them it’s fun to watch.
Great meat-to-veg ratio, and at $5, it’s a steal in Surry Hills. Try the assorted rice paper rolls.