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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hong Ha Hot Bread, Mascot

pork roll innards
Banh mi Vietnamese pork roll $3.00

Is the humble banh mi not God's gift to tastebuds?

Each mouthful is a contrast between crunchy baguette and fluffy innards, creamy pate and peppery spring onion, sweetened pork and pickled carrot, and salty fish sauce with soothing cucumber. A scattering of lettuce adds crunch, slivers of raw onion will linger for hours later, and the prized lone sprig of coriander is always placed with delicate precision.

The Vietnamese pork roll is prolific throughout suburban bakeries across Sydney but few are so publicly lauded as those from Hong Ha Hot Bread.

hong ha hot bread

The queues have been snaking down the street since 1986, apparently, and each time we arrive there is indeed, always someone waiting in line.

hong ha servery

Three measly dollars is all it takes to provide a feast for the all senses. That and the patience to wait until it's finally your turn at the head of the queue. As a result I usually start chomping on my roll even before I've left the bakery.

And the definitive difference between these and your everyday suburban pork roll? We certainly notice the difference in the baguette, which is much crunchier and flakier in crust than most. Banh mi aficionados swear that the slices of pork meat are marginally thicker too.

pork roll

Your Hong Ha banh mi fix is not necessarily a Saturday drive away either. In addition to branches in Hurstville and Cabramatta, Hong Ha are also the people behind Red Roll, the fancy pork roll shop inside World Square in the Sydney CBD. Sure the price has been jacked up to $4.90 but that hasn't stopped flocks of city suits liberally adorning themselves with a trail of tell-tale bread crumbs down their fronts.

Hong Ha Hot Bread
1151 Botany Road, Mascot, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9667 2069

Also at:

Red Roll
Shop 10.25 Liverpool Lane East
World Square, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9264 6228

Hong Ha Hurstville
324 Forest Road, Hurstville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9580 1268

Hong Ha Fresh Rolls
Shop A18/53 Park Road, Cabramatta, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9723 0702
31 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 8/09/2006 10:46:00 pm


  • At 8/09/2006 11:31 pm, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    been going here for yrs can't get enough! extra onion and chilli please

  • At 8/10/2006 12:01 am, Blogger Mark Vicuna said…

    ah ok, there's something to look forward to when I'm out that way - but no chillis? but it's hard to sway from house of pies in that area - which i prefer to harry's.

    I'll give my recommendation to a small bakery out at hoxton park. It's a far way away, but if you're in the area and have $2, its a dead set winner for me. The bakery near the big fruit and vege shop in campsie is also pretty good.

  • At 8/10/2006 12:48 am, Blogger papa lazarou said…

    havent actually tried this one... usually go to the one opposite flemington station.. for less than $3... i've heard there is a new pork roll shop/bakery opened in cbd york street that i must find...

  • At 8/10/2006 9:18 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    I think their bread is very unique. No other place I've been to has bread so crusty.

    Why are these places so stingy with coriander? Why can't they be as be as generous as they are with their chilli?

    So true about the trail of bread crumbs down the front.

  • At 8/10/2006 10:35 pm, Blogger Anastasia said…

    oh these are SO good!! Ive been there quite a few times and always a line of people out the door!!
    Mark - thanks for the tip of the bakery in campsie, Im not too far away!

  • At 8/10/2006 10:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In Melbourne you go to the outer suburbs like Springvale and there's a heap of them. The brak is very tasty and crunchy and one place makes the best pate

  • At 8/10/2006 11:19 pm, Blogger jismgor said…

    i think the best place ever to get a pork roll is in cabramatta. =)

  • At 8/11/2006 12:07 am, Blogger ZY said…

    I love Hong Ha and I've been going for years. But the problem I've always had with the place is consistency - sometimes the bread is mroe or less crusty (though alwasys good) and the proportions of vegies (like coriander) vary dramatically depending on who serves you.

    Yes, you can have chilli in the prok roll. Sometimes you can have chilli seeds and those fibrous bits that give the hotness in the roll even when you didn't ask for it :P (causing you to choke on a potent mix of chilli and breacrumbs!)

  • At 8/11/2006 1:53 pm, Blogger Julia said…

    Haha I was there just yesterday after I bought up big at A&S Select Meat next door. I had a black wool skirt on and was picking out crumbs all afternoon. Very true Veruca about the coriander - the only thing lacking in these wonderful rolls! Their spring rolls and rice paper rolls are good too.

    Has anyone tried their meatball rolls? A perverse part of me always wants to, but I can never say no to the original and best pork roll.

  • At 8/11/2006 3:29 pm, Blogger cin said…

    oh those bread crumbs- they always give it away don't they!

  • At 8/11/2006 7:58 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Those rolls used to be known as the $2 bread rolls to all the kids at school since they literally cost $2. Nowadays most places sell them for $3. You do have to be careful with these rolls in regards to the temperature that they keep the meat and especially the pate and butter. There have been quite a few outbreaks of food poisoning here in Melbourne due to those Vietnamese pork rolls.

  • At 8/12/2006 3:04 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Pickles - I usually ask for extra chilli these days but now I'm starting to re-think the onion. It lingers on your tongue all arvo!!!

    Hi Mark - Oh I'm a big fan of chilli. I just couldn't be bothered trying to re-balancing the pace of my text to fit it in.

    I haven't been out Hoxton Park way, but I have been to the bakery in Campsie. The trick is to befriend the bakery owners methinks. Then they might even give you an extra sprig of coriander!!

    Hi Papa Lazarou - Haven't been to that one either (argh, so many potential research!). I actually just received an email from the owner of that new pork roll bakery. Their name is Chop Chop and they're at 36 York St, Sydney. Haven't been there yet though. Let me know what you find.

    Hi Veruca - Yeah my heart always skips a beat when they accidently pick up two sprigs of coriander, and then I almost weep when they gingerly retrieve one and put it back. ARGH!!!

    Their bread is sooo super crusty. And I don't think I've ever been able to eat a pork roll without looking like a total pig afterwards!

    Hi AnastasiaC - Pork rolls are one of the biggest things I miss when I'm out of the country. It's so fresh, and tasty, and generous... and cheap!

    Hi Anonymous - Thanks for the tips for the Melbourne readers! I haven't been down south for a while. I should. So much good shopping!

    Hi jismgor - Cabramatta is definitely Little Vietnam. When I'm there I'm usually more swayed by promises of bun thit nuong, or sugar cane juice or pho dac biet!

    Hi zy - I really think I should have mentioned chilli in my original post now. I really do heart chilli. And I love the super hot ones. They are the best!

    Hi Julia - lol. Crumbs and wool would have the same adhesion properties as velcro methinks!

    I haven't tried their meatballs either. Like you I'm addicted to pork rolls. I've had "a bite" from a meatball roll from another Vietnamese bakery before. It was all too meaty and wet for my liking. Like eating warm spaghetti meatballs in a salad roll.

    Hi Cin - lol. Absolutely. I'm constantly brushing myself down between each bite!

    Hi thanh7580 - Oh agreed. I know lots of people who still call them "two-dollar-rolls".

    I do remember those news stories from Melbourne a few years ago. I suppose that's why I tend to go to the busier bakeries. In fact, I do with most eateries I patronage.

  • At 8/13/2006 10:28 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think Hong Ha is over-rated!
    You should try VeeVees at MASCOT, just a few stores down. More for your money....

  • At 8/13/2006 2:14 pm, Blogger My float said…

    Have never tried the pork, but LOVE their chicken rolls. MMMMM...delicious!

  • At 8/13/2006 3:38 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Anonymous - Thanks for your comment. I've heard a few people declare their allegiance to Vee Vee's. I shall have to investigate.

    Hi my float - I've never tried their chicken rolls. Pork gets me every time. I don't think I'd be able to forgo the sweet goodness and flavour of all my favourite pork meats in a rainbow of tasty colours...

  • At 8/14/2006 12:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hong Ha expanded last year in to the glossy world of the food court with its Red Roll. There's one in World Square which is pretty darn good, but you pay twice the price!

    Now that's to be expected, but there's my fave on George Street in Chinatown. Can't remember the name right now but I'll check it out and let you know!

  • At 8/14/2006 9:06 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Benn - Yup, I mentioned Red Roll at World Square in the original post (including the price hike!).

    And I presume you're talking about City House on George Street? That's actually my preferred city-based pork roll supplier. They do a good sauce! And the meat and portions are reasonably generous (for city prices--the 'burbs still win hands down for value).

    I have a City House post waiting in the wings. I thought I'd spread out the pork roll posts just a little!

  • At 8/23/2006 9:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oops... goes to show how I scan what I read. :)

    City House is the one. I went past tonight. I worked at World Square for well over a year and I only ate the pork rolls, never dined in. Still, it's close to home, so I should definately try!

    Working up the other end of town now means the best I can get of any sort of take away food is pretty well limited to Iku!

  • At 8/23/2006 10:30 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Benn - No worries. I'm just hoping you were distracted by the photos, and not bored by my verbose ramblings. lol. And no, you don't need to answer that one.

    City House does pretty good eat-in grub. Their campfire beef is always fun. But yep, I've been meaning to post on them. I'm slowly working my way through the backlog!

  • At 1/23/2007 12:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    These rolls are the BEST!
    We used to get them all the time when we worked in Alexandria now we moved to Riverwood and so did they! they have a bakeryn in Hurstville...that DELIVERS!

    We all got Hong Ha for lunch today and they were GREAT!

    For $6 a drink, roll and spring roll you can not go wrong!

    It beats the pricey cafe in our complex anyday!!!! :) :)

    2 thumbs up!

  • At 1/27/2007 1:57 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Anon - A Hong Ha delivery sounds like a great idea for lunch! Glad they've followed you. Pork rolls for lunch is one of my favourites!

  • At 2/22/2007 3:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where is City House on George Street? Would love to try. Do they happen to sell Vietmanese iced coffee? Have been to Red Roll and Chop Chop (Red Roll's much better--better sauce, better bread), but neither sell the coffee.

  • At 8/20/2007 4:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You guys havent tryed anything until you try the cheese and bacon rolls at the Chinese bakery in Five Dock. (The one next door to Gloria jeans)

  • At 2/09/2008 1:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The only good thing about working in the industrial wastelands of Alexandria is being a short trip away from Hong Ha for lunch. People in my office even have a Hong Ha dance. It's quite sad.

    I'm a big fan of the chicken rolls, but the pork ones are great as well. So yummy and cheap.

  • At 2/18/2008 1:37 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Whisp - City House is a few doors up from the Mountbatten Hotel, near Ultimo Road.

    Hi Anon - Cheese and bacon rolls huh? Thanks for the tip. Will have to try to remember that one next time I'm in Five Dock.

    Hi Ashlee - ROFL. I love the idea of a Hong Ha dance! That is just too brilliant!

  • At 6/11/2008 2:44 am, Blogger S said…

    I'm a Vietnamese girl :) I like banhmy too :P

  • At 6/15/2008 11:25 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Rosa - I love banh mi too :)

  • At 5/13/2010 1:07 pm, Blogger HOUSE said…

    This bread shop is so over rated, I grew up in the area and if people think it is good now...You should of been there in the 90s when the quality was much better. I suppose when you grow in business with the supply and demand, quality can be comprised. They got fined by the authorities for there Health Standards...Will not go there.


  • At 5/13/2010 1:09 pm, Blogger HOUSE said…


  • At 6/01/2010 1:26 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi HOUSE - Thanks for the info and link. The fine was issued in 2007 so one would like these issues have been corrected since.

  • At 10/08/2011 5:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The quality these days are not as good as before. Last week I've tried the roll at the new bakery nearby, Jenny something, just few steps away since I was in rush and the queue was too long, their roll are quite good actually.


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