Lee Tran Lam

How to make bánh mì

Chef Dan Hong's step-by-step method to create the popular Vietnamese street food snack bánh mì.

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Dan Hong won the Josephine Pignolet​ Young Chef of the Year Award in 2008 and is now executive chef at Merivale (Ms G's, El Loco, Mr. Wong and Papi Chulo​). He's co-author of the Mr Hong cookbook and his sneaker game is pretty strong – he owns around 100 pairs. 

Dan Hong recommends the best places to eat and drink in Sydney

A platter of Peking duck with pancakes at Mr Wong, where Dan Hong is executive chef.
A platter of Peking duck with pancakes at Mr Wong, where Dan Hong is executive chef. Photo: Edwina Pickles

What did you enjoy eating when you were growing up? Asian food was a given every day, so as a kid I always loved McDonald's because it was a treat. I also loved the local corner shop takeaway – potato scallops and burgers, chips or any fried item that was in the hot display.

Where do you like to eat for breakfast? I love to eat yum cha. I usually go to Palace Chinese for traditional trolley-style dim sum. I also love Boon Cafe for its green juice and brown rice bowls.

Favourite place to get ramen? Manpuku or Ramen Ikkyu.

Worth seeking out: the laksa at Malay Chinese Takeaway.
Worth seeking out: the laksa at Malay Chinese Takeaway. Photo: Jennifer Soo

Where in Sydney is worth travelling for a meal? Cabramatta, in general, is worth the travel. I like to go to different restaurants for specific dishes – all in one day. Start at Phu Quoc for roll-your-own sugar cane prawns, then Dong Ba for bun bo hue, Tan Viet for crispy skin chicken, Thy for banh xeo, Huong Xua for Hanoi-style dishes, Battambang for Cambodian food, Kaysone for sweets and Red Lea for hot chips. Then you can check out the markets for exotic fruits and vegies as well as seafood shops and fabric stalls.

What's your favourite cheap eat in Sydney? It would have to be Malay Chinese Takeaway on Hunter Street in the city for its laksa and har mee.

And your favourite special-occasion place? Sokyo at The Star – for some of the best sushi in Sydney.

Boon Cafe: a great place to jump-start your day, according to Dan Hong.
Boon Cafe: a great place to jump-start your day, according to Dan Hong. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Favourite place to get a sugar fix? Lorraine's Patisserie has the best pastries. For ice-cream, I go to Cow and the Moon in Enmore. I also love Aqua S soft serve and I pretty much get a Chatime iced tea at least once a week

Where are your favourite late-night eats in Sydney? I love Golden Century for live seafood, Arisun for Korean fried chicken and Doo Dee Paidang for its Thai noodle soups.

Favourite guilty pleasure? McDonald's breakfast.

A defensive layer of fairy floss safeguards this marshmallow-topped soft serve at Aqua S.
Marshmallow-topped soft serve with fairy floss at the Instagram-friendly Aqua S. Photo: Callan Boys

If you dine out with a friend who is a vegetarian or on a special diet, is there a place you like to take them? Probably any restaurant that is run by Brent Savage (Yellow, Monopole, Bentley). His wife is vegetarian, so he seems to have a way with vegetables.

Favourite place for burgers? Burger Project or Jack's.

What do you think is the most underrated place to eat in Sydney? [Merivale's] Coogee Pavilion. Because it's such a big operation, people don't realise just how amazing Jordan Toft's food really is.

Dan Hong at Mr Wong.
Dan Hong at Mr Wong. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Best spot for fried chicken? Belles Hot Chicken or Arisun.

Favourite place for a drink? I don't really drink that much, but I do go to [Merivale's] Palmer & Co. after long shift for a negroni every now and then.

See Dan Hong at Wok On, which takes place on March 2 at the Establishment Main Bar in the Sydney CBD.