Fresh crusty rolls, a Marrickville institution, generous fillings and 3am destinations – here's where to find the best Vietnamese sandwiches in Sydney.
Marrickville Pork Roll
A Marrickville institution, this hole-in-the-wall has since expanded to Darling Square and Haymarket but it's the original that still draws the crowds. Rightly so, when the pâté is just the right kind of rich, and the pork – be it luncheon-meat style, barbecue or crackling belly – is spot on. The roll is crusty, the fillings juicy, and the speed and generous prices only add to the appeal.
236A Illawarra Road, Marrickville, 0411 167 169
Pork rolls from Bay Ngo in Bankstown. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer
Banh Mi Bay Ngo
A fixture on Bankstown's main strip since the late '80s, the banh mi at Bay Ngo are all about balance, but it's the added extras that sell it. A standout barbecue pork variety is made all the better with the addition of a fried egg, while the fishcake is a refreshing alternative. No wonder the queues keep coming.
With more than 30 years in the game, Hong Ha knows a thing or two about a good sandwich. For them, that translates to extra-crusty bread filled generously with cucumber, spring onion, carrot, coriander and chilli (if you want it) and your choice of filling. The thin-sliced belly that comes in the pork version is a highlight, but there's a mean schnitzel version, too. Just be prepared to queue.
1151 Botany Road, Mascot, 02 9667 2069
Top Ryde Baker's House
With owners combining Cambodian and Chinese heritage, the approach here varies a little from your standard, with char siu and roast pork much like that from your favourite Chinese barbecue house. Both are packed generously into rolls with salad and just the right amount of chicken-liver pâté and mayo, then topped with fried shallots for crunch. Lemongrass beef speaks to Cambodia, too. The through-line? One of Sydney's best.
Top Ryde City Shopping Centre, 109 Blaxland Road, Ryde, 02 9807 8989, instagram.com/toprydebakershouse
It may be a chain with almost 10 locations across Sydney, but Destination Roll knows its stuff. The crispy pork roll – scented with five spice – is always on high rotation, and the meatball is a stand out, too. Whatever your flavour, generous heat from pickled green chillies and good salad are constants. The clincher, though? The bacon and omelette roll. Call it the new breakfast of champions.
7/103 George Street, Parramatta; other various locations, destinationroll.com.au
Alex N Rolls
Just down the road from Marrickville Pork Roll, Alex N Rolls' point of difference is in striking the right balance of textures. Expect to see lettuce leaves among the coriander (picked with care and attention), with daikon pickle and sliced white onion adding sharpness. Don't miss their cheesy omelette roll, either.
321 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, 0412 374 339
The Hot Bread Shop
Going strong since 1989, The Hot Bread Shop (known to some as Minh Hung Hot Bread) is straight and to the point. The menu is small, the fillings are classic and at $4, it's one of the city's most generously priced. What sells it, though, is the texture of the pâté, which oozes gently throughout the roll with every bite. Hot tip? Ask for extra.
Shop 9/10-12 Hughes Street, Cabramatta, 02 9723 0094, the-hot-bread-shop.business.site
Viet Hoa Hot Bread
Banh mi isn't in short supply in Sydney's Vietnamese heartland, but what sets Viet Hoa apart, apart from its crusty bread, solid meatballs and generous fillings, is the fact that it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Craving a pork-skin roll at three in the morning? This is the place.
107 John Street, Cabramatta, 02 9728 2518
KK Bakery is that rare banh mi shop where the chicken draws just as much attention as the pork roll. Made with dark meat that's shredded to order, then packed onto a roll with tangy tamarind sauce and just enough trimmings to keep the focus on the meat, it's one heck of handful. Want more texture? Try adding shredded pork skin to the mix.
2/85 John Street, Cabramatta
Banh Xeo Bar
Banh Xeo Bar may be better known for its namesake, but the banh mi here are something else. Fillings range from classics to crumbed snapper, fried chicken, beef tongue or eggplant croquetas served with all the usual suspects. The soy-sauce fried egg is a cult classic and a rubble of lemongrass-chilli condiment adds heat and fragrance.
The Cannery, 11/61-71 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery, 02 8542 5259, instagram.com/banhxeobar