Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bánh Mì (Vietnamese Bread Roll) - Fairfield, Cabramatta & Ultimo

It is said to be one of the best street food in the world.
Bánh mì (Vietnamese bread roll)

And I second that.

Bánh mì or Vietnamese bread roll was the first food I ate in Sydney, literally. I was so intrigued by the look of big crusty bread sandwiching so many things like it will explode in any second. I saw a man eating it and the aunt offered "Do you want Vietnamese bread roll?". And it started my affair with the Vietnamese street food which is easily found in most parts of Sydney.

Bánh mì is said to be the Vietnamese term for general bread, especially crusty bread/baguette. However, the term is now generally used when addressing the sandwich made from the crusty bread. The sandwich it involves various condiments, which may differ in different stores, but usually it has pate, pickled carrot, cucumber, spring onion, coriander, and different kinds of protein such as pork (grilled/shredded/BBQ/meatballs/terrine), chicken (grilled/terrine/shredded), beef (grilled/BBQ/floss), or seafood.

It's awesome because there are so many textures in that sandwich, and the flavours are light but very tasty. The sellers usually bake their own bread rolls so it's still fresh, crusty outside but so fluffy inside. I like thin smear of pate, but I find that too much pate doesn't make the sandwich enjoyable anymore. All of the veggies are usually cold, but if they are pickled they'll have subtle sweetness. The protein items are very important, I don't like it if they are too bland.

It's one of my favourite light lunch items, although it can be messy when being attacked. Anyways here are the six places I have had bánh mì from. Please share if you have your favourite place to get the Vietnamese bread rolls. I love recommendations.

1. Smart Bakery, Fairfield
 Corner or Smart St. and The Crescent St. , Fairfield NSW 2165

This is the place where I buy bánh mì the most often. It's nearest to home, very convenient.

Price range (for bread rolls): $3 - $3.20 (some more cents if you ask for extra fillings)

Smart bakery, Fairfield
Condiments in bainmarie

Pros: fresh baguettes, complete and generously given veggies, sweet & tasty pickled carrots. The shredded chicken in the chicken roll is mixed with mayo, making it very delicious. The price is the cheapest I have ever encountered.

Cons: weird looking cubes of pork (I don't even think it's pork) although there's no problem in flavour department. The lettuce in chicken roll can be dry, ask for extra mayo.

Bánh mì thịt (Vietnamese pork roll)
Bánh mì ga (Vietnamese chicken roll)

2. Meng's Bakery, Fairfield
88 Ware Street, Fairfield NSW 2165

The location can be a bit tricky to find, but I notice that they are quite popular among locals. The bakery also have killer danishes.

Price range: $3.40 - $4 (more cents for extra fillings)

Pros: fresh baguettes and they give a real slice of pork in the pork roll, although it's tasteless. The veggies are complete and generously given.

Cons: too bland for my palate, the chicken in the chicken rolls isn't mixed with mayo, the pickled carrot isn't as sweet as hoped.

Meng's pork roll
Meng's chicken roll

3. Bread Rolls on Harris, Ultimo
646 Harris Street NSW 2000

Closest from the uni, this place is where I usually buy bread rolls for quick lunch. They have various types of bread rolls but my fav is the BBQ pork.

Price for BBQ pork roll: $4

Pros: really delicious char siu (sweet BBQ pork), fresh veggies and baguette, chilli is given generously and it's really hot; perfect for those with high heat threshold.

Cons: somehow this is the messiest bread roll to eat, I think the bread slicing needs improvement so the filling can be put in more neatly.

BBQ pork roll from Bread Rolls on Harris

4. Vietnamese Hot Bread, Cabramatta
John Street, Cabramatta

As the famous Vietnamese community area in Sydney, Cabramatta is said to have the best Vietnamese bread rolls. That is true, in my opinion.

This bread rolls stand doesn't really have an obcious name, or it is just me who is completely blind about Vietnamese language. It's easy to spot though, I think it's the most popular bread roll seller on John Street.

Vietnamese 'Hot Bread' signage on John Street, Cabramatta

Price for pork roll: $4

Pros: great flavour, tastiest pate I've ever had so far, fresh veggies and bigger baguette, nice pickled carrot and sliced pork.

Cons: price is slightly higher than the others bread roll sellers, and the queue at peak hours.

Pork roll

5. Universal Hot Bread, Cabramatta
John Street, Cabramatta (beside Pho Viet)

I'm not really sure either of this place's name. I assume the 'universal' is a part of the place's name. It's isn't as popular as the other one above, but the Vietnamese lady behind the counter is far friendlier.

Price for pork roll: $3.50

Universal hot bread stall

Pros: the pork terrine has pepper seeds, making every bite to be more interesting. Fresh veggies and baguette, the sliced pork has very subtle saltiness, they also have mustard and sweet chilli sauce if you ask for them.

Cons: I need more carrot.

Pork roll

6. Kim Thanh Company, Cabramatta
Railway Parade, Cabramatta (at the Sky Centre building, just across the Railway Station)

This place is really easy to find, just across the railway station. They have a neighboring bread roll stand rival, but I notice that this one's more popular. I can see why, their BBQ pork meatball roll is the best I have ever had so far.

Price range: $3.30 - $4

Kim Thanh company hot bread
BBQ pork meatballs, chicken, and cheese & bacon rolls in display
Price list

Pros: the BBQ pork meatball roll is amazing, the meatballs are big and tasty. Fresh baguette and veggies, the chilli is generously given and really hot. The price is quite high but I reckon it's worth it, they even use great looking chicken (in the display pic) for the chicken roll.

Cons: more veggies can do this roll good.

Bánh mì nem nuong (Vietnamese BBQ pork meatballs roll)

Cabramatta is no joke then. They really do have the best Vietnamese bread roll, for me at least.

I'll be waiting for the day when bánh mì can be enjoyed easily in Jakarta. It's not really easy to find there, is it? I think it's great to have healthy, easy, and affordable lunch like bánh mì around Jakarta instead of those made-with-melted-plastics deep fried things (I like the ones without plastic though).

Please share if you have your fav bánh mì sellers! And do poke me if I made a mistake in the Vietnamese names.


Currency: $1 = IDR 9,500

Print Friendly and PDF


  1. yumm pork rolls! i usually get mine in marrickville :)

    1. woah so far from where i live! thanks for the info though! :))

  2. Di jkt susa tuh cari resto vietnam, bs d itung jari kali..gue paling makan di do an, enak patenya plus sayurannya seger..btw harganya kayanya susa deh buat jd street food, di do an aja sekitar 45rb an loh wkwkwk

    1. wah dimana tuh do an?
      iya sih ya, abis mesti punya bakery sendiri juga hehe. tp pasti enak banget ya kalo jadi street food! :)

    2. do an ada di menteng, artha gading, epicentrum..

      buat gue sih versi mereka aja ude enak banget ..nga tau kalok d vietnam sana kaya apaan ya rasanya wkwk *ngiler

  3. Hong Ha in Mascot have the best chicken roll, I'm not a fan of pork roll but my vietnamese friend recommends it. The secret is in the sauce.

    1. oh wow, so far! will try it someday for sure. thanks much, Liz! :)

  4. Kim Thanth Chicken Roll is the BOMB!!!! Ask the Aunty to put pork skin in the chicken roll. Its ridiculously delicious. I bought so much from them that she speaks a little bit of indonesian now :P (word here n there anyways)

    1. whoa that sounds amazing! will do it next time, thanks! :))

  5. There's a 'gourmet' banh mi place in Liverpool now, not too far from Cabra. They do a slow cooked pork roll and a few chicken varieties but my favourite there is actually the beef cooked in beer. It's blasphemous, I know :P but it's that nice.

    1. that sounds incredible! do u happen to know the name of the place?
      Thanks for dropping by, Scott! :)

  6. Kalo cari banh Mi di jakarta ada kok, namanya Cali Deli. Tapi seinget gw gak ada Porknya.

    1. Ooh..dimana tuh Cali Deli?
      Thanks for dropping by, ya! :D

  7. omg drool. jakarta needs a pork bahn mi.

    1. Totally. Thanks for dropping by, Maria!


Feel free to comment here !
It's nice to have people around :)