We've been dropping by Mascot for years and there's nearly always a hefty queue at Hong Ha Hot Bread. We thought we'd avoid the crowds by going on Sunday. Yeah right.
The queue moves quite fast - there are multiple people behind the counter and they can flop and flip that pork onto a crispy roll faster than a Honda Dream.
In our bloated opinion it's the bread rolls themselves that are the star of the show, there's a certain subtle oomf to these babies that we haven't found elsewhere. With such high turnover Hong Ha bakes multiple batches of rolls throughout the day so they're always super fresh.
The fillings are good but nothing out of the ordinary. We'd go for more pate and less mayo; more cucumber, green onions and coriander and less carrot. But that's just us, there's a permanent queue of regulars who would disagree.
Either way, if you're mad on banh mi, or even just banh mi curious, it's definitely worth lining up to try those super fresh bread rolls.
- Classic pork roll with the lot - $5 - pate fiends should ask for more.
- Meatball roll with the lot (no cheese) - $5. Having cheese on a Vietnamese roll just doesn't feel right. The meatballs here were squishy and tasty, not fried. Kind of a Viet rissole sambo. Shawn has a rissole fetish and loved it.
- Chicken roll with the lot - $5 - we'd read all kinds of high praise for the Hong Ha chicken roll but we couldn't get the attraction, it was nice but tasted more like a regular western chicken/mayo/salad roll than anything Vietnamese. Perhaps it depends who makes it.
- BBQ pork roll with the lot $5 - this turned out to be the surprise favourite, lovely Vietnamese flavours.
$5 is a fair shake for banh mi, but you can get a can of drink for a $1 which sweetens the deal.
Hong Ha is in the middle of the clump of shops at Mascot - 1151 Botany Rd, just look for the queue. We always feel sorry for the banh mi lady a couple of doors down with no customers, we will get in there shortly and give her rolls a try. Our favourite banh mi at the moment is Marrickville Rolls, the joint next door is excellent as well.
If you make it over this way then have a wander up and down the street, this strip is an interesting collage of new and old Australia.
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