We've have had the chance to eat a Vietnamese pork roll at every one of these Sydney CBD places and compared them via a few simple rules:
1. Ask for a pork roll and only a pork roll. No chicken, meatball, fusion or 'specials'.
2. Different types of pork are allowed, including pulled or roast pork if that's all they do.
3. If asked for chilli say yes.
4. No variations, even if it means tomato or loads of lettuce added.
Tried over the space of a few months (and between blog name changes), here is every pork roll we've tried in this part of city and surrounds. The majority available in the mid section of the CBD seem to be from the Taste Baguette chain, we've found each store to be a little different in quality and price.
There are a number of great places to get a more traditional style roll in the city, mostly clustered at either end at Wynyard or towards Chinatown. If you're not close, jump on the free 555 bus that runs up and down George Street and find one of them, the effort is worth the trip.
See our other post on pork rolls from Central to Town Hall for a run down of what is available in the southern half of the CBD, or look at our map of where we have eaten on Pinterest.
So heading up George Street, we'll start at Market Street.
A smaller branch of the city wide chain, just outside the entrance to Myer department store.
At the lower price of $6.90 (compared to other Taste branches), this roll was different yet again to other Taste stores we have tried. Using a pork terrine as the base, the carrot shred was strongly vinegar pickled and slightly overpowered the sandwich. The pork was also quite squishily soft and not very strong in flavour, and the promised sriracha sauce was nowhere to be tasted.
Taste Baguette Bakery cafe is on the corner of George and Market Streets outside the entrance to Myer. Walk to the entrance past the homeless guy who begs out the front.
Inside David Jones Food Hall is a pop up stall from Miss Chu.
When I looked at the stall here, I couldn't see how they could possibly be making pork rolls in such a small space. I was right, they don't make the pork rolls but pull them out pre-prepared from Miss Chu catering. For $10, and for something from DJ's food hall, you would expect a little better. The pork in the roll was crisp and tasty, but not something worth a special trip to David Jones for.
The pop up stall is inside the David Jones food hall on the corner of Market and Castlereagh Streets on the Lower Ground floor, just next to the chocolate covered strawberry stand.
Taste Baguette Westfield
Walk out via the Westfield exit from the DJ's food hall and this cafe and takeaway place is on your right.
The Vietnamese classic was one of the best ones I have had from this chain. The pork terrine (they don't seem to make them with cha lua anymore) was savoury and a good amount was inside. The pickled carrot and radish mix wasn't overdone and a balanced amount. $7.50.
Taste Baguette is at Shop 2018 Westfield Shopping Centre, Pitt Street on the very bottom floor.
Further up George Street (why are all the pork roll stores in the CBD located so close to George Street?) there are a few places to get your fix.
Under the walkway that leads to Martin Place train station are a few stores for the worker bees buzzing by.
The roll here is $6.90, with a large amount of lettuce and shred but only a small amount of pork terrine. The roll was shatteringly crisp, there were crumbs everywhere, it was almost too sharp to eat.
Taste Baguette is at Shop 17, Martin Place Shopping Circle next to Yummy Cuisine (the space used to be the dining area).
Miss Chu Hot Spot
This isn't a store, but a bike drop off point for online or phone orders from Miss Chu. Stand on the corner at 1 Martin Place and wait for your roll to be delivered. Free delivery for orders over $25, so for one roll it's not worth the delivery. We also presume they are made at the same place as the David Jones ones, pre-prepared and a little underwhelming for the price. There are other really good pork roll places very close by that busy city types could spare a few moments to walk to.
Detour around the back of York street for a more trad style roll.
Vietnamese Pork Roll $6.50. Filled with lots of sweet pickled carrot and lettuce, the pork filling is only a couple of slices of the pressed pork meat and no roast pork, which is found in many less expensive rolls. Only a small amount of chilli added when chilli was requested.
Chop Chop is at 36 York Street, right next to Golf Mart.
Inside the warren of levels and stalls in the Hunter Connection and the train station underpasses are a number of Vietnamese places selling rolls to the working masses.
Hong Hai Noodle Bar
As you walk into Hunter Connection from George Street this is the first stand you will see.
There's a lot of other choices from this large stall, their pork rolls are a good price at $4.50 but the roll isn't so generously filled and the roll was a little softer than I'd like.
Hong Hai Noodle Bar is at Shop FC1, 7-13 Hunter Street, Hunter Connection, enter from George Street.
Phuong Vietnamese Food and Bread Rolls
This stand specialises in Vietnamese bread rolls and they do it well.
The pork roll competition is fierce in the Hunter Connection, this one from Phuong is classic and tasty. $4.50. A nice mix of all the essential pork roll ingredients on a good crisp on the outside, soft on the inside bun.
Phuong Vietnamese Food and Bread rolls is at Shop F10, 7-13 Hunter Street, Hunter Connection.
Pho Ha Noi
Twist to your right as you enter Hunter Connection off George Street to find this stall, or come in from the Hunter Street entrance.
$4.00 for a basic roll, the bun itself was a little less than crunchy but there was a nice big thick slice of cha lua inside. Lettuce is added in, not a lot of seasoning sauce.
They do win the prize for the best napkin served with a banh mi in Sydney.
Pho Ha Noi is at Shop F14, 7-13 Hunter Street, Hunter Connection. Enter off Hunter Street and go up the small set of stairs.
Heading across to the other side of Wynard train station now...
Little Vietnamese Food
Just down the first ramp off George Street is a narrow store selling pho and rolls.
It's amazing how these small stores along the ramps leading down to Wynyard can survive. This tiny store manages to sell noodle soups and bread rolls and is always packed, takeaway rolls include the classic pork roll for $5.00. The roll was good but a little underfilled.
Little Vietnamese Food is at Shop 52a, 301 George Street.
La Vie Coffee and Breakfast
Head downstairs and towards the underground passageway that connects back to Hunter Connection.
$5 for a pork roll at what was once a vegetarian food bar. You can see by the pork overhanging the edges this is a hearty and happy roll filled with good pork and crinkly cut carrots.
La Vie Coffee and Breakfast is at Shop H01, 301 George Street.
Heading out and down to Kent Street....
Taste Baguette Sussex Lane
One of the fanciest looking stores in this chain, according to their website bringing 'baking to the bankers'.
This was the only Classic Vietnamese roll we've eaten at Taste Baguette that had terrine and roast pork inside. The salad fillings were well balanced too. At $7.00 it's another different price point, it seems that each store has it's own pricing and recipes.
Taste Baguette is at 275 Kent Street, in the Westpac Plaza complex. There is an amazingly large food court next to here, with plenty of seating.
Taste Baguette Met Centre
Just when you thought we had run out of Taste Baguette stores to try...
$6.90 for the Classic Vietnamese Baguette. Takeaway service is fast, and the fillings were super tangy and saucy (dribbling all over the inside of my bag, now it smells like fish sauce!). Pork Terrine base as standard.
Taste Baguette is at the Met Centre, Jamison Street Sydney. Ph: 9251 8887
We've looked further down around Circular Quay and along the Elizabeth and Castlereagh sides of the city, to no avail. Any secret places hiding out there? Let us know and we will add them in.
We love pork rolls.