04 November 2014

Pork Roll Round Up ~ Vietnamese banh mi - Central Station to Town Hall in the Sydney CBD

A big round up of pork rolls across the Sydney CBD, from Central Station to Town Hall and all stops in between.

There's a collector or hoarder in us all. Playing around with Pinterest there was the realisation that our food photos were like the trading cards you collected as a kid, you could add in new ones each time you tried something new, slowly building up a set. Soon began the addiction to getting new 'cards' of the all pork rolls scoffed across the city.

A map was started to plot our journey, but it soon become obvious a blog post should accompany these adventures, so our series of Round Ups was born. We've done a few other suburbs and now here is the start of our city adventures.

Working in and around the city means we have had the chance to eat a pork roll at every one of these 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 the city from Central Station to Town Hall. So if you're an office worker in the CBD or a poor student looking for a cheap and filling lunch, here's the list you need, complete with tasting notes. Try for the trad rolls if you can, the gourmet ones don't seem worth the extra price in our opinion.

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.

For a run down of the northern city we will publish a round up through to Wynyard and for the eastern side of the train line, we will be publishing a separate Surry Hills / Darlo list.

Central Station
Cross underneath George Street to get to Henry Deane Plaza where there are two places for rolls, or walk a few paces up from the bus stop for more choice.

Pho Ngon
A cafe and restaurant as well as a bakery, this restaurant has something for all eating occasions.

$5 for a roll here (you will need to resist the cakes and pies). A good pork filling, especially the roast pork. Roll has a lot of thinly shredded lettuce which may not delight.

Pho Ngon is at 2 Lee Street, Haymarket. Look for it on the far edge of Henry Deane Plaza.

Saigon Delight
Just down the ramp at the back of the bus station at Central Station is a small store with rolls and fresh juices.

Pork roll is $5 here. A little light on the orange shred fillings and pate with some lettuce filler, no pickled radish, but a good crisp warm roll.

Saigon Delight is at Shop 10, 8–10 Lee Street.

Papa Roll
The other half to the happy Vietnamese parents of Papa Roll and Pho Mumum.

Pork Roll from Papa Roll on Broadway, $5 for a roll and a can of drink so cheaper than the neighbouring stores. Bun was a little soft, lots of lettuce and asked what type of sauce I wanted, soy, chilli, sweet chilli or mayo.

Papa Roll Bread Bar is at 16 Broadway, just past the Sutherland Hotel.

Turn down Quay Street for a detour down to Chinatown.

Krispy Roll
Just off Quay Street in tiny Bijou Lane, this pork roll joint from My Tho in Vietnam has set up shop.

Prices have recently risen to around $4.50 for this pork roll with a little difference. The twist is a pork gravy added to the roll which gives it a very moist porky interior, good crisp roll as promised.

Krispy Roll is just off Quay Street on Bijou Lane, turn at Satang Thai Exclusive. Official address is Shop 4 107 Quay Street.

Serving rice paper rolls, noodles and fresh salads, this lunchtime spot has quickly gathered  a legion of fans.

At $5.00 a roll, it offers a little something different to the classic mix of meats and salad. The pork is a mix of BBQ and cha lua and the bun is happily lettuce and tomato free. Not too seasoning saucy either.

Obunmee is at 107 Quay Street, just around the corner from Krispy Roll.

No 1 Cafe
This bakery cafe in the Dixon Street Mall has a pork roll lunch special.

Pork roll from No.1 Coffee and Cake, Chinatown $3.95. Strangest addition - mortadella (like bologna lunch meat) with olives! Was a tasty roll, but not a trad banh mi filling (perhaps in Italy).

No 1 Cake and Cafe is at 63 Dixon Street in the mall. They have just started selling deep fried Oreo cookies (3 for $3) and Tim Tams as a sweet seduction. We saw these at the Taipei night markets in Raohe and they weren't tempting then either.

Phuong Special Vietnamese
Just inside the Dixon Street entrance of Eating World.

At $4.50, this roll is a bargain. If you get it with the special Vietnamese coffee, it's even more special. A good traditional style roll with pickled radish and a good crisp roll. One of our favourites (and one of the originals) in Chinatown.

Phuong Special Vietnamese is at 25 - 29 Dixon Street in Haymarket, at the Dixon Street entrance to Eating World.

Barby's (Now closed)
A recent addition to the banh mi game in Chinatown.

Pork roll, $4.50. They've only just started making these at Barby's and they probably need a bit more time to refine them. Lots of salad inside and not much a taste of the pate and sauces that make these special. Roll is soft but the outside is a little crisp, a different type of roll.

Barby's is at 23 Goulburn Street, at the corner of Sussex Street.

Gia Hoi
Serving rolls out the front of the store for some years now, they were once the only place on George Street you could get a banh mi fix.

The pork rolls here are $5.00 which is a little high for the area but there's a good pate smeared on the roll and the pork isn't too bad. Lettuce is added and not too much carrot.

Gia Hoi is at 711 George Street, the pork roll stand at the front is separate to the restaurant so you can't buy and sit inside, spread your crumbs elsewhere.

Next door is the legendary tobacco store that has been selling tobacco in Haymarket since 1890, now sold off. Think what you will about tobacco and smoking, this is a little piece of Sydney's history that will soon be closed.

Sydney Pork Rolls
Probably the smallest pork roll store in the city, they do a roaring trade every lunch time.

$4.50 for a classic style roll that's worth the queue. Good pork selection and salad is not too piled on, but the bun seemed a little low in the crunch factor needed.

Sydney Pork Rolls is at 627 George Street. The queue can get a little long at peak lunchtimes and it gets mighty crowded around the entrance as it is also right outside a busy bus stop. You can still get a cheaper price of $3.95 if you go first thing in the morning.

Banh Mi K
One of the newer stores along George Street opened to take advantage of the pork roll needs of city workers.

Banh mi thit $4.95. Super crunchy roll, flavoursome pate and mix of lightly pickled shredded carrot and radish. A good light mix of salad and meats. They have some competition from Sydney Pork Rolls across the road and have a good lunch special.

Banh Mi K is at 627 George Street, just outside the Capitol Centre.

Darling Quarter
A quick detour down to Darling Harbour for Taste baguettes.

Taste Bar and Grill
Eat your roll outside at one of the most attractive branches of the Taste Baguette sandwich chain.

$8.50 baguette, pork terrine instead of the roast pork and cha lua. Nice mix of shredded carrot and radish.

Taste Bar and Grill is at Shop 11-12, Darling Quarter. The eating tables outside are a good spot to drop your crumbs everywhere.

Town Hall
After Chinatown and Darling Harbour, the Town Hall area has few options. The stand underneath Town Hall Station next to the CitiSuper supermarket has stopped selling their rolls but there are still big signs for them. Summer Rolls in the Foodbase on Park food court hasn't had the rolls for sale for some time now either, and it seems Taste Baguette has closed at World Square.

Soups N Rolls
A Vietnamese stall in the Pittsway Arcade that offers soups and well, rolls.

Legend has it you could once fill your roll with anything from the bain marie of love. At $4.50 for a pork roll (no choice from the bar unfortunately), the bun was soft, lots of lettuce and no pickled goodness. They added sweet chilli sauce to the roll instead of fresh chillis.
Soups n Rolls is at 2/303 Pitt Street, in the under the street food court.

Miss Chu
Underneath Regent Place is an outlet of the Miss Chu empire selling rice rolls, pork rolls and soups.

At $10.50 this is currently the more expensive pork roll in the city. The flavours of the pork belly are good but there's not a lot of it (orange shred mainly fills the roll), so for our bucks the overall return isn't there on the investment.

Miss Chu is at Regent Place, 501 George Street. Head down the escalators from George Street to find it.

SB Saigon Kiosk
At the entrance to the Hoyts movie complex is a stall selling pork and chicken rolls and rice paper rolls, not your usual choc top and popcorn cinema fare.

$4.00 a roll is a good price for a roll these days. The bun was a little soft but the meats were good. The pork rolls here have a serving of salad added - tomato, lettuce and white onion rings, say no if you don't wan't them.

SB Saigon Kiosk is at the entrance to the Hoyts theatres on George Street.

Have we missed any? Let us know and we will add them in. Next city round up - Queen Victoria building to Wynyard.

New Pork rolls on the block...

UTS Art of Food Cafe

Student serving Art of Food Cafe has gotten into the pork roll game.

This pork roll has to be the first 'Aussie' roll we've eaten. Why? It has beetroot on it! Folks, while you might scoff and smirk about it not being authentic, its a pickle that goes mighty fine with the rest of the pork and salad. The roll is $6 which is not exactly a student friendly price.

In two locations at UTS, the cart moves from in front of the library down to the Cafe further down Quay Street at different times.

We love pork rolls.


  1. 2.80 for pork rolls in cabramatta THE REAL DEAL by the way

    look up noodlies blog

  2. awesome roundup, now i know where to hit when ive got a banh mi craving in the cbd

    1. Still have four more to eat between Town Hall and Wynyard and that's done. Too many Taste Baguettes!

  3. Excellent summary - I'm also a fan of Phuong in Eating World. Very friendly owner, great rolls and great price. For Wynyard, you can't go past the stall in Hunter Connection. But of course you will already know that!

    1. We've tried the three in Hunter Connection and more across the road too. The quality picks up again once you get to Wynyard, that's for sure.

  4. I need this post in my life. Thanks a lot for compiling!

  5. I definitely know where to get my fix of Banh Mi in the city now :)

  6. I still reckon Sydney Pork Rolls are hard to beat in the CBD. I applaud your commitment to the cause!

  7. Try Obunmee Haymarket. Near Krispy Roll.


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

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