For most of this past year I’ve been waiting in the long lines outside Hong Ha for my banh mi fix. It’s only now that I’ve come to realise that there is an absolutely reasonable alternative with no waiting lines and closer to home.
While not necessarily true in my recent Eastern Suburbs experience, one of the key rules about growing up in Western Sydney was that the most legitimate pork rolls came from places with “HOT BREAD” in their name. It was felt that any proprietors with such little imagination were sure to have put all of their effort into perfecting their art. Botany Hot Bread, a takeaway only place with little frontage but significant bakery room in the back keeps the the HOT BREAD tradition alive. The greeting I received was warm and familiar, like an old friend even though I had never been to Botany Hot Bread before.
The selection is short and sweet – a range of housemade baked goods with all of the expected items like snail, croissants and danishes, a small pie warmer of housemade pies, and of course a separate refridgerated cart for the banh mi ingredients. I partook only in a pork roll and a chicken roll.
The pork roll (around $5) was very good and cheap. It had all the requisite meat and salad components in a soft bread roll. Absolutely no complaints here, and more or less the same quality as the more famous Hong Ha down the street.
The chicken roll (also around $5) I have a bit more bones to pick with. I found the chicken a bit too salty with too much soy sauce flavour. This would’ve been fine had the chicken been evenly distributed throughout the roll, but as you can see in the cross section shot all of the chicken was towards of the outside of the roll. This meant that alternating bites were either fresh and delicious salad or very salty chicken, and it was hard to mix the two into one mouthful. I’m not an expert hot bread man but I think this ingredient distribution problem could probably be improved through some sandwich engineering.
Yummy and worth a try – come here if you’re east of Mascot and you don’t want to wait.
Botany Hot Bread
1405 Botany Rd, Botany NSW 2019
(02) 9666 4257