Unpacking Australia’s most iconic sandwiches


Foodservice travelled round Australia this month to seek out and deconstruct the nation’s most transcendent sandwiches. In every metropolis, we requested the makers of these sandwiches why theirs is so fashionable, earlier than collating the info on what goes into the right sandwich.

Nhu Lan’s Mixed Ham Bánh Mì – Melbourne
By Aleksandra Bliszczyk

In 1977, America’s Voyager spacecraft launched with no vacation spot and little on board apart from two 12-inch data of Mozart, people songs, “hello” in 55 languages, and whale calls. Its creators hope that in the future, unknown lifeforms will discover these “Golden Records” and listen to the sounds of life on Earth.

If we Melburnians have been to document the sounds of our metropolis, extraterrestrials would hear tram bells, coffee grinders, thumping bass, and the crackles of Vietnamese baguettes, shattering beneath tooth.

Melbourne’s most iconic sandwich can solely be the bánh mì. Brought right here by Vietnamese immigrants within the ‘70s and ’80s, the rolls procured virtually quick reputation amongst non-Vietnamese communities for his or her cold and hot meat fillings, pickled freshness, spice, and distinctive crunch, and have since solely burrowed deeper into our culinary ether. Every Melburnian, Vietnamese or not, can take part in a scorching debate over the town’s best bánh mì. One that may inevitably come up in dialog Nhu Lan’s – a Vietnamese bakery establishment that has been serving clients of all backgrounds from its Richmond and Footscray (Melbourne’s two largest Vietnamese hubs) outposts for greater than 25 years. Owner Khanh Ziccardi says it’s the freshness and crispness of the bread that units their bánh mìs aside.

“We actually start baking at 3:30am, then we open at 5am, and then we bake until 3pm, 4pm, 5pm in the evening depending on demand,” says Ziccardi. “That way, the customers come in and the rolls are hot.”

At every store the groups bake between 1000 and 1500 lengthy rolls day-after-day, half of which get crammed and bought as a bánh mìs.

The most common, Zaccardi says, is the combined ham, harking back to these discovered on the streets of Saigon, the place it’s too scorching for road distributors to be grilling meats over coals. The roll is sliced open, then every hemisphere is coated in a smear of housemade pate (a closely guarded recipe) and housemade mayo. Next, in go the chilly cuts, additionally housemade. There are skinny slices of white pork luncheon loaf, barbequed fatty pork stomach, and terrine made with pork loin and pigs’ ears for additional crunch. Then, it’s a handful of house-pickled shredded carrots, batons of recent cucumber, coriander springs, recent chilli, a squirt of soy sauce and salt and white pepper to complete. 

Looking on the completed product, in mass it’s about 60:40 roll to filling. Biting down, the reverberant crunch will disturb anybody inside a 5-metre radius.

25 years after these bánh mìs bought for $2 every, the beautiful roll now rings in at simply $5.50. Perhaps in one other quarter-century they’ll lastly have the ability to cost a tenner.

Da Rosaria’s Porchetta Roll – Canberra
By Anthony Huckstep

The best sandwich within the nation’s capital? It’s a no brainer. A mere point out of suckling pig on a sandwich and other people will type queues quicker than a buttered bullet. In Canberra there are many good sandwiches, however there’s just one you have to fear about.

Da Rosaria’s wood-roasted suckling pig porchetta ‘alla Romana’, with shaved fennel, inexperienced apple and mostarda served on wood-baked focaccia made in house each morning. Case dismissed.

“It’s based on the traditional Roman dish where most of the trattorias have the big porchettas out on chopping boards, and as you know they’re a bit more relaxed with their health and safety in Italy than we are, so they carve them to order in front of you on the street. It’s wonderful,” says proprietor Pasquale Trimboli, who additionally owns Italian & Sons, Bacaro wine bar and Mezzalira.

“Fresh fennel and pork is a basic mixture of the Romans’, the mixture is nearly like a romantic notion – when you have the fitting reminiscence financial institution.

“There’s a reason for that, it is a perfect marriage,” he says.

Da Rosaria, the hole-in-the-wall Italian providing underneath the wing of CBD nice diner Mezzalira, has had the sandwich on from day one, over 4 years in the past. Trimboli concedes there can be public outrage in the event that they took it off the menu.

The recent fennel and porchetta is one factor, however mixed with walnut pesto, garlic, rosemary and mustard fruits, it’s one of many most wealthy, but balanced sandwiches down beneath.

“The mustard fruits lend themselves to chop by means of the savoury notes of garlic and rosemary and the fennel cuts via the wealthy, fats of the pork.

“People think the pork is the hero of the dish, and I guess it is, but the mustard fruits have an incredible way of enhancing that beautiful pork flavor,” says Trimboli.

Pork, fennel and associates; what extra do you want?

Rick Shores’ Rick’s Fried Bug Roll – Brisbane/Gold Coast
By Elliot Baker

One of the town’s most iconic sandwiches isn’t truly present in Brisbane, however many locals would agree the one-hour drive down the M1 is value it for a Rick’s Fried Bug Roll.

Since Rick Shores opened at Burleigh Beach in early 2016, the Moreton Bay bug roll has unquestionably been the most well-liked merchandise on the menu. Head chef James Brady says they promote round 200 per service. Once, they recorded 1,100 rolls over two scorching summer time days. “Everyone who comes to work for us can’t understand how we are selling so many,” Brady says.

So, why is it so well-liked? Brady places it right down to approachability (“it’s not too big and not too small”), minimal fuss, and the restaurant’s location. Overlooking the seashore with waves crashing metres from the closest tables; there’s no higher place to chew right into a recent bug roll.

Brady credit the dish for protecting the coastal restaurant busy all-year spherical, one thing fairly uncommon for a venue of its type. “It’s a major reason why we have a wonderfully consistent trade,” he says. “Normally you get massive highs and lows, but we are super lucky.”

The bug roll was created by the unique head chef Jake Pregnell, who’s now head chef at Little Valley in Brisbane – owned by the identical staff behind Rick Shores. Since then, the recipe has modified little.

The Moreton Bay bugs are sourced from northern Queensland, and the brioche buns are baked off-site. As Brady wants 1800 buns per week to make sure 100 per cent consistency.

The buns are cut up horizontally, buttered, and calmly toasted in a frying pan. The bun base is layered with bug mayonnaise (made with poached bug meat, spices and lemon juice), gem lettuce, after which topped with a beer-battered bug tail. Brady likes to make use of a mid-strength beer because the decrease alcohol content material creates a crispier batter. Lastly, Sriracha is squeezed over the bug, earlier than the bun prime is positioned on.

“We often get people buying rounds,” says Brady, laughing. “We don’t realise that someone has eaten four or five to themselves because they’ve been ordering them one-by-one.”

Africola’s Tea Sandwich – Adelaide
By Tomas Telegramma

While there’s quite a bit to like about Adelaide’s inimitable Africola, the tea sandwich is probably its most recognisable dish. Leading the fancy-sandwiches-in-restaurants cost since its start three years in the past, round 75 serves now hit the cross nightly.

The sandwich was created out of necessity for a hungry good friend. When S.C. Pannell winemaker Stephen Pannell went snack-hunting after a day of wine judging, Africola head chef and co-owner Duncan Welgemoed reached for a loaf of Wonder White put aside for workers meals and a few scorching drippings from his signature peri peri hen. Pannell insisted it go on the menu.

“We couldn’t just serve bread and drippings,” Welgemoed says. So hen pores and skin turned the star. “We scrape off all the fat so it’s completely clear, then we put it between two very, very heavy metal trays and cook it for two hours until all the fat is rendered,” he provides. It needs to be extremely crisp. Once it’s cooled, two layers are topped with flat-leaf parsley (dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and salt) and a peri peri mayonnaise made with Africola’s signature scorching sauce, Mpumalanga Fire. It’s then encased in two slices of super-soft, crust-less Wonder White, true to its inception. “You don’t want to do posh bread with it, the sweetness [of Wonder White] balances the salt and acid,” says Welgemoed. Alongside is a bowl of intensely flavoured scorching drippings for dipping, which have been refreshed with an additional hit of lemon, chilli and garlic.

Beyond the sandwich’s inherent Insta-appeal, Welgemoed wagers its sudden success lies within the delicate stability of flavour – it’s an all-bases-covered snack. “A little bit dirty but also fresh; not like a big, fat fried-chicken sandwich you eat once and can’t eat again for six months,” he says. It’s completely sized, gone in a few bites, and leaves you primed for the meal forward.

Oratnek’s Katsu Sandwich – Sydney
By Nicholas Jordan

Katsu sandwiches are all over the place in Sydney. They’re spreading throughout menus quicker than poké, uni and issues in bowls. But earlier than Paper Bird (RIP), Cho Cho San, Sandoitchi, Rising Sun and all of the others have been posting katsu sandwiches on their menus and Instagram accounts, there was Oratnek. The Redfern cafe, owned and run by former Bill’s head chef Kenny Takayama, opened in 2015 with a easy pork katsu sandwich on the menu, the identical recipe they’re well-known for at present.

The bread comes from Adzuki, a Japanese bakery in Newtown. Takayama asks for it how Japanese individuals prefer it, thick minimize, absurdly tender and porcelain white. On one half goes a light-weight layer of tonkatsu sauce, which is like barbecue sauce however fruitier however not as candy, Takayama says. On the opposite slice goes a contact of American mustard and grated recent cabbage.

In the center goes the katsu, a thick and messily juicy hunk of panko-crusted pork. Slapped with sake earlier than frying and seasoned solely in salt and pepper, it comes out mushy sufficient to chew by way of with out having to noticed your tooth however with sufficient texture to distinction with the bread.

Crucially, it’s served scorching. Takayama and his group deep fry each piece of pork to order. “Our menu says 15-minute wait, but people don’t care, it’s nice when it’s juicy and hot,” he says.

And that’s it – bread, cabbage, sauce and pork. Takayama says he doesn’t know why it’s been such an enormous vendor, he simply needed to place it on the menu as a result of he needed to eat it. His recommendation for any cooks wanting to duplicate his success is that this: “Try not to be famous or popular, just do what you want to eat. That’s what I always want to do. If you don’t love it, it won’t be tasty.”

Re Store’s Conti Roll – Perth
By Max Brearley

“There’s not really anything like the continental roll in Australia,” says Fiona Berti of Northbridge establishment Re Store. A baguette-like roll and a mixture of chilly meats, cheeses and condiments, the “Conti Roll” has grown in stature since its inception within the 1950s. Back then, staff would purchase diamond-shaped unfastened rolls, chilly meats and antipasto, and make their very own sandwich on the spot. Deli-founder John Re quickly caught on.

While Re Store isn’t the one deli to make one, it’s arguably the most well-known. Berti likens it to an American sub or hoagie – one thing Besha Rodell of the New York Times additionally famous about Australian sandwich tradition. The American comparability has legs past the roll, and the expertise has a distinctly New York really feel: queuing together with your quantity, confronted primarily with women of Italian heritage who chide you good-naturedly do you have to sluggish the queue. While a crusty “banana roll” from Vastese bakery in North Perth was a part of the equation for many years, the bakery’s closure in 2015 didn’t spell the top for this key element.

Grainaissance in Osborne Park took on the recipe, the ovens and a former Vastese baker. Berti says that it’s “not exactly the same”, however fairly shut.

The Conti Roll is made to order from a counter of selection, and Berti says you’ll be able to spot the uninitiated. Other than the bread, it’s concerning the meat – a selection of delicate, scorching or the normal combine. Salami, coppa and mortadella are sourced from Australian smallgoods companies, whereas prosciutto is from San Daniele. Cheese is once more a mixture, from Italian provolone, to Swiss cheese and Australian cheddar. Building blocks in place, it’s onto antipasto: sundried tomato, artichoke, pickled capsicum and marinated eggplant, a lot of which made in store, and shredded iceberg lettuce get layered in, earlier than the roll is closed with a hefty crunch.

Data Analysis
Across Australia, the best and most widespread sandwiches are extremely numerous, but they do share some traits. Here’s what our computer systems deduced:



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