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Bánh Mì Maniac

Divine Consumption

252 Smith St, Collingwood

Price: $4.50
Filling: 4/5 (BBQ Pork)
Dressing/Salad: 1.5/3
Bread: 1/2
Total: 6.5/10

One does feel pity at times for Sunny’s Bakery. It is located on a super happening strip, filled with popular cafes and restaurants, but more importantly, a few doors down from the almighty N.Lee. Establishing a large customer-base is very challenging when the nearest Vietnamese bakery receives all the limelight and has queues spilling out the door every day. On a normal day, it is near-on impossible to walk down Smith Street without someone chewing from a N.Lee labelled paper-bag encasing a precious bánh mì. But sunny’s, well, they hang their heads high.

I entered into a very clean space, with all the food and signs very nicely presented. To continue with the comparison to N. Lee, I ordered the grilled pork – with an identical price tag – and was met with a, “do you want everything?”, yes please! The pork was scooped from a massive pile – one downside about N.Lee, they are always running out of hot pork – the chicken and meatball options also looked tasty. I bid goodbye to the friendly staff and went outside to do the photo business when a woman of older age asked me if I was going to make a profit from the shots. “No, no, it’s just for my blog”, I replied, and she went on to tell me how Sunny’s was her favourite bakery and that she goes there on a frequent basis, while simultaneously it seemed that the bakery was filling out a bit. Maybe I was wrong about this place.

So, due to this anonymous woman, my expectations had risen dramatically, and I had to focus extra hard on what I was swallowing. Immediately I noticed that the bread was not heated – this is minor, most places don’t heat their rolls to serve – because I had been to N.Lee the day before. What followed was a satisfying bánh mì. The pork was Cantonese-roast style without the heap of fat, and although lukewarm had a nice bite to it. The salad was fresh and crunchy, I especially liked the pickled carrots. Dressing-wise, it was interesting. While the flavour of it was not overwhelming, the mayonnaise at times was too strong, and mixed with the pâté formed a taste resembling garlic bread. Now don’t be put off by this, I was concentrating deeply and probably got carried away – the bánh mì here are good. If only Sunny’s had opened in a different area (I suggest mine) and didn’t have to compete with the all-conquering N.Lee.

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