“I would have crawled naked across broken glass to get here.” – Anthony Bourdain
N Lee is unmatched in providing delicious banh mi, also known as Vietnamese pork rolls. I know this because I have held regular banh mi-tings over the past year, trialing Vietnamese bakeries on their ability to deliver a juicy, buttery, pork roll.
A crispy shelled baguette slathered in melty butter and pate is the first big tick here. I have actually ventured out of my way to N Lee specifically to buy unfilled baguettes for their fluffy white interior which balances out the thin crisped shell. This harmony of crispy and chewy could only be produced by sheer wizardry.
The slices of pink-rimmed bbq pork, crunchy carrot, crisp cucumber, fiery chilli and coriander medley is one that you find in most Vietnamese food. N Lee packs each $5.80 rolls to the brim of flavourful goodness, always asking whether or not the customer desires chilli. An enthusiastic yes usually yields in obtaining a perfectly bitey roll.
There’s a reason as to why at lunchtime, you’ll spot hordes of nearby workers lining up down Smith St, leading to N Lee. Don’t let the line deter you from grasping a piece of pork roll heaven, it moves quickly and each banh mi is expertly assembled. Watching the staff inside harmonise in stuffing the various fillings into each crusty rolls is a spectacle.
For a quick, delicious lunch, one should look no further than N Lee.