There's quite a lot of bias (and enthusiastic hyperbole) in this claim and it's grounded in the fact I literally grew up knowing no other Vietnamese banh mi except King's Hot Bread in its distinctive location on Forest Rd, Hurstville. Almost 16 years and several competitors later, it remains my definitive favourite in Sydney and I've recently been able to eat it twice in two weeks, after so many years of never having the excuse to make a trip down south.
You will find no fancy storefronts, interior design or branded packaging here, as much as I am an absolute sucker for both but this store would not be King's Hot Bread without its endearing, kitschy feel and if it helps the prices stay down, I am all for it.
The fact I went there on Friday and recognised the shopkeepers is testament to its staying power - its flavour list has expanded over the years and I'm eager to try the newer flavours. But you absolutely cannot go wrong with a chicken roll and that's what I got. Despite the sad rise in price, $5 for a definitively filling lunch is still a very good deal.
There's nothing worse than a stingy banh mi roll so I'm happy to say that King's Hot Bread does not skimp out on servings and the shopkeepers complied with my very complicated order (no spring onion, no coriander, no chilli, no onion...yeah, I'm not good with strong flavours) and got it all right.
When I asked for 'extra mayonnaise' and the girl slathered on so much that my mum, standing next to me, looked at me in concern.
But shh. The mayonnaise is the best part.
As the ever-wise Collette from Pixar's Ratatouille says - 'you can tell good bread by the sound of its crust'. King's Hot Bread is served to you warm, with a crisp crackle that speaks of its freshness. That amazing bread - and the unique mayonnaise - makes all the difference to me.
Word of warning - this is a messy meal and there is absolutely no shame in that. Put a large plate down beneath you before biting in and go wild.