Flossy Hamchez – $2.60 from Barby, 2 locations in Haymarket (Sussex St and Market City)
In life, as in pork-products, two’s company.
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There comes a time in a man’s life when he feels that eating one pork based product at a time is just not enough. Luckily, the buzzing brains at Barby’s have their fingers on the pulse, and have created a snack for such a man, the Flossy Hamchez.
This snack is a throwback to the days of the once great Porcine Ingestion Group, who campaigned for years for mandatory minimum pork standards. The PIGs popularity peaked in the late 1980s following a heavy media campaign, but soon fell out of favour after a tell-all documentary revealed just how poorly the animals were treated. A number of snack purveyors, who had invested heavily in gaining ‘two-pork preferred’ certification, were left to cut their losses, and few have been game to combine pork products ever since.
Barby have bravely returned to the territory though, and have come out with mixed results. The Flossy Hamchez combines pork floss, diced ham, melted cheese, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, and herbs, presented attractively in a plain bread bun. At first, eating the Hamchez feels like a flavour overload. Sauce is the first to tickle the tastebuds, then the herbs and ham hit you like a one-two punch. The floss adds a lasting chewiness and texture, but for the life of me I couldn’t find the cheese. I knew it was there, but it became obscured in the face of so many other flavours. If I had some advice for Barby, it would be to put the cheese on last before grilling, giving eaters enough time to savour some dairy goodness before diving headlong into pork paradise. All in all, a solid snack, but just doesn’t have the same appeal as other options. I applaud Barby’s bravery though in attempting a two-porker, and look forward to other eateries following suit. Three stars.
Originality – Excellent
Execution – Good
Value – OK
Overall judgement: 3
* For those of you who were wondering, I’m not counting the Nicky Sausage as a two-pork snack, as we all know frankfurts aren’t really meat, and if they are, we can never be sure what animal it came from. Most likely horse.
Cheese and Bacon roll – $2.00 from Barby, 2 locations in Haymarket (Sussex St and Market City)
Barby are renowned for pushing the envelope when it comes to snacks (see the Perfect Roll), so it was with some trepidation that I purchased the innocuously named but outrageously shaped Cheese and Bacon.
A perennial favourite at Vietnamese hot bread shops all across suburban Australia, the humble cheese and bacon roll has filled the stomachs of school children and shift workers alike for nearly four decades. For many, this is probably their first foray into the world of hot bread snacks. In their search for snack market domination, Barby have combined the familiarity of the cheese and bacon roll, with the uniqueness of an small vase of flowers, to create what could be the perfect gateway snack for new eaters.
Eating the roll took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Firstly denial – This can’t be a cheese and bacon roll, it just cant. It looks like an explosion! Then anger – What? Where’s the hidden boiled egg or chocolate chips? This is just a plain roll! It’s not fair! Then bargaining – I’ll give anything for a tiny bit of pork floss, some corn, anything. Then depression – It’s over, it really is just a cheese and bacon roll. I don’t know why I even bothered to buy it. And finally acceptance – Actually, this makes a lot of sense. It looks like mushroom, but tastes just like a cheese and bacon roll. It’s going to be OK. This reaction is not uncommon, and is known in snack circles as the Five Stages of Grease.
When I reached the fifth stage, and accepted the roll for what it was, I found myself eating what is possibly the best cheese and bacon roll I’ve ever had. The bread is flawlessly soft, like a blanketing of powdery snow on a misty morning. A light crust on the outside holds the roll together, without adding chewiness. The bacon and cheese to bread ratio, a common downfall of the traditional variety, is just about spot on. Finally, a light smear of sauce and a sprinkling of herbs add the finishing touches and provide a welcome colourful variety to the protruding top.
Barby have succeeded here, in making a snack that doesn’t look out of place next to the Pork Floss Sushi Roll, but at the same time is approachable and familiar, like the Salvo’s brass band at Christmas. But beware! – you’re on the edge of a slippery snack slope, soon you will be salivating for something more adventurous, and Barby are ready to show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes. 4 stars.
Originality – Excellent
Execution – Excellent
Value – Good
Overall judgement: 4
Bacon Potato Goro-Goro – $2.90 from Fuji-Pan, Goulburn St Sydney (next to Fujiya Restaurant, 605 George St)
As I sat at my desk yesterday afternoon, I heard a strange sound. Was that a distant roll of thunder? The skies were grey, but the noise seemed closer to home. Once more, the rumble, but this time accompanied by a small pang of hunger. My stomach! Snack Time!
I headed to Fuji-Pan, fast becoming my favourite obscure snack purveyor. A number of new items caught my attention, but I was strangely drawn to the Bacon Potato Goro-Goro. It was like a tiny dormant volcano, ready to spew forth it’s bacony contents at any moment. Needless to say, I had found my snack.
Intrigued by the origin of the name, I consulted a number of sources, and discovered that goro goro in Japanese often refers to the noise of thunder. Reading on, it seems the literal meaning is similar to ‘roll’, as in a roll of thunder, so I’ve decided to translate our snack as the Bacon Potato Thunder Roll.
The roll itself was also intriguing. Cubes of diced bacon peeked at me from beneath a mossy crust of oregano. On first bite, I discovered the potato, small cooked and herbed chunks hiding in the bottom of the bready exterior. The flavours were appealing, but I got the feeling something was wrong. Towards the end of the roll I discovered the culprit. The bacon cubes filling the roll appeared to be the travesty of meat known as ‘bacon style pieces’, which bear as much resemblance to a pig as seafood extender does to a fish. Not a deal breaker, but to be honest I was a little disappointed, after all, it’s not Bacon-style Potato Goro Goro is it?
Originality – Excellent
Execution – Average, good potential but let down by fake bacon
Value – Fair
Overall judgement: 3