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.
Nicky Sausage – $2.80 from Fuji-Pan, Goulburn St Sydney (next to Fujiya Restaurant, 605 George St)
While it is true that the Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder classic did describe Ebony and Ivory as living together in perfect harmony, they could just as easily have been referring to ‘Pork Floss and Girls’ Names’ (which rumour has it was the original working title of the song, but was later changed due to rhyming issues). There’s something about the sweet simplicity and lingering satisfaction of pork floss that lends itself to female nomenclature, and our friends at Fuji-pan obviously agree.
The Nicky Sausage is a creative little treat, consisting of chunks of hot dog, wrapped in a bun, and coated in pork floss. It doesn’t have the same facial appeal of the Tuna Dog, or brooding mystery of the Bacon Potato Goro Goro, but does have a certain simplicity and rotational symmetry that is pleasing to the eye. The three lobes of the snack come together as a sort of meaty Venn diagram, encouraging the eater to consider the bread, sausage, and pork floss as both singular ingredients and an intimidating snack triumverate.
The pork floss and sausage of unknown origin combo is brave, and most snack purveyors avoid mixing meats, but I think Fuji-pan are on to a good thing here. The rubbery hotdog chunks give real body to what might otherwise be a slightly insubstantial affair. After eating a Nicky I feel sated, giving me time to relax and contemplate my busy life, rather than greedily peering into windows in search of my next floss fix. A good, solid snack for any time of day. Three and a half stars.
Originality – Good
Execution – Good
Value – Good
Overall judgement: 3 1/2
Sacha Pork Floss Roll – $2.80 from Breadtop, plenty of locations all over Sydney (except for Sussex St which has closed)
There was a time before I knew of Breadtop. I don’t like to think of those times, they were dark years, but sometimes I reminisce just to see how far I’ve come. It was a stormy afternoon all those years ago, when I dived into a shopfront to avoid the splash of an oncoming bus. I looked around, my day was brightened instantly when I saw I was in a snack shop. A small, square looking treat named Sacha caught my eye, and the rest, well, you know the rest.
One of my favourite things about the Sasha Pork Floss Roll is that it’s literally* a roll, the first I have come across in my regular snack perusals. If you’re lucky enough to be at a Breadtop on Sasha-day then you’ll see the bakers start with a large flat piece of bread dough, which is sprinkled liberally with pork floss, then rolled up like a log, coated in corn kernels, sweet chili sauce, cheese and parsely. The log is then baked until crisp and cut into lengths for adults and children alike to enjoy, and enjoy it they do.
The Sacha is a different beast to that other pork floss treat, the Pork Floss Sushi Roll. The addition of melted cheese adds a whole new world (don’t you dare close your eyes) of textures, as the eater is greeted with a crunchy crust on the outside, delving down to the depths of chewy cheese below. Again, the corn adds an important burst of freshness and life, but has an almost quiche-like element to it thanks to the oven baking. The sweet and salty pork floss provides the solid flavour base upon which the snack is built, and the clever spiroid layers of bread ensure textural and visual variety the whole way through the roll.
If the roll has a downside, it’s in the consistency. As a regular consumer of Sacha’s, I notice that there is a significant variation in quality across the pieces on a tray. For those of you playing along at home, I suggest these two simple tests to ensure maximum snack value. Firstly, look for the pieces that are more of a square shape. Due to the rolling process, the ends of the roll are slightly tapered, providing less room for filling and topping, and are to be avoided (such as the one pictured, an unfortunate failure but was the last one left). Secondly, compare the weights of at least 7 or 8 pieces before choosing one. Use the tongs provided to pick up a piece, feel the weight in your hands, then place the piece back on the tray, sorting according to estimated weight. You might need to check two or three more times to ensure you get the order right, but you can’t rush these things. Following these simple tricks should ensure you net a prizeworthy Sacha every time. 4 stars.
Originality – Excellent
Execution – Average to Excellent (learn the tricks to maximise your chances of a good one)
Value – Good
Overall judgement: 4
* N.B For those of you born after 1990, the word ‘literally’ does have a specific meaning and is not just a big word one can use to make one’s story less mundane. Those who misuse the word should literally have their left hand removed and replaced with a thesaurus, giving them lifetime access to an array of other more appropriate adjectives.
Pork Floss Sushi Roll – $3.00 from Barby, 2 locations in Haymarket
So you’re a hip latetwentysomething not-yet-executive but dressed to impress, swanning about the CBD looking for a snack. But all you see is sushi, and you already had sushi nine times this week. You find yourself thinking “I wish there was a snack just like sushi, but has no rice, and a wig”. If this sounds like you, read on, for your snack has arrived.
Imagine, if you will, a tubular bread roll, hollowed out and filled with corn kernels, a stick of cucumber, pork floss, and mayonnaise. Imagine this wrapped in a seaweed paper, the ends of the roll dipped first in more mayonnaise, then more pork floss. The result, while only bearing a passing resemblance to a sushi roll, is delicious, and is fast becoming part of my regular snack routine. For those uninitiated with the delights of pork floss (sometimes referred to as meat wool), may I direct you to Chow Times for a full run down. It’s essentially pork, cooked so much that it turns into fairy floss.
Barbys pork floss sushi roll is well balanced. The savoury tang of the pork floss is punctuated by the sweet pop of a corn kernel. The cucumber cuts provides a refreshing escape from the gooey clutches of the mayonnaise. The roll is soft, yet when aided by the seaweed paper, is substantial to hold all these elements together in perfect harmony. Some may find it has a touch too much mayonnaise, but this is a minor quibble. Four and a half stars.
Originality – Excellent
Execution – Good, with bonus marks for anything with pork floss
Value – Good
Overall judgement: 4 1/2