Food and Drink
Posted by Dan Kuseta
04. Jul, 2011
The freshly baked French roll is filled with pate, pickled carrot, daikon, coriander, chillies, something meaty like BBQ pork or chicken and finished off with fish sauce and white pepper. Biting into the still-warm roll, flakes of bread crumb everywhere but you don’t notice because you’ve just bitten into something that bundles the best of French baking and Asian ingredients in one tidy package: welcome to the wonderful world of Banh Mi.
Banh Mi – Vietnamese rolls, are one of my favourite all-time snacks and Nhu Lan Bakery, with stores in Footscray and Richmond, make the best in town. If you want proof, Penny from the excellent Melbourne food blog Jeroxie: Addictive and Consuming recently conducted a blind Bahn Mi taste test and Nhu Lan came out trumps, scientifically proving my hunch.
The secret to Banh Mi is the roll, which must be freshly baked and crusty, and Nhu Lan have got this down pat. Bustling at most times of the day, the store is held together by a crack team of no-nonsense ladies whipping up their little wonders with deft hands. The menu offers Banh Mi in several flavours, from meatball, chicken, and BBQ pork to salad and tofu. Simply point to the roll you want, say ‘yes’ when asked if you want it spicy, then step back and let the ladies do their work. A minute or so later and your Bahn Mi (often still hot from the baking tray) is yours for the princely sum of $3.80.
Just be sure to eat it quick, because nothing’s as sad as a soggy Banh Mi. But this shouldn’t be an issue – I find the biggest problem is not scoffing the whole thing by the time I get back to the car.
Nhu Lan Bakery
152 Victoria St, Richmond
116 Hopkins St, Footscray
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