Nada Tran picked 12/12/12 to sign the rental contract for Rollin Saigon because she hoped it would bring good fortune. With just $50 left in her pocket, she needed whatever luck she could get.

Rather than going home to Vietnam that Christmas, she worked around the clock getting the new lunch spot ready.

Keeping the focus simple, she decided to serve just bahn mi and noodle salads. Starting at 3am every day, Nada would prepare succulent roast pork, fragrant lemongrass chicken and crisp pickled vegetables. The quality of the food and generous servings soon attracted a loyal following. Now it's normal to see a line stretching out the door at lunchtime.

It's best not to leave your lunch run too late – Nada cooks everything in the kitchen herself except for the bread rolls. Once they've run out, that's it for the day.

Business is so good that Rollin Saigon expanded next door. The larger seating area features a separate handwritten menu limited to five Vietnamese classics, including pho and sizzling veal.

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Updated: December 7th, 2016

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