After a couple of minutes speaking with Quang Nguyen, it becomes pretty clear the man takes his bánh mì seriously. And, finding a distinct lack of real Vietnamese flavours in Melbourne's bánh mì, Quang Nguyen and his old friend from Hanoi, Trung Nguyen, opened Vietnoms.
Vietnoms is an authentic bánh mì and rice-paper roll joint in the Melbourne CBD that makes bánh mì like they do back in Vietnam. Using pork and chicken grilled over coals, and hand-made liver and pork paté, Nguyen reckons it’s as close as you’ll get to a roll from a street vendor on Bat Dan. As well as char-grilling their ingredients, the two Nguyens (no relation) pickle their own carrots and radishes one day before serving, retaining their sweetness while adding a slightly sour element.
Along with the bánh mì, Nguyen makes Vietnamese coffee and fresh rice-paper rolls, including a vegetarian option with tofu, carrot, vermicelli and an Asian pesto made from Thai basil, Vietnamese mint and pine nuts.
But as far as selection goes, the menu is simple and streamlined, the Nguyens wanting to stick with the two things they know best.