Right now, food trucks of every persuasion are crawling Melbourne’s streets. While their ranks are growing by the week, until recently there was a notable omission from the food trucks’ roster of international cuisines: Vietnamese.
But that’s set to change thanks to Banh Mi Boys, who are now cruising the suburbs with a fresh take on the beloved Vietnamese baguette. Using freshly grilled pork belly, charred chicken and rolls from the Convent Bakery, this isn’t the classic Vietnamese fare you’re used to.
The boys behind the Bahn Mi include former corporate lawyer Francis Fung, Chinese medicine practitioner Darren Kwok and management consultant (and Masterchef contestant) Keen Poon.
While he’s a big fan of the food truck scene, Kwok believed there was a real gap in the market for Asian cuisine. “You think about Melbourne and it’s very multicultural. We all grew up with a lot of Asian food,” he says. “There was a big gap in the market. At the time, there were burgers and tacos and that’s it.”
So the trio kitted out a Ford Transit with an impressive kitchen on wheels (there’s three sinks in there, a three-door fridge, hobs, charcoal grill and an oven) and took to the road.
Although admirers of the traditional bánh mì, the boys thought it was important to mix it up. “There’s a lot of really good traditional bánh mì out there, but there hasn’t really been anyone who’s modernised it or given it as a new spin,” says Fung. “We would regard our bánh mì as something completely different to anything else.”
Poon wholeheartedly agrees: “When you think of the traditional bánh mì, you think of cold meats, with the three or four different types of ham,” he explains. “We didn’t want to go down that path because we didn’t want to be competing with traditional sandwiches.”
While in-house lawyer Fung is sorting out the permits with Yarra and Moreland Council, you’ll find the truck in and around Maribyrnong and at the Pentridge Market on Sundays, and they’ll also be catering private events. Go hunt them down.
Bahn Mi Boys