A recent trip to Hanoi reminded Jerry Mai of something she already knew: Vietnamese breakfast is the business. To prove her point, she’s running a month-long breakfast pop-up at Pho Nom on Collins Street. “I thought, man, that’s a great idea,” says Mai. “Forgetting I had to get up at 5am to set up for breakfast.”

From Ho Chi Minh City, Mai brings the classic Saigon-style bánh mì, with two fried eggs, a dollop of pate and a Sher Wagyu topside steak served on a sizzling plate. There’s also a version with Chinese sausage, pickled carrots and a crusty bread roll.

From north Vietnam, Mai serves bánh cuốn, the incredibly thin rice-sheet noodles normally served with wood-ear mushroom and pork, nuoc mam and chilli.

“But then I went to a place where they put an egg in it, which steamed to make the white cooked through and the yolk nice and runny,” she recalls. “I had it with Chinese doughnuts. I got slightly inspired.”

Both versions are on the menu.

Vietnamese breakfast will be served at Pho Nom Collins Street for the rest of May, available from 7am to 10am. If people love it, breakfast might hang around a bit longer.

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“It’s just to show people that a Vietnamese breakfast doesn’t have to be scary,” says Mai. “Like Victor says, there’s only so much smashed avocado you can eat.”

Pho Nom
T4/567 Collins Street, Melbourne