Bunnings snags. Democracy sausages. The school sports sizzle. Situational snags are a big thing in this country.

But one situation where you wouldn’t expect to find a sausage sizzling – at a glance, at least – is at Aru, the sultry new sibling of Sunda. It opened last week, doing a duck-sausage sanga that’s unexpectedly extraordinary.

“[It’s] inspired by the Vietnamese nem nuong (grilled pork sausage) that was on the table every time I had a family barbeque,” Khanh Nguyen, Aru’s Vietnamese-Australian chef and co-owner, tells Broadsheet. “We ate it with white bread and a sweet-spicy hoisin sauce.” But it’s also “kind of inspired by the Bunnings sausage”, he told us ahead of the opening last month.

To make the sausage, the team breaks down whole ducks in-house and uses the legs, deboned and minced as finely as possible (the crowns are dry-aged for the main course). “The sausage itself [emulates] nem nuong, which is traditionally shaped on wooden skewers then grilled over charcoal with a sweet honey glaze,” Nguyen says.

“The thing I love about nem nuong is its bouncy texture; we make ours extra textural by giving it a quick fry to create an outer layer. We then finish it over red-gum wood, to give a nice char and impart some smoky flavour, before glazing it with leatherwood honey.” While it’s already abundantly clear this isn’t your average sausage in bread, that top layer is a textural triumph – as you’ll discover when piercing it with your first bite.

Likewise, the piece of soft, spongy white bread enveloping it is a level up (made with a dough similar to that used for Chinese steamed buns, says Nguyen). “We also use the same technique as Japanese shokupan – making a batter with rice flour and milk to make it even softer.” He adds that it’s brushed in duck fat before serving, which explains the glossy-finger aftermath.

Riding shotgun alongside the sausage is a pile of wok-charred but still semi-crunchy onions. (Is this Nguyen emitting some Switzerland-like neutrality in the onions-on-top-or-bottom debate?) And a slam-dunk snag deserves a slam-dunk sauce; this one has two, criss-crossed on top. One’s a mix-up of ketchup, mustard, fermented sambal, pickled chilli and peanut butter. The other is straight-up kewpie mayo. The garnish? Confetti coriander, one of Nguyen’s all-time favourite herbs.

Admittedly, when you break it down, I can see how it might sound a tad too fancy, cheffy or even fussy. But the reality? Holing up at one of Melbourne’s best new restaurants with this in one hand and your phone in the other (to document the moment, naturally) is a situation I’d wager almost any snag-lover could get around.

So, a note to you all: this one is not to be missed – or, under any circumstances, shared. There are four bites and they’re all yours.

“This Melbourne Dish” is a new series about dishes that have caught the eye of Broadsheet’s editors – or that the city has become instantly infatuated with.

aru.net.au