Trung Ly, the owner of Nang, came to Australia a successful businessman. In Vietnam he was known as the “franchise king” and the founder of Pho 24, a chain he describes as the McDonald’s of Vietnamese street food. In Sydney he offers recipes from a cookbook Ly’s wife, Mai Nguyen (Nang’s head chef), received from his grandma. The book has tips on how to make rural specialities and the dishes Ly’s grandma made at home.
One of the home dishes is a clay pot-style caramelised fish. It is a sticky, salty and herby salmon stew spiked with a brown-sugar caramel. The more-rural recipes are best represented by Nang’s goat curry.
The rest of the menu is mostly Southern Vietnamese cuisine: Vietnamese pancakes, tangy salads, lemongrass-heavy stir-fries and pho. Ly says the pho is like what he served at Pho 24 (heavy on the beef but still herby) but better because of the quality of Australian meat.
The restaurant looks more like a French Colonial villa than a typical Vietnamese restaurant. It’s all wooden, ornate and filled with luxurious touches imported from Vietnam. The most obvious is the intricate floor tiling and custom-built lanterns.