The average Vietnamese dinner is a pretty elaborate affair. A standard meal can include rice, a stir fry, steamed vegetables, a relish-like side, some kind of meat or fish dish, a soup and some sauces or condiments. VN’s owner, Xuan Thang Nguyen, wants to bring that experience to the average Australian. He employs the most convenient banquet compartmentalisation tool around: the bento box.

You can either go through a five-step menu (rice, veggies, salad, main and soup) to customise your box, or you can choose one of the set boxes. Nguyen (ex-Bathers’ Pavilion and Misschu) will recommend the sets with thit kho trung, a sweet stew with pork belly and egg, or cá hoi sot rieng, crisp-edged salmon with pepper sauce.

While the bento-box format honours the Vietnamese home, the other side of the menu is more in line with the stool-based seating area – it serves street food. The traditional northern Vietnamese style is less common in Sydney. The pho is a good example – unlike other Sydney soups it’s made with just beef bones and salt. Likewise, the stir-fried goat served with vermicelli and pungent shrimp paste isn’t often seen elsewhere.

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Updated: April 20th, 2018

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