Welcome to shop bao ngoc!

     
Cindy Tran named her restaurant after her brother’s Vietnamese name, Bao, and hers Ngoc. (Audrey Bourget )Source: Audrey Bourget
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Most days, Cindy Tran wakes up and goes straight to Footscray Market to get what she needs for her Brunswick restaurant, Shop Bao Ngoc. "I believe there"s a charm in handpicking the fresh produce you"ll cook with. And I"m very picky," she says. 


Growing up in a Vietnamese family, her mum would make her sit and watch her cook so she could learn, but Tran didn"t get interested until she got older. "When I moved out of home, I lost contact with my mum for a bit and I had to cook Vietnamese food because of the nostalgia I felt. I got obsessed with it," she says. Tran started setting up tables in her bedroom and throwing multi-course dinners for friends.

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The end goal was to open Shop Bao Ngoc, which she did a year ago while working a part-time job and finishing her gold and silversmiths degree (she had to close down the shop for a few hours to go to her graduation). 

"I have the Vietnamese taste and the Western taste, I have those two different cultures so I tried to merge them and create something that represents me."

"As a second generation Vietnamese growing up in Australia, I always felt I had a different taste than lots of aunties and uncles who immigrated from Vietnam. I have the Vietnamese taste and the Western taste, I have those two different cultures so I tried to merge them and create something that represents me," she explains.

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Take her pho, for example. The broth simmers for 14 hours and is spiced with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, mandarin peel, liquorice bark, ginger, onion, fennel and star anise. But instead of making the base with beef bones, like it"s done traditionally, she uses kombu, shiitake and other vegetables. "When I cook, I like everyone to eat the same thing. I don"t like vegan, coeliac and gluten-free people to have to eat their own thing. I like the idea of a phitienkiem.communal taste," she says. Sliced scotch fillet, char-grilled chicken or tofu and veggies can then be added to the soup.

Tran"s take on salt and pepper calamari sees king oyster and enoki mushrooms deep-fried and served with vegan Sriracha mayo.


Chuyên mục: Tin Tức