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Gastronomical ramblings

Food adventure @ Nhu Lan

A food hub for practically all dishes Vietnamese (among other cuisines), Footscray is in no shortage of restaurants that are renowned for their phos, com tams and/or banh mis (Vietnamese noodle soup, broken rice and bread rolls). Competition is fierce but there is a handful of restaurants that stand out as clear winners in the war for customers. In the banh mi category, it’s Nhu Lan that steals the spotlight, with their banh mis bringing all the customers to their yard! Be sure to mind the feisty Asian mamas with their shopping trolleys, particularly around lunch time!

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The super cosy bakery not only prepares made-to-order banh mi baguette rolls but also sells various plain bread rolls, an assortment of Western baked goods (including croissants, jam tarts and cookies) as well as Asian ones such as durian/red bean cakes, banh baos (steamed buns) and cream-filled chiffon sponges.

Moving on to the banh mis.

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Selection of banh mi fillings. There is also a heated bain-marie section with grilled/BBQ fillings.

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As with most other Asian bakeries, there is no sitting room and all orders are take-away.

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The mixed ham roll is a classic combination that comprises a selection of sliced cold meats. The remainder of the filling is no different to other bread rolls (unless you specifically ask for the exclusion of particular items from your order) and includes a piece of cucumber, pickled carrots+turnips, coriander, chilli, and a spread of pâté +mayo. For those of you who are big fans of this devilishly tasty spread, you can order a bread roll with ONLY the pâté and mayo! As for the bread: expect much crunch and a mess of crumbs. Vietnamese bread rolls are by far the crunchiest breads I have encountered (when done right) and the rolls at Nhu Lan are no exception.

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BBQ chicken roll.

The fried shallots and the gentle sweetness from the glaze on the grilled tender pieces of chicken results in a flavour boost that can make the cold meat combo seem ordinary.

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Tofu roll.

Great news for vegetarians: there’s a tofu option available. But meat lovers will also enjoy this flavoursome tofu roll. Well I do anyway! Taking cues from susper and her vegetarian ways, I decided to try the tofu option one day and have since continued to order it. The creamy mayo works perfectly with the tofu sauce and results in an intense flavour pairing that actually trumps all the other bread rolls I have tried to date.

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If you’re looking for a super cheap ($4 per roll) and super fast meal that doesn’t skimp on taste, be sure to check out the banh mis at Nhu Lan. And if you’re not in the mood for a roll, their flaky pork puffs are also quite tasty.

Nhu Lan on Urbanspoon

Nhu Lan

116 Hopkins St,

Footscray, Victoria, 3011.

(03) 9689 7296