Sydney chef Luke Nguyen is best-known for his accolade-rich Red Lantern restaurant, but he’s pretty excited about his latest venture: a food court pop-up restaurant selling take-away.
Luke Nguyen’s got it pretty sweet. When he’s not taking care of things at Red Lantern in Surry Hills or managing his ever-growing stable of Fat Noodle eateries, he’s likely to be found somewhere deep in Southeast Asia enthusiastically sampling the wares of bemused street-side food vendors while filming his TV series Luke Nguyen’s Street Food Asia for SBS.
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If you tuned into the first episode of the show at the beginning of this month, you’d have seen the chef in Ho Chi Minh City, his family’s original hometown, and watched as he made his way around a traditional food market, pausing for a bowl of rice vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and fragrant herbs.
That’s where Nguyen’s latest project comes in.
Luke Nguyen's Pad Thai Egg Net – this isn't your local take-away joint. Image supplied
The chef was so inspired by the delicacies he found sold on the streets of Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia that he decided to bring those spicy, sour, sweet, hot, delicious flavours to Sydney.
The Luke Nguyen Street Food pop-up, in the Café Court at The Star will be operating for three months. Don’t miss out on the chance to try dishes such as Maggi Goreng – instant noodles with tofu, lap cheong, choy sum and a fried egg from Kuala Lumpur, or Lobster Tom Yum, a dish of lobster, mussels, kaffir lime and vermicelli noodles – fresh from the kitchen by way of the streets of Asia.
There are two moreish drinks on offer that double as desserts. The idea of an Avocado and Chocolate Shake might seem questionable, but one taste of the creamy avocado blended with condensed milk and ice, topped with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce convinces. The other is a spin on classic Vietnamese coffee: drip coffee and condensed milk with coffee ice-cream and shaved frozen coconut milk.
Avocado and Chocolate Shake. Image supplied
Each month, Nguyen is featuring a special “dish with a twist”, the first of which is his Pho-guette – all the elements of a classic Vietnamese pho on in a baguette and minus the noodles.
Café Court, Level G, The Star, Pyrmont, New South Wales