Banh Mi Factory is now slinging Vietnamese street food in a Newstead back street at Liquid Laundry.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sinking one’s teeth into the flaky crust of a bang-on banh mi, and few joints do the delicacy justice as well as Banh Mi Factory. The market-born Vietnamese street-food concept went legit in December 2019, snagging tastebuds of northside locals with its first bricks-and-mortar dispensary in Zillmere. Now the family-run business has expanded, opening a hole-in-the-wall dispensary on a side street in Newstead’s fringe. Here the banh mis are fresh and flaky, stuffed with perfectly chargrilled proteins and served alongside noodle and rice bowls, snacks, sweet treats and authentic Vietnamese coffee.

There’s a lot that separates a standout banh mi from a simply satisfactory alternative. To some, the bread roll is crucially important – it needs to have the right amount of interior softness and exterior crunch to be palatable. For others, the zingy tang of pickled vegetables or the moreish flavours of grilled meat are what makes devouring a banh mi an enlivening experience. What do you get when all of these aspects are just right? That, our friends, is what you’re likely to discover at Banh Mi Factory. The crew behind this family business have spent years (generations, even) perfecting not only the beloved banh mi, but also a host of Vietnamese street eats. Originally conceived as a market-based operation, the concept has grown to include two standalone eateries – one launched in late 2019 near Zillmere’s industrial heart while the second, which just opened to the public on Wednesday July 28, can be found tucked away on Austin Street in Newstead. The Banh Mi Factory team was invited to open the hole-in-the-wall concept at the front of high-end laundromat Liquid Laundry, which sits next to Rogue Bistro and Oliver James Coffee as the only foodie options on the strip. Seeing a neat gap in the market for an express lunch option for locals eager to avoid Newstead’s more populated precincts, the Banh Mi Factory crew signed up, transforming the tight 18-sqm space into a handy grab-and-go dispensary – sort of like a modern interpretation of a traditional Vietnamese street-food stall.

Although its physical footprint means the offering is smaller than its dine-in counterpart in Zillmere (no deep fryer means no spring rolls, sorry folks), the Banh Mi Factory team aren’t cutting any corners. Here, flavours are well-balanced, ingredients are fresh and service is fast – with traditional and family recipes utilised across a range of salivation-worthy staples. The banh mi is, naturally, a specialty – a beautifully soft and flaky Viet-style French baguette (sourced from a specialty bakery in Inala) is stuffed with your choice of chargrilled lemongrass chicken, beef, pork or tofu (all marinated for 24 hours), as well as pickled carrots, daikon and a smear of pate and mayo (both of which are made daily in house). Banh Mi Factory’s menu also includes vermicelli noodle salads, steamed jasmine rice bowls, chicken satay sticks and house made barbecue-pork skewers. Soon the team will add pho to the menu, boasting 24-hour slow-cooked beef and slurp-worthy noodles. Folks eager for a sweet finish can also snag Doughluxe doughnuts and pastries from Le Bon Choix, washed down with authentic Vietnamese-style iced coffee.

Banh Mi Factory is now open to the public – head to the Stumble Guide for more info.

Author: James Frostick, The Weekend Edition

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