If you're a fan of Vietnamese Chef, SBS Travel Presenter and all round good guy Luke Nguyen, and let's face it, who isn't ?, then you'll want to get down to his Street Food Pop Up kiosk at The Star in Sydney,
The Pop Up opened to coincide with Luke's latest SBS series Street Food Asia. And he brings some of his favourite food discoveries from that series to the Pop Up.
The Street Food Asia travel and food show is a feast for the senses and it's hard not to want to climb into the TV set and join Luke as he travels around Thai, Malay, Indonesian and Vietnamese cities sampling some of the street food loved by the locals. I can't wait to get back to Vietnam in January to check out some of his recommendations although I know I won't have nearly enough time to even make a dent in the list. For now though I'll settle for sampling some of the dishes at The Star Pop Up.
We were lucky enough to visit the Street Food Pop Up recently and in true TV Travel and Food show (think Bourdain, Stein and Nguyen) style we had to taste as many dishes as we could. I'm not going to pretend the prices were Asia Street Food prices - this is Sydney don't forget, but we did have a feast for under $100.
The ubiquitous Vietnamese Pork Roll was a a no-brainer for my young 12 year old foodie son to choose. Think he would happily live on a diet of Vietnamese Pork Rolls and Pho Noodle Soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Found all over Vietnam the Bahn Mi (Pork Roll) at Luke's Pop Up has a generous topping of fresh herbs and Pork Floss.
Coconut and Scallop Betel Leaves were next and they had just the right amount of texture variety and chilli kick. Not possible to not choose a betel leaf dish when I come across one on a menu.
Inspired by a dish Luke enjoyed in Bangkok the Lobster Tom Yum soup was the best dish of the night. Somewhere between a laska, a bouillabaisse and a tom yum the Soup was fishy, spicy and delicious.
If you're a Red Lantern Restaurant regular (Luke and Mark Jensen's Vietnamese eatery in Sydney) you'll no doubt be a lover of the Aunty 5s Rice Cakes entree. These have been recreated at the Pop Up. They haven't come out of the Red Lantern kitchen so not as exquisite as they are there but still a dish we couldn't go past. And anything with pork floss on top is a winner in my book anyhow.
There are very few Thai restaurants in Sydney, if not all of Australia where you'll find Pad Thai as it should be and that is wrapped in an egg net. Otherwise known as Pad Thai Hor Kai the Pad Thai at Luke Nguyen's pop up is authentic, has the textural additions of the side condiments of nuts and chilli seeds and is finished off with Soft Shell Crab. Come on everyone - get down to the Pop Up before it closes. You have to indulge in this Pad Thai Hor Kai!
To experience the Street Food of Asia whilst still in Sydney get down to The Star as quickly as you can as the Pop Up is due to close at the end of November. For more info visit The Star Pop Up
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