116 Hopkins Street, Footscray
Price: $3.80 (note: price has gone up)
Nhu Lan has had a strong reputation for years and the place is always chockers. The range of products is stunning, from sweet to the salty. My brain and stomach were dancing when I walked in, food on all walls and a big colourful menu behind the counter. I’d happily spend day after day queuing up in the line ordering a different banh mi of each type, such is the variety. Once again I got the grilled pork and it came at an excellent price.
Once you get a taste for juice exploding banh mi, it’s hard to go back. Nhu Lan delivers expertly on most points: succulent pork, killer bread roll and the right balance of salad. But the pate and butter are sadly light on and leave the banh mi overly dry, whereas Maggi sauce, despite its spiritual flavour properties, can be applied too liberally, as in this case. It prevents the nuanced flavours from emerging, which is the one hurdle to an otherwise delicious banh mi.