Until two weeks ago, there was a pho-shaped hole in the CBD’s lunchtime dining scene. Who had the time or energy to make the trek over to Northbridge for a proper bowl of Vietnamese soup? Instead, the lunch-break foragers settled with subpar fast food from dodgy takeaway joints – all the while, unable to quell the unmistakable aching for pho.
Even if there weren’t a void to be filled, newbie Mama Tran was destined for success for the simple reason that it’s owned by the Tran family. That’s right – the same Trans who own the iconic Asian groceries in Northbridge, Leederville and Mt Lawley. In fact, the Trans’ Newcastle street warehouse alone receives 10 containers a month from overseas, making it one of Perth’s largest Asian food specialists.
Like the grocery stores, Mama Tran is a family affair. Grandma can be seen scooping noodles into bowls, aunts and uncles sweat in the kitchen and grandson Jonny – who’s in charge, by the looks of it – greets the bevy of lunchtime customers as if the business has been running for years. You’ll swear it has, too, judging from how the family work in the kitchen like a well oiled machine.
Mama Tran describes itself as a “modern day hawker with wholesome food for people on the go”. And they live up to the promise. The food comes out fast and delicious. Besides the amazing pho, the menu contains other Vietnamese classics like rice paper rolls, Com Tam Suon (rice with grilled pork) and Banh Mi (baguettes stuffed with pork or chicken).
Is this the beginning of the Tran family’s take-over of Perth? As long as they keep feeding us this well, we will happily surrender. Behold, the power of pho.
(Also published in AgendaCity)