Back in Year 9, before I had self-esteem, I dated a not-very-nice guy. Let’s call him Jake M. On one particular date, he proceeded to list his previous girlfriends, ticking them off according to their Asian countries of heritage. At the time, I knew the situation wasn’t quite right but I didn’t have the words to express his odd behaviour. Now I know. He had a severe case of yellow fever.
That was fièvre d’jaune of the bad kind; now for the good kind. It features bánh mì and coffee, and it’s right in the heart of a burgeoning hub in Redfern. Anthony and Rosie Nguyen have opened Yellow Fever on Regent Street, dishing up summery Vietnamese staples with decent coffee to boot.
The menu is concise, with a choose-your-own-protein adventure that traverses rice paper rolls, noodle salad bowls, and bánh mì.
For the latter, I choose the nem nướng filling—flat, rissole-y rounds of pork mince, properly juicy with a smokey whack from the kitchen’s chargrill. They’re squished into a long roll and padded with layers of carrot, cucumber, and shallots. The Viet-style pâté has a creamy, rustic texture that sets it worlds apart from the pasty versions of some of the other old-school hot bread stores.
The grilled five-spice pork makes a very welcome appearance in the vermicelli salad. It’s a colourful plate of vermicelli, cucumber, slaw, peanuts and herbs (from Anthony’s dad’s garden), and pre-dressed with fish sauce so you don’t screw up the sauce-to-noodle ratio. I’m provided with a fork and spoon (and all of the questions), which makes grasping the slippery noodles somewhat of a challeng, but challenge accepted. I have a pretty good feeling that Redfernians will be flocking to this dish when the weather warms.
For breakfast, Yellow Fever has been doing a roaring trade wiht their VB roll—that’s a Vientamese breakfast roll of fried spam and eggs to you, good sir. They also do a great espresso with Little Marionette beans, sweet-as Vietnamese iced coffees, and pretty-in-purple taro lattes.
So roll up, Redfernians. Yellow Fever is in the hood, with some of the best bahn mi in Sydney, and it’s waiting for you!
Except you, Jake M.
Speaking of Bahn Mi, how many of these have you tried?
Image credit: Caitlin Hicks