Get your banh mi on at Ba’get, a new Vietnamese street food joint that has already opened two stores in the CBD. Although I wish I could attest to how good their banh mi is, I’m here to actually tell you all about their new tapas menu which is now available on Friday and Saturday nights. Coming from the a family who has been in the food industry for over two decades is, Duy the founder of Ba’get aims to bring Vietnamese street from from the Mekong Delta to the streets of Melbourne.
To promote their new tapas menu, I was invited to Ba’get along with other foodies and bloggers as a guest for a tapas taste testing.
Mekong breeze (left) and Peaceful Dragon (right)
The night started off with some refreshing drinks. The Mekong Breeze provided a cool and refreshing hit, white the Peaceful Dragon was sweet with a bit of a spice kick to it. Neither of them were that strong, nor overly sweet.
Salt and Pepper Whitebait
Perfect with beer and drinks, these fried white bait fish are a little different to your yum cha style white little fish crispies. They are crispier and saltier, which makes it perfect Vietnamese beer food.
Lemongrass pork rice paper rolls
Moving on from the fish, Duy introduced the table to DIY rice paper rolls with lemon grass pork. The divided plastic container which holds the rice paper rolls between two divided sections that you could fill with water was genius.
Very similar to what I would have at home, the lettuce unfortunately was not Vietnamese lettuce, the carrot not strongly pickled enough and the lemongrass pork although a family recipe needed more time to marinate or season as well.
My favourite feature of this DIY set up was in fact the sauce, as the combination of hoisin, vinegar, siracha and peanut appealed to all my favourite tastes.
Mama’s Chicken Wings
Just like the ones your mum or aunty might make, these friend chicken wings with its light and crispy batter did not feel oily and were seasoned just right.
Salt & Pepper Calamari
And so were the calamari as well. Say goodbye to your generically shaped calamari rings, because here at Ba’get you can expect to be eating the whole squid, tentacles and all. The tentacles were the crispiest parts of the calamari, having a very similar texture and flavour to soft shell crabs.
Pork and taro spring rolls
Another classic favourite, that you can’t really go wrong with.
Vietnamese Colesaw with chicken served with prawn crackers
I really liked the idea of having prawn crackers along with a salad. Having the prawn crackers with the coleslaw was like eating a Vietnamese taco. My preference of salads where vegetables dominate over the meat component was fulfilled in this chicken coleslaw.
Spicy prawn twists
The prawn prawn spring rolls one of my favourite dishes of the night. I liked the shape in which they were rolled up and that there was plenty of little prawns inside them. Moist and crisp at the same time, it makes such a different when things are served and eaten fresh. The siracha mayo was a recurring sauce throughout the night.
Sweet potato fries
Seasoned with cinnamon, salt and Chinese five spice, these fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside fries were the bomb. To this day, it has become of my favourite seasonings for sweet potatoes, the other one being chilli oil. You have not lived until you have tried sweet potato fries with chilli oil (or Chinese five spice).
Grilled meat ball plate
Similar to the lemongrass pork, the meatballs were a little under seasoned. From its appearance I thought it would taste like grilled pork ball patties I’m often used to at cultural festivals, but without the punch of flavour I was looking for.
Vietnamese ice coffee (left), Vietnamese sesame doughnut (middle) and Cassava cake (right)
To finish the tapas taste testing night, we were served with some Vietnamese ice coffee, a classic Vietnamese drink. It tasted like a strong coffee flavoured candy in drink form. There was no skimping on flavour here.
The Vietnamese sesame donut was surprisingly not too dense, oily or dry. It had a mild flavour to which someone commented on the need for some sort of dip to go with it. If you’re looking for the perfect dip with this sesame doughnut, it’d have to condensed milk. As my fellow Vietnamese readers may be familar with, condense milk bread sandwiches was something that we were all too familiar with. So it would go perfectly with the doughnut..
And finally to my favourite of the night, the cassava cake. Cooking the cassava batter in cake mould produced a cake with caramelized edges, adding an extra sweetness to the cake. Ba’get makes their cassava just the way I like it, not too sweet, not too dense or ‘loose’, with a good ‘bounce’ and crispy edges to gnaw at.
After exciting night trying all the new dishes on the menu, I can gladly say that I’ll definitely be paying them a visit again sometime when I’m in the city. This might either be to try their banh mi or buy more of their cassava cakes to take home and try to replicate. Either way, the Vietnamese street food store is showing a lot of promise with plans to open a couple of more stores in the months ahead.