Luke Nguyen Street Food Pop Up @ The Star

Olivia Watson
23rd Aug 2016

Legendary chef and media personality Luke Nguyen has just opened a Southeast Asian street food pop-up in The Star, coinciding with the launch of his new SBS TV series Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia.

The temporary space, which has previously featured two pop-up ventures Sokyo Ramen and Singapore Hawker Style, will be home to Luke Nguyen Street Food from now until the end of November, serving up tasty treats from his travels around the world.

"I think it's theatre", Nguyen says of Southeast Asian street food, and explains his belief that it is the best way to experience culture and the real life of a place. A sneak peek of the upcoming TV show indicates he certainly did do his best to get into the spirit of discovering the food, culture and spirit of the cities he visited during filming.

The menu at the new venue is inspired by his favourite dishes from the destinations featured in the new series, including Saigon, Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. He suggests that viewers are "going to be salivating" over the food seen in the program, and the pop-up restaurant will be their chance to come try the food for themselves after seeing it on their screens.

There's a Vietnamese baguette with Wagyu beef braised in pho broth (which Nguyen calls the "Pho-Guette") - it does truly taste like pho in a baguette ($17). Smashed Fried Chicken with rice ($15) presents a twist on a Jakarta street food classic, as the chicken is first cooked with the sous-vide technique before being fried.

The menu also includes Nguyen's take on the ever familiar Pad Thai - but as inspired by his foodie adventures overseas, he explains that the texture is "a little bit different" to what we're used to, and the dish is served impressively in an intricate egg net ($18).

And the creativity doesn't stop at the food - a signature drinks list offers an Avocado and Chocolate shake ($8), that tastes much more of chocolate than avocado but is indeed delightfully green, and a jazzed up Vietnamese Iced Coffee with shaved frozen coconut milk and coffee ice cream ($8). It's quite a sophisticated take on a Vietnamese classic.

The series follows Nguyen's travels through the streets of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, exploring the best of the local street food, some of which is now on offer back here in Sydney at this pop-up.

Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia begins Thursday September 1st on SBS.

Luke Nguyen Street Food can be found in the Café Court at The Star until the end of November:

Sun - Mon 11.30am - 9pm; Tue - Thu 11.30am - 10.30pm; Fri - Sat 11.30am - 11pm

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80 Pyrmont Street