Saigon Street Food In Stoneybatter? A New Food Truck Signals Summer In The City
Flavours of Hanoi mixed with Dublin craic
It's far from Vietnam that the once-Viking stronghold Stoneybatter was reared, yet as with all good things, they come to those who wait.
We thought Stoneybatter's millennial makeover had peaked with the introduction of wild boar on the menu and craft beers, but the newest addition to the neighbourhood shows that the melting pot of north Dublin shows no sign of slowing down as the coolest area in town.
Vietnom is a (yep, you guessed it) Vietnamese food truck that moved into The Glimmer Man pub a few weeks ago, just in time for summer.
Tucked away in the back of the beer garden, a colourful food truck is bringing Saigon to Stoneybatter
It's set up by Milly Murphy and Alex Grunee, two food-loving seemingly free spirits who'll make you want to quit your 9-5 job, don a bandana and go chase that dream.
The pair met in Trinity, and set up Vietnom after a stint in San Francisco
"I was travelling around Vietnam for a few months," Milly says, "and then working as a chef in San Francisco and there was such an amazing Vietnamese culture over there, Little Saigon and all these amazing things.
"Bringing vegetarian versions of Vietnamese food to Ireland is still not done”, she laughs. "We saw an opportunity and we ran with it."
Alex tells me that they had "always sorta joked about doing something like this but it never really happened.
"We started playing sort of ‘Chicken’ and seeing who would chicken out of the idea first, but no-one did – so here we are!”
The menu – which changes weekly and is purely veggie – uses local ingredients to whip up exotic tastes
Vietnom focuses on "local, free range, sustainable, organic and seasonal ingredients to create vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options" for their fusion street food.
Milly's experience as a chef in the States and in Dublin (she worked for nearby spot Slice) is highlighted in each dish: there's nothing too jarring or any element you wish was different.
Vietnamese food is fresh and zesty, usually made with a spattering of chilli, garlic and lime, and Vietnom's rotating menu makes good use of them all.
A crispy tear 'n' share tostada with lime slaw and a sesame broccoli noodle dish provide bursts of colour
The Saigon Tostada (€6) is a cracking sheet of East-meets-West, sprinkled with sesame seeds and topped with a crunchy organic lime slaw and pickled red onion.
Scoop up the veg and chow down. You'll demolish this in between sips from a pint without even realising it.
A seasme broccoli noodle salad (€7) is Milly's fave (“it’s so fresh and it’s the exact flavours that we ate in Vietnam and went nuts for"), and I can see why. I couldn't stop eating it. Even after my boyfriend spilled half his beer all over it. RIP.
With pickled carrots, fried onions and peanuts, the ginger and chilli dressing is the perfect lightness to the already delicate AF glass noodles.
While the tangy Banh Mi offer a different take on the beloved Vietnamese bite: honey mushrooms and a BBQ Teriyaki paneer is how it's done at Vietnom
While your regular Banh Mi would be made with juicy pork and a thick smear of pate, these veggie options are surprisingly satisfying.
The honey roasted mushrooms are dense and meaty, and this Banh Mi (€7) is also packed with fresh leaves and a peanut and shallot crust. A sourdough baguette means it's a crispier sambo then the traditional take but we liked it.
Usually there's some sort of Pho broth on the menu, but with the weather being an absolute beaut this weekend that was quickly scrapped by Milly and Alex in favour of a special BBQ Teriyaki paneer Banh Mi (€8) with a Sriracha aioli.
Paneer, a type of fresh cheese that's popular in South Asia, was a little too tart to really go with the Teriyaki for me but my greedy other half wolfed it.
Sitting outside in the sunshine with all this amazing food and tunes in the background made me think back to summers spent schweatin' in India and SE Asia, and the holiday vibe of Vietnom is the perfect match for The Glimmer Man's laid back space.
But be warned... You'll be facing some wuff (SO sorry couldn't resist) competition at the food truck queue
Milly and Alex have a third business partner; Layla, a very pretty spaniel who lounges around their feet and is so well trained she doesn't even try to tempt you from your scraps.
The Glimmer Man is dog friendly, incase you needed yet another reason to become obsessed with this place.
As people came up and down to place their orders at the truck I saw just how much scope there is to do exciting things in Dublin's food scene if you can only get past the red tape and channel your passion.
They'll be at The Glimmer Man all summer and will also be hauling the truck to Electric Picnic for a weekend of festival eats. As for the overall future?
“Stay here and enjoy the sun?”, they say. Sounds like a plan.
Vietnom is open in the beer garden of The Glimmer Man Thurs-Sat from 6-11pm.
All photographs: Sarah Clayton-Lea/Lovin Dublin