Mr & Mrs Bánhmì
Mr & Mrs Bánhmì
640 Glenferrie Road
It was four years ago that Christine Tran finally merged her different sets of culinary skills to open Mr & Mrs Bánhmì in Glenferrie Hawthorn.
Christine was born in Saigon and moved to Australia in 1989 at the age of 16 with her mother and brother. It was many years later that they were eventually joined by her father, and the family moved to East Keilor where her mother and father still reside.
Christine later moved to Footscray where she first began her culinary journey. At the time, her boyfriend's family owned a pie business, so he was the first to teach Christine everything about pastry and baking. In 2001, she opened Pie Time in Thomastown which is still open today, now mainly run by her father.
Since she left Vietnam at a young age, Christine had to learn all about Vietnamese cooking herself. Following her passion for cooking and keen interest in learning, Christine opened a Vietnamese restaurant in Footscray with her brother in 2010. Although her brother mostly ran the restaurant until its closure six months ago, she was still able to nurture her skills in cooking and business ownership.
In August 2017, Christine eventually "came up with the idea that combines my two skill types" from the bakery and Vietnamese restaurant to create Mr & Mrs Bánhmì specialising in Vietnamese rolls. When choosing a name, Christine did not want a "traditional name like in Richmond or Footscray" and instead decided on something that "everyone could understand".
More than just a business owner, Christine is very hands-on at the shop as she is "passionate about food" and enjoys taking part in the product being assembled and served to customers. For regulars, Christine sometimes likes to "offer something else, because I can cook so many other things". She has made fried rice, vermicelli and other off-menu options to offer variety and because it is "something we love to do".
Glenferrie was the perfect location for the shop as Christine has lived nearby in Kew for the past 16 years. It also allowed her to be close to her two daughters, who live locally with their father, while they attended Methodist Ladies’ College. Before opening the business, Christine spent a lot of time dining in the area since she "appreciates other chefs and how they cook". She particularly enjoys "how the venue is made up", still frequenting many local restaurants including Lulo, Vaporetto Bar & Eatery, Laksa Garden, Colourful Yunnan, and Rococo both with friends and her daughters. Christine purchases most of her ingredients for Mr & Mrs Bánhmì from local grocers Jinfu Asian Grocery Supermarket and Grand Laguna.
Christine is pleased to see neighbouring shops continue to improve, especially because it "looks pretty with the new pancake shop next door" and since "council just did the laneway [mural]" in Glenferrie Place between 99 Pancakes and TeaMore. Christine does worry about how expensive rent is in the area, as she "wants to see more businesses succeeding so there is even more variety".
Christine feels thankful for the supportive local community, because "during the pandemic people would come here, not just because they felt like having the food, but because they wanted to support us."