The story of Great Aunty Three begins in Can Tho, Vietnam – current owner Michael Le’s birthplace, where his grandmother ran a popular restaurant which was the talk of the town.
Michael’s traditional Vietnamese family placed great importance on mealtimes and authentic recipes, instilling his love of food from an early age. But it wasn’t until he travelled back to his birthplace to reconnect with his roots that he fell in love with the concept of Vietnamese street food.
Wandering through the streets of Can Tho, Michael found himself in awe of the choice of food available for passers-by to indulge in. He knew straight away that he wanted to recreate this experience in Sydney. And a couple of years later, he made the bold move to quit his 9-5 IT job and set about opening his first Vietnamese street food joint on the corner of Enmore Road and Phillip Street in Enmore – the inner-city suburb where his hard-working family had worked long hours to provide a stable life for Michael and his siblings.
Initially, Michael’s decision was met with more than a little resistance from his family. In fact, his mother was the only person who believed he had made the right choice. Luckily, the rest of the family have since come around to the idea, too.
Michael’s mother has since passed away, but these days he is ably assisted by his wife Mai (who also happens to be his biggest supporter). His grandmother regularly checks in when she’s in Sydney – she’s proud to be the inspiration for Michael’s business venture – after all, it’s her recipes, passed down through the generations, that he recreates in the shop.
Dishes on offer at Great Aunty Three include traditional favourites such as pho, sandwiches and Vietnamese rolls. But the signature dish is Bún Heo Quay, their famous pork belly and crackling soup which is made with slow-roasted pork belly and hearty noodles. Cooked for 12 hours, the result is a traditional, Vietnamese family favourite which offers fresh and lively flavours. Choose from a range of additional sauces – our favourite is the hot spicy sauce and soy.
Michael Le has come a long way from picking up litter in the streets of Enmore to earn himself a little pocket money – and he has absolutely no regrets. After all, his is a story of passion, resilience… and delicious noodle soup.