It’s Christmas Day. Disaster! Someone has forgotten to bring the prawns for lunch.
Who you gonna call?
Not only does D&K Live Seafood in Footscray have the largest range of live seafood available in Australia – they are the only shop in Melbourne that’s open for fresh seafood every day of the year.
Yes, that includes Christmas Day.
“My parents Mai Lieu and Liem started D&K Live Seafood in the 1990s and they are still at the shop every day. I reckon it’s the working mentality of arriving in Australia as Vietnamese refugees,” smiles Long, Mai Lieu and Liem’s son.
“We have not closed a day in twenty-three years. That means we’ve worked more than 8000 days in a row!”
D&K Live Seafood is one of many family businesses that the entrepreneurial Tran family have owned in Footscray over the past thirty years.
“D&K is named after my two older brothers, David and Ken,” explains Long. “My grandfather owned one of the biggest Asian grocers in Footscray. The Leeds Street building was built by my Uncle and the corner site was an Asian grocery shop run by my Auntie, while next door was the original seafood shop. We also ran Long Vien Roast Duck and Crispy Skin Pork, another business named after myself and Vinny, my younger brother.”
Now the Tran family have combined the corner site and adjoining shopfront into a new D&K Live Seafood experience. The Asian grocery store has moved a block away on Byron Street, restyling as a Japanese/Korean inspired ‘konbini’ convenience store.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between live seafood and fresh seafood on ice, Long says it’s all in the texture.
“There's a really big difference in its flavour and texture. Fresh seafood is a lot more satisfying to eat. It's softer and juicier.”
“The iced stuff, it’s okay and it serves a purpose. But sometimes, if the seafood hasn’t been prepared right before it’s frozen, it’s granular. The protein breaks down very quickly. Live mud crab is completely different when it’s been sitting on ice for four days before you cook it.”
Being an old family business hasn’t left D&K Live Seafood stuck in its ways.
The recent renovation has meant expanding the holding space for their bestselling mud crabs and lobsters, being able to offer more unique products like live marron, abalone and periwinkles and installing eye-catching features like the fizzing live oyster tanks.
The four Tran brothers also have big plans for the future, with freshly sliced sashimi and cocktail fueled events in the pipeline. They’re currently working on introducing an outdoor sit-in space where customers can sip champagne and eat oysters to their heart’s content.
“It’ll have an Asian twist!” Long says eagerly. “We’ve been wanting to do champagne and oysters for about ten years but never had the space. It’ll be exciting when it kicks off!”