Need to fortify yourself after a shopping trip to Footscray Market?
Those in the know pull up a stool to slurp a steaming bowl of noodles or fragrant congee from Huu Thanh and Huu Huu Thanh.
Came from Vietnam as refugees
“Our family came from Vietnam as refugees in 1981, and we started Huu Thanh twenty-one years ago in the original shop at the food court,” explains Elizabeth Vuong, the owner of Huu Thanh. “We soon got very busy, and we wanted to offer more dishes to our customers that our small kitchen couldn’t handle. So when the opportunity arose to start a second store, my brother Michael opened Huu Huu Thanh.”
“Huu means good, and Thanh means successful in Vietnamese,” interjects Michael. “So Huu Huu Thanh means double good!”
Since 2008 lucky market goers have had two restaurants to choose from, depending on what their stomach desires. Each shop specialises in different dishes, and there is no overlap in the short menus, which means there are numerous opportunities to explore their tightly curated collection of family recipes.
Produce is all sourced from within the market, so you can be ensured of the freshest ingredients.
“At Huu Thanh, I specialise in spicy noodles Bun Bo Hue and what we call ‘smelly noodle soup’ Bun Mam,” explains Elizabeth.
“Whereas at Huu Huu Thanh, we offer traditional pho and congee – pork offal is our most popular,” says Michael.
“We are both in the kitchen cooking, but being siblings, it means we’re able to help each other out across the two shops when needed. Our mum also helps to do some of the ingredient preparation. It’s a whole-family affair.”
Elizabeth and Michael’s focus on doing a few dishes really well means that they have a loyal customer base, many of whom they know by name and who have been coming to share food with them for years.
“We enjoy being part of people’s Footscray Market ritual. Our regulars will shop at the market, stop for their lunch with us and then we have a chat and catch up with them. Once we know what you like, we might even offer you an off-menu item!” Elizabeth winks.