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Temi George / Columbia Daily Spectator

Pop-up shop Bánh Vietnamese Shop House serves traditional Vietnamese food to the Morningside Heights community. Despite the pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry, the shop has been so successful that it will open as a full-time restaurant in early December.

With a sunny yellow awning inviting Morningside Heights patrons to indulge in classic dishes like rice cakes, pork belly, and banana leaves, the new Bánh Vietnamese Shop House on 942 Amsterdam Ave serves Vietnamese dishes rarely offered in New York City.

Bánh Vietnamese Shop House, co-owner John Nguyen’s second venue, will open its doors full-time in early December. Specializing in authentic Vietnamese food, this popular weekend pop-up shop has welcomed hoards of customers since its soft opening on Oct. 30.

Despite many restaurants having closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic both in the area and across the country, Bánh Vietnamese Shop House has had no trouble bringing in customers.

“There’s so many people showing up to the restaurant that it’s overloading the kitchen, so we’re not even taking the online orders right now,” Nguyen said.

The mission of the restaurant is to celebrate Vietnamese culture, and Nguyen feels that the Morningside Heights community is doing just that.

“It turns out that the New York market is really receptive to trying new things and engaging in cultures that they’re not familiar with. So, we are kind of benefactors of New York, basically,” Nguyen said.

Noah Sheidlower

Each weekend, the chefs prepare new dishes in order to finalize the menu for when the restaurant opens full-time. Diners can expect classic Vietnamese dishes that are more commonly found in Nguyen’s home state of California than in Vietnamese restaurants in New York City.

In addition to its signature plate Bánh Cuốn, a steamed rice roll dish that is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine, the restaurant will offer other dishes like Bún Mang Vit, a duck noodle soup that has been particularly popular during its pop-up weekends. A well-loved dish called Báhn Chưng Chiên, which is usually only served during the Vietnamese New Year, will also be offered year-round on the menu.

Nguyen noted that the customers have enjoyed dishes that he considers to be intimidating for less adventurous eaters. One of these dishes is a dish called Phá Lấu that consists of intestines braised in a rich sauce and served with french bread.

“I would definitely say that [Phá Lấu] is a dish I didn’t expect to do as well as it’s doing, and I almost reluctantly put it on there, but it’s doing so well,” Nguyen said. “It’s one of my favorite dishes as well because of the flavor, and it’s just a really fun dish to eat through.”

Bánh Vietnamese Shop House is open Friday 5:30 PM - Soldout and Saturday and Sunday 12 PM - 3 PM and 5:30 PM - Soldout. They will open for full service in early December.

Staff writer Bella Druckman can be contacted at bella.druckman@columbiaspectator.com. Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Bánh Vietnamese Shop House Pop-up shop John Nguyen Bella Druckman COVID-19
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