"Introducing Vietnamese Food to a Wide Audience Across Australia."

A (brief) history of Australian food

"From kefir and kakas to katsu and kimchi, what was once 'foreign food' is now just the way we eat around here.

Every seventies and eighties Aussie kid with migrant parents tells the same 'embarrassing lunch box story'. How the focaccia or bahn mi or matzo singled them out in the playground. How the other kids turned their noses up and insisted that their dumplings, sushi or baba ganoush made them smell. How all they ever wanted was a jam sandwich like the other kids, but ima/mama/ammi thought that was like eating cake for lunch.

Australia has come a long way in the past thirty or so years. Lunch boxes are now as varied as the food we eat at home. From Vietnamese to Korean to Polish to Chinese, Italian, Creole and on and on, most Australian tastebuds travel far and wide in any given week. Even the smallest shopping mall has a food court that offers more than one 'international cuisine', with Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese being perennially popular...

Street food Vietnamese-style
Vietnamese refugees fleeing from the devastation of the Vietnam war also brought a little street food magic with them: pho. By this time, Australia was well-into Cantonese food, with a Chinese restaurant mandatory in every town, but lemon chicken and sweet and sour pork did not quite prepare the population for the fragrant broth that would eventually become a national obsession.

The Vietnamese community began opening family-run restaurants to feed their own in working class suburbs like Melbourne’s Richmond and Footscray and Sydney’s Cabramatta and Canley Vale. For many, cooking started as a way to make some money while attending English classes.

'Most cooks were amateurs who turned to cooking to earn a modest income,' Tess Do, a lecturer at Melbourne University's School of Languages and Linguistics, told Vice. 'The whole family, including young children, would join in to help.'

Pho Tau Bay, Cabramatta’s first Vietnamese restaurant, opened in 1980 on Park Street but it had operated out of a garage for years before that. Up the road in John Street, Luke and Pauline Nguyen’s parents, Lap Nguyen and Cue Phuong Nguyen, soon opened up Pho Cay Du (now Café Cay Du), inspiring a new generation of Australian foodies. Luke and Pauline went on to open Red Lantern in Sydney’s Surry Hills in 2002, and their innovative cooking was instrumental in introducing Vietnamese food to a wide audience across Australia." 

Article by Bron Maxabella for SBS.

Join the Red Lantern Family as We Celebrate
Red Lantern's 16th Birthday Dinner

There is much to celebrate! Can you believe that it has been 16 years since we first opened our doors? 16 years! Not a bad innings hey?

Over the years, we have seen so many restaurants come and go. We are proud to say that, 16 years later, Red Lantern is still going strong, surviving and thriving in what is, an incredibly fickle, saturated and competitive industry.

Over the years we have seen delicious times as well as tumultuous times – times so tough we have fallen to our knees. But in true Red Lantern style, we get back up, we dust ourselves off and we swing the bat again… and we swing the bat again.

The Universe Rewards the Unreasonably Determined.

Indeed, there is much to celebrate!

In our continued commitment to uplift the human spirit through the alchemy of flavour, hospitality and heart, we are throwing a big birthday bash. Luke will fly in especially, to celebrate with us.

This is an experience not to be missed. BOOK NOW!


Four-course shared table experience with matching wines from Hahndorf Hill Winery

Red Lantern's Signature Pham Fatale Cocktail
House infused kaffir lime leaf vodka with lychee and ginger liqueurs and coconut water


Aunty 5’s rice cakes with tiger prawns, caramelised pork, pork floss and shallot oil
Pan seared scallops with Schezuan and peanut crumble
Crispy five spiced quail

2017 Hahndorf Hill 'Gru' Gruner Veltliner
94 Points - Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront
Gold Medal - Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2017
Gold Medal - Berliner Wein Trophy 2018, Germany


Blue swimmer crab and pomelo salad
Wok fried snapper
Pippis wok tossed in Red Lantern's XO sauce

2018 Hahndorf Hill Rosé
New Vintage Release
2016 Vintage Rosé was Halliday- rated as the top rosé in Australia


Char grilled honey and shallot pork loin chop with a green papaya salad
Lap Nguyen's secret family goat curry

2016 Hahndorf Hill 'Blueblood' Blaufrankisch
New Vintage Release
2015 Vintage Awards:
Gold Medal - Berliner Wein Trophy 2017, Germany
Silver Medal - London International Wine Challenge 2017, UK
Silver Medal - Australian Cool Climate Wine Show 2016


alternate drop
Sesame and rice flour dumplings filled with caramelised soursop with black sesame ice cream
Coconut tapioca pudding with sweet potato, popcorn and caramel ice cream

2016 Hahndorf Hill ‘Green Angel’  Late Harvest Gruner Veltliner
94 Points - James Halliday
Gold Medal - Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2017
Silver Medal - AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge 2017, Austria
Silver Outstanding Medal - International Wine & Spirit Competition 2017, UK


Red Lantern on Riley
60 Riley Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
6.30pm – Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Phuong Nguyen