There’s no such thing as soggy sandwiches for the students of St John’s Primary School in Footscray.
These lucky kids can order their school lunch from nearby eatery DT Fusionz Ebi Fine Food, and choose from a menu of sushi, inari, onigiri, rice paper rolls and even a mini tonkatsu bento box.
Thanh Nguyen arrived in Melbourne’s west from Vietnam in 1997 and took over Ebi Fine Food, a tiny Japanese restaurant and ‘fish and chippery’, in October 2020. The business had been dormant for six months before that and friends told her she was crazy to take it on.
Since Thanh relaunched Ebi Fine Food she has given it a slightly different name – DT Fusionz Ebi Fine Foods. The D stands for ‘duc’, a Vietnamese word that roughly translates to goodwill or good karma, and T is for ‘thanh’ which stands for successful. So ‘DT’ means that if you work with your heart you will have success.
The ‘fusionz’ in the new name means that the menu has moved away from exclusively home-style Japanese food to incorporate more Vietnamese dishes that are aligned with Thanh’s heritage as well as other popular Asian dishes such as Korean bibimbap.
Don’t worry, you can still get sushi! In fact, Thanh visits her friend’s fishmonger at Footscray Market every market day at 7 am to ensure that she gets the freshest, most choice cuts filleted for her restaurant.
This also ensures that the fish for the Aussie-style fish and chip component of the menu is as fresh as can be.
Thanh’s signature dish is the Bento Box of the Day because her loyal customers like to try lots of different small dishes and the items change every week. In the future, she’s also keen to serve pho once a month and sell her spicy beef jerky, made with no MSG and particularly good paired with beer.
“I have always loved hospitality and serving others,” smiles Thanh. “I love cooking and I do it from my heart. Nothing makes me happier than to see people enjoying and liking my food.”