Full of pho? Meet Nang, a boozy new Vietnamese restaurant opposite Flinders Street Station, which originally served noodle soups, but is now the only place in the city where you can try around 10 varieties of oc (sea snails).
Snails are a kingpin drinking snack of Ho Chi Minh City. So when owners Jennifer and Tri Nguyen found their soup dream didn't fire (Jennifer's mother runs a shop just next door), they enlisted a Vietnamese artist to paint a mural, and added more booze and Vietnamese pop videos.
Now Nang caters to a beer-drinking international student crowd. There's oc huong (spotted Babylon snails) on butter-drenched sweetcorn; ornate red snails with chilli garlic jam; finger-like razor clams in sticky tamarind sauce; giant sea snails, sliced, stir-fried and served with baguette, and new season Aussie cockles, among others.
According to Jennifer, some bring their Australian-born friends for something new.
"It's very hard for Australians to get to know about this kind of food, so that's why we decided to do something different," says Jennifer.
"Locals only know pho or rice or Vietnamese pancake."
More familiar are spring rolls, crispy pork and roast chicken on rice, but there's also a page of duck and quail balut (developing bird embryos).
New dishes are added every two weeks, with sizzling coconut crocodile expected soon.
The Nguyens return to Vietnam every six months to bring back the latest trends. Right now "upside-down beer cocktails" are hot – fruity fishbowls garnished with an upturned bottle of lager.
You can try them at Nang, alongside two varieties of house-made ruou de (rice whisky) and a selection of beer.
Open Mon-Fri 4pm-11.30pm, Sat 3pm-midnight, Sun 3pm-11.30pm.
294 Flinders Street, Melbourne, 0424 926 777, nang-bar-and-grill-restaurant.business.site