“Don’t give up. Be persistent!”
That was my grandpa’s mantra. And something he drummed into my soul. His name was Han Dinh Nguyen. He lived through the Vietnam Wars in Saigon, where the most important thing was survival. And to support his family of 9, he did a variety of jobs from baking bread, making chopsticks, clothes and shoes, and even housing construction.
But his magic had, and always would be, in the kitchen. And while money was scarce, with his creativity, the cheap cuts of meats and home grown vegetables were turned into a feast. He always cooked from the heart, using simple ingredients to create home-cooked goodness. Somehow, that seed of inspiration had been planted in my soul and took root after my grandpa passed away. I decided to quit my job as a mechanic and open my own restaurant.
The Rock Yard menu is based on traditional Southern Vietnamese recipes, the region where my family is from. Part of our history is tied to French and Chinese culture and you can taste each country’s influence in many of our dishes. We aim to strike the perfect balance between sweet, sour, salty, bitter, hot and umami, and to cater for any occasion and time of day.
Another inspiration comes from my step-father – Thach Khac Nguyen– a really close friend of my late father, who passed away when I was 2 years old in a car accident. He looked after me and my brother as if we were his own kids. And as it is my family’s tradition to name our business after the person who we honor and admire, The Rockyard was born, inspired by his name which literally means “Rock Yard” in Vietnamese.
As my best memories are centered around family meals and the banter that echoed from them, I hope everyone enjoys our dishes made from family recipes, featuring fresh locally sourced products. We are happiest when everyone is enjoying great food in great company.
Thuan Tran – Head Chef