Food and family are Catherine Vo’s life. As the co-founder of the Nicholas Street precinct restaurant Bun Bun Bao, Catherine has managed to bring both together in a way that can only be a benefit for the Ipswich community.
The Bun Bun Bao menu is a reflection of Catherine’s upbringing.
“Our menu at Bun Bun Bao is very much a fusion, Asian but mostly Vietnamese inspired,” Catherine, 31, said.
“This is due to my cultural background being Vietnamese. However, since I was born and bred in Queensland, I have grown up eating Vegemite with salt and vinegar chip sandwiches, sausage sizzles and an array of Vietnamese food, all on the same table in one sitting.
“I wanted to merge the flavours I’ve discovered throughout my life and travels as well to create truly unique and delicious eating experiences with every bite. It makes me smile when you cannot quite pick where the food is from, but just know that you want to take another bite — that is what being speechless means.”
Catherine lives in Brisbane and grew up 20 minutes from Ipswich, making visits to Queen’s Park a regular weekend outing.
“It has always been a fond memory. We would pack a picnic, bring a BBQ and lots of food to have for lunch, and it is so nice to essentially be able to share a taste of that memory with our customers in Ipswich now.”
The way Catherine describes her journey from foodie to business owner, it seems inevitable.
“I have always loved food. If I had to tell people what I love to do and there was ever a hobby or passion, then learning and eating food is my thing.
“Growing up, good food was the way you showed your love. I am so into food that anyone who meets me will eventually tell me that I should do a food blog so that they could follow my culinary adventures daily, rather than having to wait till our next catch up.
“Unlike many foodies on social media these days, I enjoy both eating and cooking to further my knowledge in food.
“I wanted to change the landscape of how people viewed the small, ‘hole in the wall’ Asian take-away shops and give our wonderful customers delicious food in a beautiful site where they could sit and enjoy their fresh meals.”
Look no further than the Nicholas Street Precinct.
“When Nicolas St Precinct opened up, it was the perfect location and opportunity for my family and I to pour our heart and soul into.”
Three Questions for Catherine
Bun Bun Bao co-founder Catherine talks about why starting a business in the precinct was the right move for her.
Q: Why did you move your business to the Nicholas Street Precinct?
A: We didn’t move the business to the precinct. We started in the precinct. We are one of the lucky ones who have managed to start a business from scratch here. We just saw so much potential. With our values we wanted something fresh, fun and exciting, and Nicholas Street is thriving — it’s like a sense of being part of something bigger — so much expansion is happening, and so many opportunities.
Q: What excites you about having a business in the precinct?
A: What excites me is that we get to be a part of the community. And the community is a big part of the business as well. With the regulars, it’s like saying hello to friends. And it’s saying hello to and meeting new people as well. I think the most exciting thing is to see that it’s a thriving place, it’s beautiful, there’s so much happening in the place that excited me. It was just a very easy decision to go into Nicholas Street with the business.
Q: Anything else?
A: The precinct offers quite a lot. It offers a beautiful space to inspire us to create a better business. It has a mix of old and new, but the new doesn’t take away from what was already here. It’s a combination of history and a beautiful environment to be in. Again, community is very important for us. It’s a sense of belonging and it’s a different demographic from what the precinct may have seen in the past, with new families coming in. It’s a new sense of community and belonging. Everyone is so friendly.”