16 February 2024

New Griffith 'Bahn Mi Queen' anointed as Vietnamese favourite returns to town

| Oliver Jacques
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Four women in black T-shirts selling bahn mi

Kiara Taufa is flanked by friends Leslie Fatafehi, Sophie Bozic and Teresa Farronato, selling bahn mi on Valentine’s Day. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffith residents devastated by the departure of the town’s only bahn mi vendor Paris Floyd can rejoice once more – with her protege launching a mobile food van that sells crunchy Vietnamese baguettes on Banna Avenue.

“Kiara Taufa is the new Banh Mi Queen and l have happily encouraged her to take my crown,” Ms Floyd said.

Ms Taufa, 32, used to help Ms Floyd make bahn mi, rice paper rolls, laksas and other dishes, which were sold from her house over the past two years. It was the only place in Griffith that served Vietnamese food.

“Paris has taught me all her yummy tips so that I can continue making her amazing food for you all,” Ms Taufa said.

“My business Kiara’s Kitchen is now open. I’m going to start by selling bahn mi, offering lemongrass chicken, crispy roast pork, salmon and vegetarian sandwiches. I also sell homemade cookies and may do rice paper rolls in the future,” she said.

Her bahn mi are generously sized and include peanuts, coriander and a side of soya sauce and are served from a food truck on Banna Avenue opposite Woolworths.

Bahn mi close-up

Kiara’s bahn mi are massive. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Taufa will balance her new business alongside her day job in a hair salon and raising her three children.

Her meals need to be preordered by messaging the Facebook page Kiara’s Kitchen, which keeps people updated on her activity. At this stage, her van will be in operation every Wednesday.

On Valentine’s Day she did a roaring trade, enlisting the support of friends Teresa Farronato, Leslie Fatafehi and Sophie Bozic to help cope with the large number of orders.

“Kiara was my greatest asset,” Ms Floyd said. “She had grit to endure the pressure. She was industrial and likeable by our customers. She also went above and beyond her role by offering to pick up my kids from school when I had a late customer or she would offer to deliver food.

“The last banh mi that came out of my kitchen last year was actually prepared and made by Kiara. We didn’t tell any of our customers to test if they would know the difference. And there was no negative feedback.”

Paris Floyd in front of her bookshelf

Paris Floyd often gave her delicious food away for free. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Region has chronicled the extraordinary life story of Paris Floyd, the daughter of a Laotian CIA agent who came to Australia as a refugee before she became singer Kyle Minogue’s lingerie designer.

In addition to selling Vietnamese food from her home in Griffith, she also donated a large amount to charity and prepared free meals for essential service workers. Her generosity saw her nominated as Griffith Citizen of the Year for 2023.

She reluctantly left Griffith in December 2023 because her doctor husband had to relocate to another hospital on the Central Coast.

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