Recently Tom Bouchier has been working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, doing consultancy butchering for an exciting, new butcher shop – Meatworks Butchery.
District 2 had been in need of a great butcher shop – to service the expats and locals alike. Thanh Charles and wife Lan Anh saw the gap in the market and began their venture into the butchering industry. Thanh grew up in Melbourne with his parents Jenny and Steve. Having Vietnamese heritage, Thanh made the decision to move to Vietnam at the age of 19 to learn more about the country and culture. It was during this time that Thanh had his vision of opening a butcher shop that sells Australian meat, with the cuts and products that Australians love to eat. Now married and settled in Saigon, Thanh is making his dream a reality. Tom arrived in Vietnam in May, as the finishing touches were being made to the butcher shop, and with a couple of days until opening, it was full steam ahead with preparing the meat for the grand opening.
Tom has been working with Thanh and the Meatworks Butchery employees; educating the employees about the products, teaching skills like sausage making, slicing, rolling & trussing as well as food safety and general procedures of a butcher shop. Tom has been working with Thanh choosing the products for the shop, creating meal solutions and value added products.
Tom says Meatworks Butchery has created a buzz in District 2 amongst the expats and word is spreading about their Australian beef and lamb. Lamb chops and legs of lamb have proven to be best sellers amongst the expat community as well as Australian style sausages, which has been a challenge to keep up with demand. For the Vietnamese customers, the biggest seller by far has been the oyster blade (flat iron steaks). Tom explains that all the beef and lamb is imported from Australia and the quality is fantastic. He contributes this to the overwhelming support of the District 2 community.
A point of difference with the Meatworks Butchery is the service built alfresco dining area. Every second Saturday between 3pm – 7pm the barbecue is on, the beers are cold. Each week the menu changes, from burgers and sausages to marinated chicken wings. The last few weeks have been really busy with lots of people chilling out for the afternoon, relaxing with mates. Being able to offer this once a week has meant that Tom and the Meatworks Butchery team are able to chat to customers in a relaxed environment, building a good rapport with them and by getting to know them better will be able to continue to provide the customers with exactly what they want.
Tom has enjoyed his time in Saigon so far, and will spend another month there through July. It’s been great catching up with him and listening to his stories. Having never lived overseas before this stint in Vietnam, Tom says it has been a great experience getting involved in some of the local culture. However, a true creature of habit, his adventurous side never strays too far, he now has a Café Suoda every morning followed by a bahn mi for morning tea.
We wish the team at Meatworks Butchery all the best for their future endeavours and next time you find yourself in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, make sure you call in and say hi to Thanh and the team.