Last week I had the great fortune to sit down with the one and only Minna Tran. She´s a fantastic entrepreneur and restaurateur from Stockholm city, Sweden. Owner and founder of “PanicSupper“. Which is the place to go to if you´re searching for the real Vietnamese Street Food experience! Genuine and authentic! Check it out!
I´ve known Minna through her brother since a few years back. When I heard that she was in town I just knew that I had to get the opportunity to sit down and have chat with her. I had not seen Minna in a while, but I knew she had some exciting news to tell “Chef´s Choice“.
We meet at the bar at my un-official office, Buns Burger, on a buzzling saturday night. The restaurant was by the time getting full and the vibe of the place started to set. People entering, coming´ in to hide from the harsh winter cold of Oslo, Norway. You could hear the rocking country blues music of The Band in the background, guests enjoying their meals, the buzz of people talking and drinking. The chef shouting service from the kitchen, waiters running to catch up, the bartender pounding out beers to get along the those juicy burgers. Good times!
The Story of Minna Tran and “PanicSupper“
The last year had been an exciting year for Minna. She had gone on a journey from working at FOREX Bank, to start “PanicSupper“. This had all happen in less than a year!
It all went from idea to reality in 3 months! It went from opening to a success in just a couple of month!
What I didn’t´know was that this interview could have been an class in entrepreneurship as much as an interview to hear about a few great places to dine at in Stockholm City!
So I want to provide you an insight of the background of Minna as a person, her journey and the start-up of the restaurant “PanicSuppper”
From idea to reality
Having the hangover of her life, Minna and her lil`sister was craving authentic Vietnamese street-food.
With the heartbreaking realization that there is not a single place in Stockholm city that are able to live up to their standards.
Knowing that there is no way what so ever that they were going to cook it them self, all the time and energy that is necessary.
Finding an Asian store, buying all the exotic ingredients, heading over to the Swedish store getting the other ingredients, marinade the meat for a couple of hours etc etc etc…
Throwing it all together, hangover, pain and misery, hungry and starving…. Just not going to happen!
Their thoughts and ideas started to drift away. What if there is a place that offers a authentic, genuine and real Vietnamese street-food. And a bag, a bag of food delivered to your door. With all the necessary ingredients, pre-prepped everything. All you gotta do is through it all together, a-b-c and done. 20minutes later you serve an exotic real deal Vietnamese supper for you and whomever you choose. Whenever you want, you call, they come, you eat.
This is what fascinates me about Minna. There´s no fear, what so ever, no hesitation, no nothing!
She´s fearless, she´s an true entrepreneur that just goes at it with an 1000 miles an hour. One idea, one goal and vision. Let´s GO!
You can actually feel it by listening to her telling the story, the way she acts and speaks. Her energy, the fearlessness, that vibe and energy of knowing where you going. Listening to Minna is inspiring, and her drive is contagious.
After the idea was born she decided to quit her job at FOREX Bank two weeks later. She sacrificed everything in her life to make her culinary dream come true, no sleep, no parties, no going out dining with friends, no nothing. Spending every awake hour dedicated to what was becoming “PanicSupper“. Cooking Vietnamese street-food at night, serving her friends and colleagues at FOREX bank in the mornings. Scrambling down recipes and ideas, finding suppliers, making web-site and so so much more.
3 month later the idea of “PanicSupper” was born. She found herself standing at the premier of opening her own restaurant! PanicSupper was real, reality, she created her own restaurant. A damn successful one! People loving it! “It feels so surreal sometimes, a dream come true. People come her, to my place, to eat my food!”
This was 6 month ago and the restaurant has been blooming ever since. It´s been fascinated to follow Minnas great success and journey.
Tell us more about your culinary background
I´ve always been a food nerd, super picky with what I eat. Becoming older and growing up, and just being able to go out more. Moving to Stockholm where there is a wider selection of restaurants and culinary trends going on has definitely affected me. The Vietnamese culture it self of course, growing up with my mother´s cooking. In our culture the whole day is dedicated for the meal were the whole family gets together. There´s always been a lot of heart and love in our culture for food. It takes time, and we put a lot of effort into our cooking. I went back and lived in Vietnam for a while and I learn an incredible amount which turned out later to be in favor of “PanicSupper“. When Im out dining I always examining my food and plate. The way it´s served, taste and flavors. Me and my family is super passion about food in general and it´s always a topic to talk about when we see each other.
What´s your favorite food?
Except vietnamese? I love everything, there´s really not a specific. Depends on the feeling and the crave I have in the moment. I love sushi. Im in Mexican period right now. Pasta, Italian. I mean, I love food!!
When you where young, what was your favorite dish by your mother?
If I could pick what my mother would cook I´d always choose “Canh Chua”. There is a lot of soups in Vietnam and this one is one of my favorites. It´s a kind a sour soup, kinda reminds me of the “Tom ka gai” from Thailand. My mother use to make it with chicken, tamarin, lemongrass, fish, veggies etc. And it´s just so got damn amazing!!
What´s your top three recommended restaurants in Stockholm?
In my group of friends Im known as the foodie and get this question a lot. It really depends on, what you´re in the mood for?
- Right now my absolute favorite place is “Lilla Ego“. It´s just so fucking awesome! Honestly, If you wanna try it out, you gotta book it three month in advance. Its a more fine dining touch. Two chefs, both won the “Chef of the year” awards is running it. It´s classic, Nordic. Super sexy food and plates. Sometimes I go there, and sit at the bar, watching into the kitchen, seeing em´build their art. The food is just incredible, every bite of food is just like another culinary surprise filled of flavors. Its top notch! I recommend “Lilla Ego” to all my friends and whom ever ask!
- A more random night out for some great wine and food I´d go to “Boquerian“.Which is located at Mood Gallerian, Stockholm. It´s tapas. Great food, also has this sharing is caring concept. The place is vibrant, great energy and pulse. A bit louder, lively, and always packed with people. Great wine, good prices.
- A more simple, Asian, I´d definitely head over to “Søder” in Stockholm, to “Barobao“. They serve Bao, which also has become quite a trend in Stockholm. Im super impress by their whole concept and business. The way they managed to build their brand and market. I love their interior and everything about them.
Best country you ever dined in?
Vietnam. Yesterday, today and everyday. Everyone need to experience the Vietnamese street-food.
Im on a budget, and still want to go out?
“La Neta“. It´s Mexican. Super authentic. Simple. Street-food feeling. Busy, messy, I love it! Really really good food. Only Mexicans in the kitchen. This is the place where I´d go to if I want great street-food for a nice price.
If I would like to spoil myself?
“Sushi Sho“. Really, really superb sushi, and fucking good saké! Very intimate, great atmosphere. Tiny place with only 15 seats. A true place I can go out for a luxury feeling and spoiling myself.
If Im super hangover, and I need a cure, What eat, what I do?
I want a pizza Hawaii with Béarnaise, and If I can get it home delivered it would be even better. In those moments I aint that picky about my food anymore.
If I have a restaurant dream, or culinary dream?
Maybe this is what makes me different from many other chefs. I don’t really focus to much on fancy restaurants, or following fine dining michellin names. I love street-food. If I planning on traveling to some place, I do my research. Looking through the net, reading up on bloggs and checking out reviews. Of course I would check out what “Chef´s Choice” got on it´s list. One dream would be to visit Mexico though, and experience the true street-food. Compare it to what we have in Sweden. See if the swedes friday tacos is genuine or not.
Tell me three restaurant that I´ll have to visit before I die!
- Restaurant “Palio Arhontiko“. A tiny little restaurant in Kolymbari, Greece. Fantastic tapas, with a fine-dining touch. Incredible food and service. Fantastic wine! I was surprised how cheap everything was. I´d definitely wanna return to Paleo!
- Definitely “Raw Sushi” i Stockholm. Fantastic sushi. They have some dressing, sauce, which is heavenly. They refuse to tell me the recipe. Either way, an amazing place and a have to try out!
- You just have to experience the Vietnamese street-food. It´s something everyone needs to put down on their bucket lists. I actually managed to bring the top 300 executives at FOREX Bank for a trip to Vietnam.
My Favorite Bar
“Nosh and chow“. Best cocktails in Stockholm. Amazing drinks, crazy expensive but damn good atmosphere.
A piece of meat at “Restaurant AG”
Thanks a billion to the amazing Minna Tran and “PanicSupper“