Meet Christopher Pengson of Roll’d Camberwell
Article posted: September 28, 2021
As their boat slowly filled with water, Phien and Quy Hoang and their two young children sat wedged between strangers, silently listening for approaching pirate boats and praying they made it to land alive, food was the last thing on their mind.
Like hundreds of other Vietnamese refugees of the late 70s and early 80s, Phien and Quy were fleeing their country, devastated at knowing they may never see their homeland again, but understanding it was the only way to keep their family safe from the humanitarian crisis unfolding at home.
As they shivered through the night, Phien and Quay could never have imagined how they would be embraced by their new Australian home, or that the Vietnamese culinary traditions they held so dear would spawn a food empire that now boasts 100 stores across Australia.
Christopher Pengson, manager of Roll’d Camberwell, said the popularity of the Vietnamese eatery lies in this strong commitment to culture and culinary tradition.
“Roll’d Vietnamese is one of the few genuine family businesses that have remained passionate about traditional Vietnamese recipes and culture,” he said.
Featuring traditional Vietnamese favourites such as rice paper rolls, phở, pork dumplings and bun bo hue (spicy beef and noodle soup), Roll’d Camberwell’s extensive menu also offers a wide range of baos (steamed buns), bánh mì (Vietnamese baguettes), bun (Vietnamese noodle salad), and goi (Vietnamese slaw). And for those who love adding an extra something to their meal, Roll’d offers a range of sides including spring rolls, sweet potato fries, flaming prawns, chicken ribs and crab crackers.
Family at the heart of Roll’d
Mr Pengson said that almost 10 years after Roll’d opened its first humble eatery in Melbourne’s CBD, and since establishing Roll’d Camberwell in the Camberwell Junction precinct, family is still at the heart of every meal they serve.
“Phien continues to make all the master stocks, broths and sauces that are distributed to stores across the country, as well as growing the sugarcane in their own backyard,” he said.
“All Roll’d Camberwell meals are prepared fresh daily using fresh and vibrant ingredients.”
According to Mr Pengson, Roll’d Camberwell is redefining fast food in Camberwell Junction.
“We’re a fast-food restaurant that delivers on being healthy as well as full of flavour,” he said.
“Our rigorous training and commitment to honouring the proud roots of the Hoang family ensure all orders are made to the same high quality each and every time.”
Giving back to the local community
Mr Pengson said that the reputation of Roll’d Camberwell as a warm, friendly and generous eatery is a result of a philosophy that permeates in everything they do.
“One of our company values is to ‘win generously’,” he explains.
“We celebrate our successes but also give back where we can, as a gesture of thanks to the opportunity we experienced as immigrants or children of immigrants in Australia.
“Our underlying purpose is for everyone to experience happy memories centred around food.”
As well as supporting a number of international charities and foundations, Roll’d invests in building friendly and enduring partnerships on a local level.
“We have been involved locally and internationally through the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, OnePlate and KOTO, but more recently we were a sponsor for the Camberwell Dragons and Balwyn Blazers and are continually seeking new ways to support different groups within the area.”
Mr Pengson said Roll’d Camberwell consider themselves not just a Camberwell Junction trader, but part of the Camberwell community.
“As a local to the Camberwell Junction precinct, we are blessed to be in a friendly and safe neighbourhood,” he said.
“We love seeing our regulars every week and further building the relationship with our customers and community.
“Of course, we love seeing new faces especially when they are willing to try all our unique flavours.”
Looking to the future, Mr Pengson said Roll’d is continually evolving their products. Technology and innovation. They recently introduced new rice and noodle soups to their menu to give people more options for dinner.
“As restrictions ease in the future, we would love to reach out to our community more.”