88 Street Food Brings Banh Mi, Boba Tea To Richmond

A new restaurant opened by the Richmond family with long ties to the local dining community. 88 Street Food at 5905 W. Broad St.

At The Crazy Greek’s original location, 88 Street Food serves eight types of banh mi, small plates like steamed buns stuffed with bulgogi beef, and boba tea drinks topped with fluffy ube foam.


From left, owners Ellen Ngo, Paul Tran, John Nguyen, and Cindy Huyin of 88 Street Food, a fast-casual Vietnamese and boba tea spot in a former Crazy Greek home in Henrico County Seen in New Ventures at .

Eva Russo, The Times Dispatch

“The idea is fast casual Vietnamese,” said owner John Nguyen. His family also runs his one in Vietnam at 6215 W. Broad Street.

Nguyen started 88 Street Food with his uncle Paul Tran, who owned Pho 1 Grill and House of Vietnam in Short Pump. Tran arrived in Richmond as a Vietnamese refugee over 40 years ago and began working as a chef in a restaurant in Beijing.

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“We’ve been thinking about this concept for a long time,” said Tran, referring to a family recipe.


Don’t miss 88 Street Food’s bulgogi fries, fries topped with marinated bulgogi beef, green onions, and homemade mayonnaise.

Eva Russo, The Times Dispatch

Eight types of banh mi ($8) are served on toasted French baguettes with homemade mayonnaise, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, fresh jalapenos and coriander. Banh mi can be stuffed with traditional pork, tofu, grilled chicken, pate, or the house favorite, bulgogi beef (barbecue Korean beef marinated in a savory and sweet sauce).

88 Street Food also offers small plates such as popcorn chicken ($8). Tossed with spicy garlic or Korean spices, bulgogi beef, lemongrass pork or chicken stuffed buns ($8), and teriyaki chicken skewers ($8). Also available are garlic fried wontons ($7), gyoza ($7), crispy spring rolls ($4), and rice paper shrimp rolls ($4).

Bulgogi French Fries ($8) is a fusion dish of French fries topped with marinated bulgogi beef, green onions, and homemade mayonnaise.

The menu also includes noodle and rice dishes ($11) with bean sprouts, radishes, carrots, edamame, lettuce, spring onions, and sesame seeds. It can be topped with proteins such as lemongrass pork, garlic shrimp, teriyaki chicken, and bulgogi beef.

The store is bright and airy, with orange chairs, white tabletops, 40 seats, and a selfie spot with string lights and a neon sign that reads ‘Boby’s Life’.

The owner took inspiration from a similar boba tea shop in California.

“It’s counter service. Everything comes in to-go containers. You can eat in or take away,” says Nguyen.

88 street food

Popular drinks such as matcha milk tea, fruit tea, and Vietnamese coffee are also available.

Eva Russo

Boba tea, Vietnamese coffee, and fruit teas ($5.75-$5.95) are a big part of the menu, with over 30 beverages on offer.

Boba tea, or tapioca tea, is an Asian sweet drink made from chewy tapioca balls known as boba and fruit flavored or milk tea.

88 Street Food offers a number of visually striking beverages, including matcha milk tea with Ube foam, Vietnamese coffee with sea salt and foam, and the 88 Signature Milk Cap with brown sugar. Toppings such as tapioca pearls and crystal boba can be added to your drink for 75 cents.

Fruit teas come in a variety of flavors, including passion mango, strawberry lemon, and sweet longan jujube with longan fruit. Popular toppings include rainbow jelly candies, strawberry stars, and rainbow pops.

The space also sells some Asian and European staples, such as Café du Monde Coffee, Chin Soo Pho Hot Sauce, and stuffed animals.

Nguyen and Tran said they chose the former Crazy Greek spot for 88 Street Food because it’s just a few blocks from Tan-A Plaza, which offers Asian supermarkets and Asian shops.

Tran has seen the Asian population grow in Richmond.According to 2020 U.S. Census data, the Asian population has grown almost 50% in Richmond over the past decade.

“We feel very lucky to be here,” Tran said.

The name 88 Street Food was chosen because the number 88 means good luck and luck in Chinese culture.

“I’ve seen a lot of boba teahouses around Richmond, but none of them serve food,” Nguyen said. “A relaxing place to enjoy good food and tea, that’s what we offer.”

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