One of the great things about Sydney is it’s cultural diversity. I love how there are little pockets of Sydney where there are large ethnic communities, meaning that you can go to that suburb of Sydney and allow yourself to be immersed in a different culture for a day. To me, Cabramatta is one of those suburbs. Known as Sydney’s “Little Vietnam”, it’s home to many Vietnamese Australians and lots of Vietnamese food!
Today we’re here to grab some lunch and some snacks. We start off at Bau Truong, one of the more well-known Vietnamese restaurants along John St. Even though it’s quite late the restaurant is still brimming with people. The service is brisk and we’re quickly ushered to our table and given menus, and the waitress comes back several times to try and get our order.
Eventually JC and B both decide on getting the beef pho, the beef noodle soup which is a quintessentially Vietnamese dish. The rare slices of beef cook in the hot broth, and underneath the garnish of coriander and spring onions is a mound of slippery rice noodles. The broth is deep and flavoursome and both JC and B are happily slurping away whilst Queen Chu and I await our dishes.
A big plate with various items arrives and it’s Queen Chu’s Special BBQ pork chops with rice. Around the rice there are pickled vegetables, shredded pork skin, a fried egg as well as a slice of egg custard with pork and cloud ear fungus. But it’s the pork chops that are the highlight of this dish with it’s marinade and smokey flavour, and it has me stealing more and more pieces of it from her plate.
Queen Chu also gets the salted lemon soda, which I’ve never had before. I try a sip and it tastes like lemonade but with salt added instead of sugar. The salt takes quite a bit of getting used to and although it doesn’t taste bad, it’s definitely an acquired taste and I don’t think I would order it myself.
With so many choices on the menu it’s hard for me to decide, and I eventually settle on the vermicelli with prawn paste on sugarcane. I was expecting the prawn paste to actually be wrapped around the sugarcane but it is separate in the bowl. Regardless, I add in some of the nuoc cham, the vinegary fish sauce, and mix it all around. It’s certainly refreshing with the crunch of the bean sprouts and cucumber, and there is a nice acidity from the pickles and the sauce. The prawn paste is bouncy and almost has the texture of a fish ball, and it’s very tasty. I also have fun chewing on the sugarcane to get some of the sweet sugarcane juice out.
The last dish to come out is strangely enough the entree dish. The taro and pork spring rolls are delicious, with a crisp, exterior and a creamy taro and pork filling. Despite being quite full we finish all of these because they’re so good, and we set off in search of more snacks.
We head across the road to Kaysone Sweets and check out their display window where they have all sorts of chips!
Not being a big fan of taro or banana chips I get a bag of the sweet potato chips which are my favourite of the three.
The slices of sweet potato are a bit thicker than your usual chips but this means that they’re super crunchy! The chips are drizzled in honey which adds a bit of sweetness and also leaves your fingers quite sticky as well but it’s all part of the fun. We munch on these as we walk down John St, checking out some of the grocery stores and other food shops along the way. We’re about to reach the end of the strip of shops when I point across the road and say “I found the chicken place!”
I had heard so much about Tan Viet’s fried chicken that even though we had just eaten lunch and devoured bags of sweet potato chips I felt like I absolutely HAD to go and try some chicken. B, JC and Queen Chu all said they were full but I managed to convince them to try some chicken and I think they may have been secretly glad that they succumbed because the chicken was so freakin’ good! The chicken was tender and succulent and the skin was gloriously crispy. Dare I say it, it’s perhaps the best crispy skin chicken I’ve ever had and I will definitely be returning another day to check out more of what Cabramatta has to offer and to eat a proper crispy skin chicken meal at Tan Viet!
Shop 10-12, 70 John Street
Cabramatta NSW 2166
Ph: +61 2 9727 4492
Open 7 days, 10am – 11pm
Shop 4, 53 Park Road
Cabramatta NSW 2166
Open 7 days, 9am – 10pm
Tan Viet Noodle House
Shop 3, 100 John Street
Cabramatta NSW 2166
Ph: +61 2 9727 6853
Open 7 days, 9am – 7pm