By David Shen
70 John St
02 9727 4492
I was having a restless Saturday devoid of any activities. Determined not to waste the short-lived weekends that I’m granted, I decided to try and garner the interest of some friends who were keen on a feed that offers something different from the assembly of fine diners blanketing today’s food scene. To obtain some of the best (arguably) and most authentic bites, sounds and experiences of the east, we had to venture out to the far west.
The first destination on our Vietnamese itinerary was Bau Truong.
Apparently, it’s well known within the Vietnamese community and offers a good quick feed. Located on a busy strip in Cabramatta, it’s hard not to observe the colourful scenery and culture along the way.
We didn’t order anything too out of the ordinary and started with fresh spring rolls with grilled pork.
These were some of the best fresh wrapped spring roll’s I’ve had in a while (given I’ve really only tried the overpriced, under-portioned rolls in the city), and with the wrap tender and fillings so fresh, it was demolished within a few seconds.
Next up was a classic com tam, a rather traditional dish combining various food groups onto one plate! What was presented consisted of: Grilled pork chop, Sunny side up egg, raw beef slice, egg and pork slice, assorted veggies garnished on top of broken rice and fried spring onions.
With food like this, I always fall into the trap of eating too much, too fast… resulting in the impending stomach aches and long naps.
For myself (I ate my partners share too, it’s always a bonus to over-order and invite people with small appetites) I ordered a Combination Rice Noodle which basically included just that. Thrown into the fray were: Sugar Cane prawn, grilled pork, grilled beef, assorted veggies, broken rice, lined with a confetti of pork and pork skin. This splashed with a healthy dressing of a sweet fish sauce encourages you to slip into lengthy food coma’s shortly afterwards.
Lazy weekends and in the mood for a good feed and a change of scenery.
What to Order:
Can’t go wrong with the classics but this place is known for its grilled meats. Chose to avoid pho as there are plenty of great pho options in surrounding shops.
Entree and two mains with a drink will only set you back by about $35-40 for two people.
Good location, Great vibe, even greater food! (and seems quite hygenic… not spotting cockroaches while dining is always a positive)
48a Canley Vale Rd
02 9724 9156
By nightfall I had managed to recruit one more food enthusiast who was willing to journey to Canley Vale in search of authentic Vietnamese cuisine - a rarity these days as it distinguishes itself from the usual cluster of typical Vietnamese restaurants. You won’t find Pho here.
As soon as we saw the restaurant I knew we weren’t going to be disappointed on the authenticity front.
Welcomed by an eerie neon glow.
Did say that it’d be authentic…
Seated and ready, we were greeted with a waiter that didn’t have many recommendations as they were ‘all nice’ so that didn’t help with the deciding. Luckily for us, my partner is Vietnamese, and was eager to order for us - my only decision being between venison or crocodile.
Not sure which part of this picture made less sense…
The charcoal pot with the beef and Venison was first up.
Not sure what’s what, but they all end up tasting like Chicken anyway
Pile the meat into a mesh and cook over open fire. awesome!
Salad was next on the list, and being honest, I was probably looking forward to this the least. But I was hooked after my first mouthful as it was refreshing, flavoursome and just a great combination of spices that went down extremely well with our venison/beef rice paper wraps and a cold beer.
“Mix of green veggies, beef, prawn crackers with lemon grass, onion and a sweet & spicy fish sauce base.”
I have no idea what it was called, that was just named from what ingredients I found in there. The menu was along the lines of: beef salad.
Now the ball was rolling and our remaining dishes were wheeled out in quick succession. Next up, our platter of grilled chicken and sticky rice. Chicken wasn’t too special and quite pricey, but the sticky rice with shallots worked well.
"Grilled Chicken with Sticky Rice"
The next two dishes I wasn’t too sure about, but after tasting, both offered a unique, exotic flavour I haven’t experienced before.
The fish soup blended a fair few ingredients including okra, sprouts, a whole heap of herbs, lemon and fish. It’s definitely an acquired taste and not fitted for everyone.
"Tamarind fish soup"
The final dish brought out was the caramelized fish and pork.
"Caramelized fish and pork"
From the first whiff to the first bite, this dish stood out as it was quite overwhelming. The fish and pork is slow stewed in sweet soy sauce and fish sauce with a layer of herbs and copious amounts of black pepper. To enjoy it you’ll need rice, and plenty of it.
Rice. Needed to survive a bout with the caramelized fish.
Too full and tired to order dessert, it was time to grab the bill and head home. Hope you enjoyed the venture as much as we did!
Great to enjoy the different scene and authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
What to Order:
Everything looked appetizing with the DIY grills my fav. Decided to steer clear of the random entrails I’ve never heard of. Or knew existed.
Was reasonable as we forked out about $80 between three people for 4 mains and 1 salad and a few drinks to boot.
Food was pleasantly authentic and certainly tingled our taste buds. However the waiters’ limited English didn’t help the ordering process and it wasn’t the cleanest of places.