Directory

BAU TRUONG

Cuisine: Vietnamese

A firm favourite with our team, whether it’s the very smart red and silver Canley Heights (250 Canley Vale Rd, Ph 9755 7099) one or this chocolate and avocado younger sister in Cabramatta, Bau Truong is a pioneer in the new wave of chic-looking eateries in these suburbs. You could just pop in for a quick and filling bowl of pho or noodles, averaging $10–$13, but why not have the full restaurant experience starting with our favourite crisp pork and taro spring rolls $8.50? Both Bau Truongs have mega menus, with goat dishes one of their specialties, from a modest goat curry $10 to a steamboat of goat with a preserved beancurd soup base $35, enough to share. The menu is also peppered with crocodile, kangaroo, venison and eel as well as all the duck, pork, beef, chicken and seafood dishes you could want. Have some fried twisted dough $2 with your meal.

 

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IRON CHEF

Cuisine: Vietnamese,Chinese,Yum Cha

Eating at Iron Chef is a delicious game of chance. You can’t book ahead for yum cha. Simply show up, take a number and try your luck. “87 one time, 87 two time...” after 30 minutes of waiting for a table, we learnt the rules of this game the hard way: if the man says “three time”, you lose your table. Inside, stylish decor, ostentatious signage and monster crabs with monster pricetags stand in contrast to the affordability of the yum cha selection (from $7). On your table is a card. Another game. Every morsel gets a stamp and a smile is a transaction. Be happy if you accidentally order the delicate deep-fried calamari with XO sauce, succulent steamed prawn dumplings and fried noodles. That’s yum cha. For dinner, the menu is massive, showing Cantonese, Vietnamese and Thai influences, with fresh seafood the hot ticket among diners.

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PHO TAU BAY

Cuisine: Vietnamese,Chinese,Yum Cha,Vietnamese

Sometimes the yearning for a pho fix cannot be ignored or postponed. If you’re in that pho now! state and you’re in Cabramatta, you could do worse than drop into this modest little place for a big bowl of the beautiful stuff. In fact, the queues alone are enough to tell you the pho is among the best in Sydney. It comes in three sizes, $12.50 for large, and our favourite is pho tai, which comes with raw beef that cooks in the broth as you go, deepening the flavour of the soup. Also popular is the combination one with rare beef, beef brisket, beef balls and beef tendon. Choose your noodle — tapioca, vermicelli, egg or rice noodle — and your favoured protein and you do the rest, adding the various condiments to taste. The name means flying boat, hence the wooden boat near the entry.

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PHU QUOC

Cuisine: Vietnamese,Chinese,Yum Cha,Vietnamese,Chinese,Vietnamese

The interior’s nothing to write home about: it’s a skinny space with mirrors lining the wall in an attempt to open it out, but dine here and you’ll be telling everyone about the menu. Prepare for a plethora of spring roll variations and then some. The deep-fried springers $10 with pork and vermicelli are fantastic — succulent, long, tightly wrapped and served with lettuce, fresh coriander and mint. Rolling your own fresh rolls $17 is the experience people come here for. Dip, flatten and fill your ricepaper rounds with pork balls or the house specialty sugar-cane prawns — spears of sugar cane coated in prawn paste and fried golden brown. Salted prawns $20 are fried with the shell on to perfect crispiness. The number of options is overwhelming, but poring over them is part of the fun.

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TAN VIET NOODLE HOUSE

Cuisine: Vietnamese,Chinese,Yum Cha,Vietnamese,Chinese,Vietnamese,Vietnamese

A colourful interior is the backdrop for the star of the show, Tan Viet’s mi ga don, crispy-skin chicken with dry or soupy egg noodles $12, so beloved of this eatery’s legions of fans. Mind you, their goat curry $11 is not too shabby, either, and nor is their version of the Singaporean standard, Hainan chicken with rice $12. One thing you won’t find on the menu is pho but there are plenty of good pho joints in the suburb and Tan Viet does offer other noodle soups. If you have to queue, and you probably will for lunch, don’t be put off — the turnover is rapid and the service very efficient. No lingering here. And remember that when you have dinner in Cabramatta, you eat early, especially at Tan Viet. They’re serious about the 7 o’clock closing time.

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