Bau Truong

42 John Street, Cabramatta

One of the enjoyable things about Sydney are the diverse neighbourhoods and as the same with most cities it’s easy to get stuck in a routine, in the same neighbourhood and never really venturing out. Mosman/Cremorne is a sheltered enclave all of its own and doesn’t really represent the real Sydney. So it’s good to get out and explore, and that means going West.

I’ve checked out Parramatta a few times. It’s  a nice ferry trip with a pleasant park at the end and some interesting historical buildings, but not exactly a place to get excited about. But there are plenty of smaller communities with much recognised food of which I am trying to sample. It provides a perfect excuse to venture out.

And so we found ourselves in Cabramatta well known for it’s Vietnamese food. We had the excellent idea of visiting during the Moon Festival, so the pedestrianized streets were mobbed. It was the normal commercialized madness of free samples and cheap toys that no one really wants to buy.

Purely by chance we stumbled upon this restaurant, which proved to be a bit of a find. It was hectic & friendly. I’d been to Vietnam several years ago, but could remember little about the vagaries of the food, so we got the smiling staff to order for us. It was a slick operation and we were served in minutes.

We started with a beef papaya salad. It was sizeable  for the price – sweet, sour, zingy with some monster chilli heat in parts.

We followed this up with fresh spring rolls:

These were make your own- everything you needed to build a hundred different varieties – noodles, peanuts, rolls, grill chicken and bags of fresh herbs. It took us a while to get the hang of making the pancake rolls – putting the sheets into warm water – but it was great fun and made the meal.

We finished with a Vietnamese Pancake – a fried pancake with beansprouts, prawns & pork. It had a great crunch to it and and the surf ‘n’ turf combination was good, but it was a little on the oily side, as to be expected really. I still made every effort to finish it off.

I think we were in and out in under an hour, happy and full. It was great value and memorable. All you can want really. I’m looking forward to finding more authentic Vietnamese places. I just wish they were a little more convenient to get to. (it’s all about me….)

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