Explore Sydney’s Vietnamese food scene with Gourmet Safaris

Western Sydney’s Cabramatta is a mecca for Vietnamese food in Sydney, attracting city slickers and locals alike to the area in hoards as they seek out deep bowls of rich Pho and fresh rice paper rolls dipped in sweet and sour sauce to satisfy their cravings.

However, despite being overflowing with the fresh, bright flavours of Vietnam, Cabramatta’s crowded malls and non-English signage can be daunting to a first time visitor. There are dozens of Banh Mi options, but which one is best? Which part of that hot pink fruit can I eat? Is there more to Vietnamese cuisine than Pho?

To tempt your tastebuds, we’ve compiled some of our favourite Vietnamese foods that you might not have heard of…

#1 - Banh Xeo (bahn seyo)

A photo posted by VanDuong (@vanduong1112) on

Why would I love this?

This turmeric yellow rice and coconut milk pancake was named for the sizzle it makes when it hits the pan/wok (xeo means sizzle in Vietnamese) and is a popular lunch or snack in Vietnam. Colloquially known as a ‘Vietnamese taco’, it’s filled with pork belly, shrimp, mung beans and bean sprouts and is often wrapped with fresh herbs or rice paper and dipped in a sticky sweet and sour fish sauce.

#2 - Bun Bo Hue (boon boh hwey)

 

What makes it so yummy?

While this soup may look similar to its famous cousin Pho, one taste and you’ll wonder why Bun Bo Hue is the lesser known of the pair. Hailing from the imperial city of Hue, this vermicelli noodle and tender beef soup is fragrant with spices, lemongrass and fermented shrimp sauce and is far deeper in flavour than that other noodle soup you’ve already forgotten existed.

#3 - Bun Cha (boon cha)

 
 

A photo posted by @bebecake on

Why should I order it?

Famously eaten by President Barack Obama and food writer Anthony Bourdain in a crowded Hanoi restaurant earlier this year, this marinated barbeque pork (pork belly and pork patties and noodle dish is the bomb . It’s a Hanoi lunch classic that sees pork mince and belly cooked over charcoal and served with rice noodles, shredded vegetables and a clear light broth – together sweet, acidic, smokey and addictive. Here’s a pic of Barack enjoying some amazing Bun Cha:

 
A photo posted by Pho (@phorestaurant) on

#4 - Cao Lau (cow llowh)

 
 

A photo posted by s m a r c i l 🌿 (@smarcili) on

What makes this dish so delicious?

Almost unheard of outside of Hoi An, Cao Lau is a stewed pork and noodle dish that is popular due to the large shards of pork crackling it’s served with. Hoi An was once a major trading port, and this dish has elements of Japan (thick noodles) and China (pork crackling) combined with lean pork and a deep brown broth filled with all the fresh herbs and acidity you’ve come to expect from Vietnamese food.

#5 - Che (Cheeia)

 
A photo posted by Jean Nguyen (@jjfoodie) on

Why is this a "must-try" dessert?

Che is a generic term that refers to any traditional Vietnamese dessert soup. The most common consists of a rich, creamy coconut cream that is filled with a variety of beans, tapioca pearls, neon-tinted jelly and tropical fruits such as mango, durian, lychee and jackfruit to create a refreshing, light dessert that is perfect for the thick, humid afternoons of a Sydney summer’s day.

Hungry yet?!?

Our guides cut through the noise of this vibrant suburb to not only help you discover the best of Cabramatta and Vietnamese food, but help instil in you a confidence to return with your friends and show off your ability to hunt down a delicious bargain.

Gourmet Safaris hosts a tour through Cabramatta’s Vietnamese food scene every month. For upcoming dates and to book, click here.

MAEVES GOURMET INSTAFEED @maeveomeara

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