Dong Ba, Bankstown: Bun Bo Hue

Rating: 4 out of 5

Dong Ba
296 Chapel Road South, Bankstown 2200

dong ba bun bo hue

When Momofuku’s David Chang came to Sydney for the first time, he was given a list of go-to noodle restaurants curated by Deputy Editor of the AGT, Pat Nourse. Most of them are centred around the CBD but among the few that aren’t is Dong Ba in Bankstown. It doesn’t take a detective to work out that their specialty is Bun Bo Hue, if their windows are anything to go by.

The Bun Bo Hue ($10) is a huge serving of soup noodle goodness. If you’re not shy about animal products like processed meat or offal, this is deliciousness in a bowl. The round, white rice noodles are topped with chunks of tender pork, slices of fish cake, tender beef, and big firm, cubes of jellied pigs’ blood. Chilli flakes and chilli oil float on the golden broth, which is spicy, and fragrant with lemongrass and deep beef and fish flavour.

Enhanced with the fresh, crunchy bean sprouts, torn basil leaves and a squeeze of fresh lemon, you could almost imagine yourself in a busy street side stall in Vietnam. Now you only need to whisk yourself away to Bankstown for a slice of Vietnam.

Dong Ba on Urbanspoon

Thuy Huong, Marrickville: Bun thit nuong cha gio

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thuy Huong
304 Illawarra Road, Marrickville 2204

thuy huong bun thit nuong cha gioMarrickville has been a melting pot of immigrant cultures for a long time, but is best known now for the plethora of Vietnamese restaurants and Asian grocery stores.  It’s a vibrant little community, with Sunday markets, cafes, restaurants, and an annual Marrickville Festival.

Along the busy Illawarra Road strip is the popular Thuy Huong restaurant.  It is simply decorated with tiled floors and wooden tables, and is a modest, family-run restaurant.  However simple it may look, it is always filled with diners – couples, families, and friends sitting with tables overflowing with large, steaming bowls of pho.

The bun thit nuong cha gio is a good choice if you can’t decide between the pork or the spring rolls for your rice noodles – why not have both!  It’s a huge portion, and the bowl is brimming with BBQ lemongrass pork, three crisp spring rolls, and loads of fresh salad topping the soft, rice vermicelli noodles.  Pouring over the nuoc cham dressing, I tuck into the refreshing mix of cold noodle and salad contrasting with the hot pork and spring rolls.  The charred and caramelised pork is juicy, and the spring rolls are filled with pork mince, cabbage, black fungus, and carrot, although aren’t as porky as I’d like.

I always love a good bun.  This one ticks the boxes, with a delicious mix of textures and flavours – crunchy fresh cucumber, bean sprouts and carrot having a party in your mouth with soft noodle, meaty pork, and sweet, salty and sour dressing. If you’re in the area, Thuy Huong is definitely a good choice for a satisfying Vietnamese feed.

Thuy Huong Coffee Lounge on Urbanspoon

Hoang Gia, Flemington: Bun cha gio

Rating: 4 out of 5

Pho Hoang Gia
2/98 The Crescent, Flemington 2140

bun cha gio

As much as I love pho whenever I venture out for Vietnamese, sometimes I just really want a lighter meal than a hot, beefy soup.  What these occasions call for is bun cha.  In fact, I think I could easily eat bun cha for the rest of my life.  It has all your food groups in one bowl – vermicelli rice noodles, vegetables and salad, and topped with the protein of your choice.

Amongst all the Vietnamese restaurants in the Flemington strip, this one was recommended by friends in the know.  It is tucked in a lane way behind the main street and is bustling with lunch time diners when I arrive.

My bowl of noodles comes out reasonably quickly, and my eyes excitedly widen at the golden cha gio (or spring rolls) artfully arranged around the edge on the top.  The salad of noodles also comes with crunchy, fresh bean sprouts, shredded lettuce  and carrot, fragrant chopped mint, and crushed peanuts.  I pour over the home made nuoc cham dressing, which brings all the flavours together in a lovely sweet, salty and sour mix.

The noodles are light and refreshing, and I was particularly impressed with the cha gio, where the crisp shell was filled with delicious pork mince, carrot, garlic, black fungus and strands of vermicelli.  Combined with the soft noodles and crunchy, fresh salad, it’s a fun contrast of flavours and textures.

Hoang Gia on Urbanspoon