Ask any Vietnamese person where to get the best Vietnamese food in Sydney and you’ll always hear the same answer – Cabramatta. The South-West neighbourhood has been the heart of Sydney’s South East Asian community since the 1980s and it’s still as vibrant as ever. Check it out on a weekend morning, the main street will be dotted with improvised stalls peddling locally grown herbs and tropical fruit, the restaurants’ behind them carrying the scent of fresh baguettes, charcoal roasted meat and simmering phở broths.
Tan Viet Noodle House
Like most Vietnamese restaurants in Sydney the menu at Tan Viet is overwhelmingly long. Don’t even bother picking it up, there’s one thing you go to Tan Viet Noodle House for and that’s crispy skin chicken. The no frills restaurant is considered the best in Sydney, their skin the crispest and the meat the juiciest. The only decision to make is what to have with it – tomato rice, chicken soup with egg noodles, rice noodles or straight.
100 John Street, Cabramatta; (02) 9727 6853
Vietnamese is a rich and varied cuisine but that’s not often represented in Australia, where we get mostly lemongrass pork, phở, pancakes and salad. Dong Xang is where to go to find something different. It’s one of the only places to try bún mắm, a mixed seafood soup that’s pungent and rich from the use of fermented fish paste. The small, family-run restaurant also does a traditional bún riêu cua, a thick, tomatoey soup with crab meat and vermicelli noodles.
5 99/97 John Street, Cabramatta; (02) 9727 2568
About a decade ago Bau Truong was a tiny alleyway restaurant specialising in street food from Vietnam’s capital. It looks nothing like that now. The restaurant’s popularity has gained them access to a bigger, slicker space and now their reputation isn’t just based on making a good pho or rice paper roll but on the fact they serve more than 100 dishes and they do them all well. They’re particularly pumping during Vietnamese New Year, mostly because of their commitment to making popular Vietnamese festive dishes, like thịt kho tàu (an immensely rich braised pork belly dish) and cá chưng tương bún tàu (steamed whole fish with bean-thread noodles).
42 John Street, Cabramatta; (02) 9727 4492
Vinata’s Hot Bread
The title of Cabramatta’s best bánh mì seems to differ with every person we ask but the most common answer is Vinata’s Hot Bread. Their popularity is no doubt due to both their incredibly long history (they opened in 1988 when bánh mìs where rare as bún mắm is now), their $3.50 starting price and the quality. They bake throughout the day to keep the rolls crunchy, they make their own pâté, mayonnaise and pickles, and they load their rolls to the brim.
13-14, Cabramatta Plaza, 1 Hughes St, Cabramatta; (02) 8790 7257