An adventure in Cabramatta: Bau Truong

Friday, January 10, 2014

The hustle and bustle of fast cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur mirror the busy lifestyles the people who live in them lead, a hustle and bustle that can overwhelm and confuse you if you get caught up in it. But take a step out of that picture and look at it from the outside, and you come to gradually appreciate the uniqueness and adversity of those cities, an atmosphere that is much different to that of Sydney or any other Australian city.

In the western suburbs of Sydney lies Cabramatta, widely known for its expanse Vietnamese community and as the place where you can find the best Vietnamese cuisine in Sydney. The perfect place for a much-anticipated foodie excursion!

Driving or walking along the main strip of John Street, one will find a number of low-cost, authentic restaurants, cheap knick-knack stores and a plethora of Vietnamese-run grocery stores and bakeries. The atmosphere is not unlike that of the aforementioned bustling cities, further accentuated by the high volume of people walking either side of the street. You catch snippets of Vietnamese, Cantonese and an ever-present hum of conversation that never seems to cease. People walk by drinking bubble tea, avocado shakes and eating pork rolls.

Bau Truong has branches in Marrickville and Canley Heights, but the restaurant in Cabramatta is a bit more low-key than its sister eateries. The outside is simply furnished with a modern shopfront, but step inside and you get an accentuation of the busy street's lively atmosphere (as well as a current of aircon) as patrons slurp on noodles and tuck into plates of rice. The inside of the eatery is long, much bigger than what it appears from outside, and the decor is themed with a light green.

We're seated at the back at a large round table, near a large window that gives us a glimpse into the open grill where cooks are chargrilling and cooking meat. Waitresses hurry to and from the kitchen, bringing tea and carrying out steaming hot dishes and bringing in empty plates.

We open the menu and gasp at it sheer length - almost 6 double sided panels long! There are noodle soups, rice dishes, salads, entrees, hot pots, stir fries, main dishes and DIY plates, among many other options.

Pork & prawn fresh rolls

In the mood for a little nibbling, we order the pork and prawn fresh rolls to start. These came with a peanut dipping sauce, filled with juicy prawns and slices of pork as well as shreds of lettuce, vermicelli, mint and coriander.

Inside the fresh rolls

 Beef Pho

Being the epicentre of Vietnamese food, we had to order the Pho. The noodles, slippery and silky, carried the sweet and aromatic broth well but was a tad bit salty for our liking. The beef was plentiful and tender.

I had the Bo Kho, the beef stew noodle soup with egg noodles. This is one of my all time favourite noodle soups. My best description of it would be a Vietnamese beef casserole with noodles and a hint of tomato. It comes with slivers of onion, carrots, shallots, slow-cooked, mouth-melting hunks of tender beef brisket and gelatinous, slippery bits of tendon. My absolute favourite bit is the tendon, cooked to a jelly-like texture which carries the spiced broth like a match made in heaven.

Crispy skin chicken with rice 

 Crispy skin chicken with rice noodle soup

Mum got the crispy skin chicken rice noodle soup, with the chicken coming on the side, and GG the same but with rice instead. The chicken was succulent inside and the noodle soup clear and subtle. The rice comes with slices of pickled radish and carrot - a good cleanser after the salty fried chicken.

Spicy Pork Noodle Soup

Dad had the spicy pork noodle soup. I didn't get to try any of this because I don't really like spicy noodle soups, but it looked quite hot and came with the surprising addition of blood jelly cubes.

Overall lunch for the five of us cost just over $60, which is about the average price for an Asian lunch, but our mouths were left a bit dry and salty later on in the day - the telltale sign of perhaps a little too much of a certain flavour enhancer. Nevertheless, it was a good experience to enjoy real Pho in Cabramatta.

And what's a foodie excursion without a little wander around? After our stomach-bursting lunch we took a little stroll around the numerous arcades and shopping centres behind John Street, browsing among the tropical fruit stores, fast-food eatery arcades, China-selling ornament shops and even a shop dedicated to all things hair and beauty. 

Hot dim sum offerings at Master Chef Dim Sum and Food Co. 

Jin Deui (red bean ball, 90c)

Along the way we picked up a post-meal snack at Master Chef Dim Sim and Food Co of Jin Deui (red bean ball), my favourite Chinese sweet. It consists of a chewy, glutinous dough, lightly fried on the outside and encasing a sweet red bean paste in the centre. The whole thing is rolled in sesame seeds and then fried to give the perfect crispy-chewy texture contrast. My absolute weakness.

Pandan Waffles (Banh Kep)

Waffles to take away

Our final stop before going home was to a bakery on John Street that sold these beautiful Pandan waffles, a pandan-flavoured, heart-shaped waffle that is quintessential on any visit to Cabramatta. You'll be hard pressed to find these any where else in Sydney. Unless, of course, you make them yourself. Dad bought one and ate it for breakfast the next day but it would have been even better eaten hot and fresh, right off the waffle iron. 

Stay tuned for another foodie excursion!

Bau Truong on Urbanspoon 

Master Chef Dim Sim
B1/53 Park Rd, 
Cabramatta NSW 2166

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  1. Thanks, Maddie! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you've reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.