Sunday, 18 March 2012

Flavours of my Vietnam: 1st post

I've always been proud of my Vietnamese heritage, but since the inception of this blog, I've always been doing reviews on dishes of different cuisines.  I guess that's because I personally believe there's not much point going to a restaurant to eat food when there can be an awesome version of it at home, haha :)  My family thinks that, too, but maybe that'll change in the near future, once I actually get to go out with my family more often, and dine on Viet food! Yeahhh :)  But I say so because my Grandma and Dad used to work at a restaurant called Thùy Dương, situated in Bankstown's Old Plaza, many many years ago, when they first arrived in Australia.  Grandma's written a whole series of cookbooks and recipe cards in Vietnam as well as over here, and she published it in the US.  And Mum's a fast learner, so her cooking gets better and better everyday - I love my family's cooking, no doubt :)

Although I do like to eat out and try different cuisines, I'm glad to be Vietnamese because I love the food we have at home, and I love it how Mum and Grandma cook dishes from the 3 regions.  Gran's from the North, so the flavours are pure, mild and original.  Dad's from the Middle, so they know and love their salt and chilli. And Mum's from the South, so from how I see it, it's like a stealing and blending of many different flavours from the North and Middle.  So at home, our dishes have a depth of flavour that reflects the originality of the North, yet contains enough oomph and spice from the Middle.  And cheers to no artificial flavours and colours, no stock too salty or fatty, and no MSG!

So I'm starting a new blog post series to tell you all about the flavours of my Vietnam, ranging from home cooking, to short reviews of my local Viet food, to dishes I've eaten all the way in Vietnam!

So the weather hasn't been promising lately, always having to change plans last minute, affects the food my mum makes all the time.  One minute we're planning bún bò Huế, and then the sun decides to go on a sweltering high, so we resort to bánh tráng thịt luộc, which is steamed pork wrapped in rice paper, a fast and easy dinner to make on a hot summery evening.  This dish is so easy to make, and there's so many alternatives, it's been a favourite Viet dish of mine since the age of 4.
Taken from  The thing about this DIY healthy Viet dinner is that you can wrap rice paper with any sort of meat and it'll taste awesome --> some alternatives include wrapping prawns (the well known gỏi cuốn), nem nướng, and even spring rolls!
The typical summer-roll type dinner layout.  There's the rice vermicelli, the steamed pork, the special peanut sauce that usually accompanies the summer rolls, or you could opt for a sweeter and modified version of nước mắm (fish sauce), which is shown here, with a dash of chilli and shredded carrot.  Oooh, and don't forget the lovely fresh leafy greens and herbs, including: rau diếp cá (fish mint), rau tía tô (perilla), rau chua (sorrel), and Vietnamese lettuce!

Last night it was a bit chilli, so Mum made bún măng vịt:
Doesn't this look scrumptious? :) Hahaha I already ate a bit of it before taking a pic, I couldn't wait!!
The bamboo used here is pre-dried when it its pack, so it's got a darker brown colour, unlike the usual bamboo shoots.   A version of the recipe can be found at The Ravenous Couple's blog :)

And for lunch today, I had bánh mì thịt :)
I seriously love this stuff.  Been having it since ages ago, I call it the Vietnamese equivalent of Macca's. Got heaps more vegies than a Macca's burger would ever have, though :)
The crunchy golden bread, the oh-so-creamy pâté, and the moderate chilli that's not too mild, not too chilli, just enough to bring out a Southern Vietnamese "air" of a flavour.  And yes, a few sprigs of ngò (cilantro), for the fresh herby kick!

Mum bought it from Banh Mì Bảy Ngộ in Bankstown.  We used to buy our bánh mì thịt from Nam Fong Bread Shop just a few paces up from here, and we bought there for a few short years, until the quality of their bread became soft and chewy.
Banh Mì Bảy Ngộ is seriously the best bánh mì thịt place in all of Bankstown!!  We've been buying our bánh mì thịt from here for more than 6 years now.  They epitomise the awesomeness of the unique Vietnamese bread roll - it's soft inside, but has a lovely crunchy shell (by the way, the smell of a Viet bakery in the morning is definitely something to wake up to :)) And plus, their ingredients are fresh, as well as their bread rolls.  And it's only $3.50!

Speaking of bánh mì thịt, I've been following Noodlie's post on Sydney's Best Vietnamese Pork Roll, so if any of you know another good place, comment there and let's see the verdict!

(Blogpost edited 29/12/12)


  1. Heya, great post on Viet food.. thanks for the referral to noodlies xxx Thang

  2. I love viet food! sooooo yummy!!! esp their pork rolls and rice paper rolls!! nom nom nom


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