Combination drink $3.00
Saigon Pho, in Sussex Centre Food Court, has always fed me well. This little stall, past the noodle houses and right down the end of the food court strip, has satiated my hungry belly since long-gone university days.
The friendly Vietnamese man is still there, ever-smiling and non-ageing.
A colourful array of sweet beans, fruits and jellies languish in neat little bowls at the counter, waiting to be scooped into plastic cups and topped with ice and coconut milk. It's been a hot day so I have my usual combination drink: a little bit of everything, including agar strips, jackfruit, grass jelly, mung beans, red beans and lychee.
A loud whirring rattle from the creaking ice machine produces thick jagged shards of ice--more for chewing than sucking through a straw--and then the whole lot is covered in a ladle of coconut milk and a scoop of clear sugar syrup. It's a little more rustic in appearance than most places, but the glut of sweet treasures down the bottom more than makes up for it.
No. 26: Pork chop with bbq pork with rice $7.00
It's the Vietnamese-style bbq pork that I usually go for here, that sweet caramelised pork sticky with a delicious marinade of fish sauce, garlic, sugar, lemongrass and lime. Today AN has the pork chop with a skewer of bbq pork fillet that sits on an enormous bed of broken rice. To the side is a tousle of bi, thin shreds of pork mixed with shredded pork skin covered in roasted rice powder.
A slice of tomato, discs of cucumber and a jumble of pickled carrot and white radish provide refreshment. The whole lot is doused with the accompanying bowl of nuoc cham, the ubiquitous Vietnamese dressing of fish sauce, sugar, garlic, vinegar and chilli.
No. 22: BBQ pork chop with egg and rice $7.80
I have the number 22 which comes with two pork chops and a cheerful fried egg, sunny side up.
The pork is soft and juicy and not overly fatty. There are plenty of charred caramelised bits and the generous serving of rice seems to go on forever. Neither of us can finish it.
A complimentary bowl of clear soup topped with green onions helps clear the palate. The most frustrating part of the meal is trying to eat the pork chop using plastic cutlery. Real cutlery is no longer provided anymore, which is a shame as I usually prefer this food court in Chinatown because of its cheerful atmosphere and abundance of natural light.
I'll still come back. There's a pork chop waiting with my name all over it.
Sussex Centre Food Court
Shop F6 (Level 1)
401-403 Sussex Street, Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9212 5387
Open 7 days 10am-9pm
Related GrabYourFork posts:
Saigon Pho, November 2004
Saigon Village, Haymarket
Happy Chef, Sussex Centre Food Court
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1/11/2007 11:58:00 p.m.