So we all know about duck breast, legs and liver, but what about duck tongues? At Bau Truong, these usually discarded organs are dusted with seasoned flour, deep-fried and served up as the traditional Vietnamese dish, Luoi Vit Rang Muo, or salt and pepper duck tongue.
The duck tongues aren't half as intimidating when they arrive - the magic of deep-frying tends to make anything look good. Crunching through the golden batter, the tongues are a little chewy, with a faint crunch of cartilage, but their spicy coating of salt and pepper make these rather addictive. I suspect they'd be brilliant paired with beer.
Bau Truong is one of the more fancier Vietnamese restaurants along John Street, recently renovated to incorporate extended seating and cheerful lime green walls. The double-sided menu can be a bit daunting at first, opening out to provide cover for even the most mischievous couple. We browse through options that run from soft shell crab, scampi and eel to crocodile, quail drumsticks and crispy pork intestines.
Crispy sticky rice $10
Crispy sticky rice is the kind of deep-fried starch that immediately grabs my attention. We bite our way through the crunchy surface to find a plank of sticky rice and mung bean.
On the other side of the plate are strips of marinated chicken, char-grilled until tender and served with soft fried green onions. Crinkly strips of pickled daikon and carrot are crunchy and sweet.
Combination fried noodle $13
Combination fried noodle is a saucy huddle of slippery rice noodle, tangled with snow peas, prawns, straw mushrooms and stalks of baby corn. It's a huge portion and worth sharing.
Half the fun of Cabramatta is the ready availability of street food, easily eaten on the run, on scoffed on the spot as you stand by the kerb.
Banh mi pork and salad roll $4
We follow up our feed with banh mi, a crusty baguette packed tightly with pork, carrot, cucumber, coriander and a generous slather of pate. Eating one of these is guaranteed to make a mess, which is probably why everyone eats them in the street.
And how can you have closure without dessert? You'll find no shortage of options along the main strip of John Street, presented in a rainbow of takeaway boxes or kept fresh beneath a seal of plastic wrap.
Pandan waffle and banh cam
We share in pandan waffles, made fresh and served warm, the pale green batter filled with chewy strands of shredded coconut.
Banh cam is another Vietnamese favourite, crisp rings of deep-fried dough coated in a generous layer of toffee and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
And every trip to Cabramatta always ends up in Freedom Plaza, where everyone soaks up the last rays of sunshine against the backdrop of the large and impressive Pailau Gate.
Ice kacang, avocado shake and fruit salad juice
We wash down dessert with drinks from Kaysone Sweets, resisting the temptation of banana fritters and toffee-coated sweet potato chips. Fruit shakes are all made from fresh fruit, with options including durian, avocado, lychee and soursop. If shaved ice and condensed milk sounds more like your thing, then choose your own selection of jellies, fruits and sweet beans for a personalised and portable ice kacang. Bliss.
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Cabramatta food tour
Cabramatta food tour with Luke Nguyen
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2/14/2011 02:42:00 a.m.