Forget about toast and cereal. In Vietnam, breakfast is all about banh cuon for breakfast: slippery rice noodles served with slices of chả lụa Vietnamese pork sausage, bean sprouts, cucumber and shredded lettuce. The noodles can be rolled with or without meat fillings, but they’re always drowned in lashings of nuoc cham, Vietnam’s national dipping sauce which is made from fish sauce, sugar, garlic and chilli.
Banh cuon is a dish that originally hails from northern Vietnam, but happily you’ll only have to travel to Bankstown to get your fill. After fifteen years of supplying catering orders only, Kim Thanh and her family have finally set up a permanent eatery in an arcade off Chapel Road.
Banh cuon nhan thit meat steamed rice rolls $11.50
There are only seven menu items at this bright and cheerful restaurant... and five of those are banh cuon. It’s one of the few places in Sydney you’ll be able to try these fresh off the steamer, which makes a massive difference. The rolled up noodles – made from a fermented rice batter – are incredibly soft and silky. Purists will choose the plain version where the noodles come garnished with fried eschalots, but most people prefer them wrapped around a filling of minced pork and finely chopped wood-ear mushrooms.
Banh cuon nhan chay vegan steamed rice rolls $11.50
Vegans don’t miss out, either. A banh cuon filled with tofu and wood-ear mushroom comes with a vegan version of the pork sausage. The nuoc cham fish sauce can be swapped out for a vegan alternative, too.
Banh cuon tom chay dried shrimp steamed rice rolls $12
Banh cuon thit nuong grilled pork steamed rice rolls $11
The grilled pork is a surprise hit, wrapped up like a summer roll with a thick peanut dipping sauce on the side. And they still do a roaring trade in catering, with half the customers picking up orders for parties and celebrations. Plain banh cuon start at $12 per kilo.
Banh cong shrimp and mung bean fish cake $8.50
Be sure to save room for their deep-fried snacks. The banh cong shrimp and mung bean cakes are something like a fried savoury muffin that you wrap in lettuce and dip in nuoc cham.
Banh cong shrimp and mung bean fish cake wrapped in lettuce with herbs
Banh tom shrimp and sweet potato fritter $8.50
Into crunch? Drop $8.50 on three banh tom shrimp and sweet potato fritters. You won't regret it.
Banh Cuon Kim Thanh
Shop 7, 313 Chapel Road (south), Bankstown, Sydney
Tel +61 (02) 9708 6661
Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 10.30am-3pm
Order pick-ups Tuesday to Sunday 8am-6pm
This article appeared in the February 2015 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online]
Read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews
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3/04/2015 04:51:00 pm