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Friday, June 17, 2016

Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown

Banh xeo tom thit Vietnamese pancake with prawn and pork from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown

Banh xeo bigger than your face. It's hard not to feel your heart flutter when the giant-sized Vietnamese pancake descends on your table at Thy Vietnamese Eatery. They pump these out all day and night, churned out by a small team of wizened women. The signature hiss when the turmeric-tinted batter hits the pan gives the dish its name. Banh xeo means sizzling cake. The real test of a good banh xeo is its crispness. Thy takes out the crown, hands down.

Banh beo steamed rice flour cakes with dried shrimp from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Banh beo $11
Steamed rice flour cakes with dried shrimp

Thy sits among a cluster of Vietnamese grocery stores, bakeries and fruit shops on Chapel Street South in Bankstown. Everything is reassuringly casual. Expect cutlery in a communal metal canister on each table, serviettes from a tissue box and pour-your-own tea from a giant thermos. The menu can be confusing at first, repeated in both English and Vietnamese, but photos of the dishes make ordering a lot easier.

Banh beo steamed rice flour cakes with dried shrimp from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Fried bread and mung beans on top of the banh beo

Grab a table outside for a real street food experience. It makes the ideal setting for banh beo, a Hue snack traditionally sold by the side of the street. These steamed rice flour cakes are shaped to look like the lily flower pads that surrounded Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Thy does a sneaky substitute with croutons instead of pork crackling on top, but the mungo beans, fried shallots and green onion still make these a textural party in the mouth.

Goi cuon fresh rice paper rolls from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Goi cuon $8
Fresh rice paper rolls

Goi cuon fresh rice paper rolls, also known as summer rolls, are terrific too. They're made to order so the rice paper is still soft and pliable, jam-packed and rolled tightly with pork, vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, lettuce, mint, garlic chives and perfectly aligned prawns.

Banh xeo tom thit Vietnamese pancake with prawn and pork from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Banh xeo tom thit $13.50
Vietnamese pancake with prawn and pork

Ordering the banh xeo is a given. It'll take about ten minutes. The arrival of the banquet-sized plate usually heralds a frantic game of table tetris.

Prawn, pork and beansprouts inside the banh xeo Vietnamese pancake from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Prawn, pork and beansprouts inside the banh xeo

There are a couple of variations of filling you can choose but we tend to stick with the standard pork and prawn combo, embedded into the crepe during the cooking process. The local's way to eat this is to tear off a wedge of banh xeo and then wrap it up in lettuce with as much mint, perilla and mustard leaf as you please. Dunk it in the bowl of nuoc cham fish sauce dressing provided and resign yourself to getting messy.

If you'd rather not get hands on, you can mix up everything in your bowl instead - nuoc cham included - and then try and appear a little more civilised using fork or chopsticks to transfer it to your mouth. Good luck.

Crispy and pancake edges on the banh xeo Vietnamese pancake from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Crisp and lacy pancake edges

The best part about banh xeo is definitely the edge bits. Make sure noone steals your share. Although banh xeo is often called a pancake in English, it's more of a crepe in lightness and texture. Being able to cook banh xeo super thin and crisp without having it break or burn is an artform.

Bun rieu pork and crab noodle soup from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Bun rieu $11.50
Pork and crab noodle soup

Mix things up with bun rieu, a pork and crab noodle soup that comes with a refreshingly tangy tomato broth. You'll also find slices of pork, pigs blood, fish cakes, fluffy crab balls and lots of fresh coriander.

Banh cuon thit cha steamed rice noodle rolls with pork mince from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Banh cuon thit cha $12
Steamed rice noodle rolls with pork mince and cha lua Vietnamese pork slices

Banh cuon is another revered favourite by regulars. A special fermented rice batter is poured into a thin layer over a steamer and then rolled up with pork mince when cooked.

Banh cuon thit cha steamed rice noodle rolls with pork mince and black fungus from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Banh cuon steamed rice noodle rolls with pork mince and black fungus

The rice noodles are warm and sticky, cuddled around a smattering of pork mince and crunchy black fungus. Douse this with nuoc cham and eat together with lettuce, mint and as many fried shallots as you can manage. Half moons of sliced cha lua on the side are the same porky deliciousness you find in banh mi thit pork rolls.

Banh hoi chao tom barbecue prawn paste with rice noodles and herbs from Thy Vietnamese Eatery, Bankstown
Banh hoi chao tom $13.50
Barbecue prawn paste with rice noodles, herbs and roll-your-own rice paper sheets

Still hungry? Go to town with banh hoi chao tom, a roll-your-own fiesta of barbecued prawn paste, vermicelli and salad in rice paper. The trick is to keep your filling even in shape and to roll the rice paper around it tightly. Then you know what happens next. Dunk that cigar into that sweet nuoc cham fish sauce dressing. Bon appetit.

Thy Vietnamese Eatery on Chapel Road South in Bankstown


Thy Vietnamese Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thy Vietnamese Eatery
1/316-324 Chapel Road South, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9708 2317

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 9am-7pm
Friday to Sunday 9am-9pm

Also at 11/9 Hughes Street, Cabramatta 


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Cabramatta - Tan Viet
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4 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/17/2016 12:58:00 am


4 Comments:

  • At 6/17/2016 8:42 am, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    Food looks amazing! Vietnamese is one of my favourite cuisines, I wish they had a third shop somewhere in the Inner West.

     
  • At 6/17/2016 10:33 am, Anonymous John @ heneedsfood said…

    Yes! This is the first time I've seen banh beo sold in Sydney - loved eating them in Hue.

     
  • At 6/17/2016 11:09 am, Blogger Petra Becker said…

    Those steamed rice buns look delicious! I think I'll have to go an a special trip to Bankstown.

     
  • At 6/26/2016 10:16 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Wow, lots of great dishes here! And there are so many that I haven't tried before! I normally just go for my usual when I go for Vietnamese - Pho, bun, or Thit Kho. You make me wanna expand my horizons! :)

     

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