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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My's Vietnamese Restaurant, Canberra

"The best part of the apple is definitely eating the core."

There's a slight pause in conversation as I allow this piece of information to sink in. Across the table, Hannah looks at me in earnest, unblinking.

"You. eat. the. seeds" I clarify.

"Well it started out of laziness, because I couldn't be bothered finding a bin, but now it's my favourite part," she says, nodding eagerly.

It's not the first conversation I've had with Hannah, a chocolate-loving food blogger, but it's my first one In Real Life. My day job had taken me to Canberra and I grasped the opportunity to finally meet the girl I'd been chatting with online for over a year.

Campfire beef $21.90

We'd agreed to meet for dinner at My's Vietnamese Restaurant, a taxi ride that took me out of Canberra's city centre and into the wild west. It almost feels like a blind date, meeting a blogger the first time, especially when I'm sitting in a cab heading toward dinner and wondering whether we'll hit it off.

I recognise her immediately. Corkscrew curls. Alone at a table for two. I push forward a tote bag of edible gifts I'd collected in the previous week. She plucks out each item one by one and gushes with such enthusiasm I feel like I'm getting more out of the exchange than she is. In the meantime, I'm more than chuffed with her gift to me, a bar of dark chocolate with coffee and fennel by Canberra company, The Curious Chocolatier.

We have to send away our waitress three times before we're ready to order, distracted by presents and conversation and menu choices.

Dark chocolate with coffee and fennel by The Curious Chocolatier

I'm surprised by how busy this little Vietnamese restaurant is on a Monday night, watching as several people who turn up without a booking are sadly turned away.

We start with the campfire beef, always a favourite dish of mine, particularly as it involves the spectacle of fire at your table. Our bowl of raw beef slices cooks at a rather gentle pace, although we prefer it to the wild bonfire raging at the table next to us, whose occupants end up summoning a waiter to help tame the greedy licking flames.

Cooked beef with lettuce, vermicelli, pineapple, mint and cucumber on a rice paper sheet

We assemble the cooked beef slices on rice paper sheets and pile it high with a mixture of vermicelli noodles, shredded lettuce, pineapple chunks, cucumber and fresh sprigs of mint.

DIY rice paper roll

Wrapping the rice paper roll tightly is an art I've invested hundreds of calories dinners practising. What I love more is the social aspect of making your own dinner at the table, waiting for your chance to grab a bit of meat and a sprinkle of salad, and then the personal satisfaction of dunking your roll into the sweet nuoc cham dressing, and savouring the crunch of lettuce, the tender beef and the zing of mint and pineapple on the palate.

Bean curd with lemongrass and chilli $13.90

I'd had my eye on the crispy pork belly but Hannah's preference for lighter fare leads us to compromise on the beancurd with lemongrass and chilli. It's not the crispy deep-fried silken tofu I'd envisioned, and the sauce is more Thai chilli sauce than fresh chilli and fragrant lemongrass, but I feel better for it, even though images of pork fat ribbons do pop into my head every second mouthful.

Prawn and pork paw paw salad

Prawn and pork paw paw salad is much more of a hit, a tangle of julienned paw paw clustered in a lofty nest that hide slices of pork and peeled prawns. The fish sauce dressing is light, sweet and refreshing and a garnish of crushed peanuts provides a pleasant contrasting crunch.

Needless to say we talk non-stop throughout dinner. Mostly about food. And blogging. And travel. And food.

The next morning I tell my work colleagues about dinner and eating apple cores.

"Oh apple cores are the best," someone pipes up. "The seeds are great. I eat kiwifruit skin too."

Since then I've eaten two apple cores. It's bizarrely satisfying to have no rubbish for the bin, but I'm not yet convinced. Is the eating of apple cores a widespread phenomenon or does it just give you the pip?

You can read Hannah's very sweet (and prompt) version of our dinner on her post here.

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My's Vietnamese Restaurant
35 Brierly Street, Weston Creek, Canberra, ACT
Tel: +61 (02) 6288 6565

Open 7 days 11am-3pm and 5pm-10.30pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Canberra - Le Rendezvous
Canberra - Mecca Bah
Canberra - Pancake Parlour
Canberra - Senso Restaurant (truffle lunch)

Congratulations to the following Grab Your Fork readers: Sugarpuffi, Anthony, Steph, Natalie D and Stephen. Your tips on favourite foodie stops have won each of you a copy of the 2011 Foodies' Guide to Sydney. Congratulations!

Missed out this time? Don't forget to enter the competitions still open:
(entries close Sunday 31 October 2010)

(entries close Sunday 7 November 2010)

> Win a Mexican/Spanish spice kit worth $50
(entries close Tuesday 16 November 2010)
20 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/26/2010 03:13:00 am


  • At 10/26/2010 8:56 am, Blogger Lizzi said…

    It's no wonder Hannah and I are real-life friends... I'm an apple-core eater too (and pears), for the same reason (laziness. Trekking to a bin is something I simply do not have time for in my busy schedule :p), paired with a feeling it was somehow wasteful... often you end up chucking out so much of the fruit! Now it's just habit and I really love the cores! Especially the seeds, which taste like almonds. My mum once told me something about how the almond-y taste of apple seeds is somehow related to cyanide..?? Something like that. Maybe she was trying to deter me from eating them. ahahaha either way, it didn't work!! :D

  • At 10/26/2010 9:44 am, Anonymous JanJan @ Cooking for My Love said…

    Your DIY Rice Paper Roll looks so nice! So hungry now :P

  • At 10/26/2010 9:46 am, Anonymous The Extra said…

    Helen you crazy girl! Don't you know you should only meet a strange blogger in a public place? Lonely cab rides out to the suburbs - sounds like a set up. Or did you have a friend follow at a discreet distance? Glad you made it back from Canberra alive.
    (With tongue firmly in cheek)

  • At 10/26/2010 11:30 am, Anonymous Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    I have never heard of anyone eating the apple core. Even my dad doesn't eat it, and he literally does not believe in waste! Crazy... not sure if I'm willing to give it a try! haha. Looks like a great meal was had :)

  • At 10/26/2010 11:31 am, Blogger sugarpuffi said…

    apple...core...eating?! Maybe i would be crazy enough one day to try it!

    thanks for picking me as a winner btw!! <3

  • At 10/26/2010 11:43 am, Anonymous jess @ fushmush said…

    I eat Apple Cores but only when I can't find a bin.

  • At 10/26/2010 12:03 pm, Anonymous Vivian - vxdollface said…

    um.. eating the core of anything seems a bit iffy to me! I remember I accidentally swallowed a watermelon seed as a kid and my uncle told me I would grow a watermelon in my stomach -.- totally freaked out! My sister eats kiwi fruit skin but only the golden kiwis, apparently it's really good for your skin; I've tried it, not bad haha. But have never heard of anyone eating apple seeds! :O

  • At 10/26/2010 1:32 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    *beams like a three-year-old child who just learnt to tie her own shoes*

    What a lovely, amazing, spectacular post filling my day today with happiness! Even though you have made me sound slightly crazy. But how can I begrudge you that? I think I sound slightly crazy myself ;)

    (Also, people *don't* usually eat kiwi skin either?! I'm confused! :P)

    I'm so honoured that you suggested this dinner, Helen, and it stands out as one of the golden nights of my year. Particularly now that your review and photos make the food sound even tastier that I remembered it!

    And thank heavens neither of us needed to use a fake emergency phone call to get out of the blind date scenario ;)

  • At 10/26/2010 4:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i eat the skin on kiwi fruit, too - and on oranges. that's the best bit!

  • At 10/26/2010 4:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Another kiwifruit skin eater here too ... lovely post and great to hear about it from the other side!

  • At 10/26/2010 4:48 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    So nice to meet someone who you have been corresponding with over the internet in real life! I hope she was just as lovely in person (it sounds it). And for the record, no thanks to apple cores!

  • At 10/26/2010 6:17 pm, Blogger Mel said…

    I always eat the skin on my kiwi fruit - so much easier than trying to peel it. The DIY rolls look great - I just cannot master than though without everything else ending up in my lap!

  • At 10/26/2010 9:04 pm, Blogger sarynkay said…

    seriously?? can you get used to eating apple cores??

  • At 10/27/2010 6:33 am, Blogger Lisa (bakebikeblog) said…

    I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed your meal! Mys is one of my favourite local restaurants!

  • At 10/27/2010 11:37 pm, Anonymous Louise said…

    I thought everyone had a friend who eats apple cores? I now have 3 friends who profess to like apple cores/pear cores, and one who does the occasional orange peel nibbling. No thanks. Seems altogether unappealing.

  • At 10/28/2010 2:11 am, Anonymous GirlonRaw said…

    Maybe one day I will get to meet Hannah herself as well. I love getting to know her through our online interactions as well.

  • At 10/28/2010 4:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    People eat the core of an apple and kiwi skin?! REALLY?! (Especially the kiwi skin) - its.. all furry and stuff. Hahahah

    And and, the campfire beef looks delectable! Nomnom

  • At 10/28/2010 6:46 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…


    Don't think I'd enjoy eating an apple core. The fibrousy bits around the seeds arent' my preferred texture, I don't think =p

  • At 10/29/2010 3:04 pm, Blogger susan said…

    I don't know about the seeds and core of an apple, but I definitely used to eat kiwi fruit skin and all, until people pointed out that it was weird..

  • At 11/02/2010 3:21 am, Anonymous Sasa said…

    Meeting new people is one of my favourite things about blogging - glad you had a good experience popping your meet-up cherry! I miss living in the Antipodes and having lots of good Asian food - I'm from Auckland but live in Austria now and it's pretty dire, I'm talking those horrendous Pan-Asian places with sushi and green curry on the same menu o_0


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