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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Yen for Viet, Marrickville

Is there a more perfect cuisine for summer than Vietnamese? Crunchy salads, sprigs of mint and splashes of sweet dressing, I know what I'm craving for whenever the mercury hits 30C.

We turn up at new Vietnamese restaurant Yen for Viet to find a modern airy restaurant, the wall painted a cheerful cherry red, and hung with minimalist line drawings of cyclists and motorcyclists in Vietnam.

The telltale signs of its former existence as a Korean restaurant can still be seen, with the original tables sporting grill plates once used for barbecuing meats.

We start with banh xeo ($12), a lacy rice flour and tumeric pancake that is cooked to a crisp and folded over a filling of pork, cooked prawns, mashed mung bean and crunchy bean sprouts. We douse the lot with nuoc cham, the national dressing made from fish sauce, lemon juice and chilli, and savour the contrast between the delicate pancake and the accompanying salad of Vietnamese herbs, pickled carrot and daikon.

The best part about banh xeo are the frilly edges which should be thin and crisp. The version here is commendable.

Coconut juice $3

Goi hai san $18

Our glasses of coconut juice come in handy when we hit the goi hai san seafood salad, a combination of squid curls, prawns, capsicum, cucumber and celery that is spicy enough with chilli to make you break out in a sweat.

Ca kho to $15

Ca kho to caramelised fish in clay pot is a bubbling molten lake of sweet and fishy caramel sauce holding thick fillets of cod. Our bowls of white rice soak up the sauce greedily.

Canh chua ca $18

Our final dish is a cavernous bowl of canh chua ca, a sweet and sour tamarind soup that is refreshing, even in the heat. The clear broth is flavoured with tamarind, lemongrass, chilli, sugar and fish sauce that is sweet, sour and salty all at once. It comes packed with fish fillets, mushrooms, wedges of tomato, sweet pineapple and angled slices of elephant ear stem, a crunchy vegetable that acts like a sponge, soaking up all the flavours of the soup.

Elsewhere on the menu we spot an abundance of wagyu beef, offering a optional upgrade on the usual $10 beef pho noodle soup to a more princely $16. Bo luc lac salt and pepper beef can be $12 or $18 depending on whether you choose the wagyu.

I'm more intrigued by the muc don thit chien don, squid stuffed with prawn, pork mince and black fungus ($12 for two).

It finally feels like summer. I'm ready to get my nuoc cham on.

View Larger Map
Yen for Viet on Urbanspoon

Yen for Viet
296 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
Tel: +61 (02) 9558 2819

Opening hours:
Lunch Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5.30pm-10pm
Closed on Mondays

Licensed and BYO wine only (corkage $2.50 per person)

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Marrickville - Hung Cheung (dinner) and (yum cha)
Marrickville - Huong Huong
Marrickville - Nhat Tan
Marrickville - Old Thanh Huong
Marrickville - Post Cafe
Marrickville - Sydney Portugal Club
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/02/2011 03:27:00 am


  • At 1/02/2011 4:08 am, Anonymous Toanisanidiot said…

    Oooh, Banh Xeo... Am always looking for the perfect Banh Xeo... I love it really thin and crispy mmmm... Thanks for the details!

  • At 1/02/2011 6:52 am, Blogger Gourmet Getaway said…

    I love Vietnamese food in summer, it is so fresh and healthy. It is a more interesting choice when salads are starting to get boring.

  • At 1/02/2011 9:17 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Wow, hasn't the proliferation of Vietnamese food outside of the western suburbs gathered pace? Love seeing these new cheap eateries spring up all over the place. Yum.

  • At 1/02/2011 10:21 am, Blogger Anna said…

    I couldn't agree more - Vietnamese is so ideal for summer. I especially love the prolific use of mint - it's such a fresh and cooling flavour!

    Happy new year Helen :)

  • At 1/02/2011 10:31 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    I could really do with that canh chua ca today. It sounds similar to a tom yum soup?

  • At 1/02/2011 11:00 am, Blogger Mel said…

    the banh xeo looks delicious! mmmm...

  • At 1/02/2011 12:01 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I was going to make a joke about raw food being even better for summer, but then I couldn't: I love Vietnamese :) And this does look a might better than what we had here in Canberra! :S

  • At 1/02/2011 12:42 pm, Anonymous reality raver said…

    I have walked passed here many times and have been curious. But have noted it is higher priced then the other Vietnamese in the area, but does appear to have a smaller menu (which could be a positive thing.

    How does it rate compared to the other Vietnamese Restaurants in the area?

  • At 1/02/2011 2:15 pm, Anonymous thang@noodlies said…

    what a perfect dinner for summer, banh xeo looks yum... are we seeing some evolution, wagyu beef, one local Cabra restaurant is offering it too

  • At 1/02/2011 10:03 pm, Blogger A cupcake or two said…

    ahhhh young coconut juice. I could down at least 3 of those on a hot summers day.. the food looks delicious.

  • At 1/02/2011 10:03 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    Oh yes, the combination of herbs and salads and flavourful meats is fantastic for our summer, bring it on!

  • At 1/03/2011 6:09 am, Anonymous Kate (What Kate is Cooking) said…

    I love the decorations!

  • At 1/03/2011 10:24 am, Blogger Madam Wu said…

    Looks a lot better than my last few attempts to find good Vietnamese food in Marrickville. Great photos!

  • At 1/03/2011 12:07 pm, Anonymous Anna Johnston said…

    Oh yes, I have to agree, there is nothing nicer in summer than fresh yummy Vietnamese food, this one looked wonderful too.

  • At 1/03/2011 12:15 pm, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    I love Bahn Xeo,wondering they do the Hue style which is a lot smaller and crunchier! Hmmm... so much food I am missing out this year. :( cry....

  • At 1/03/2011 3:55 pm, Blogger Maria said…

    This is such different food to what I'm used to, but I'm loving the colours and I can imagine how flavoursome it would be!

  • At 1/03/2011 4:26 pm, Anonymous JasmyneTea said…

    Looks amazing! The only vietnamese I've had is vietnamese spring rolls, so I think I'll definitely have to try this place out :)

  • At 1/06/2011 4:46 pm, Blogger susan said…

    Oh I used to love that Korean restaurant that was there. What a shame it has gone, although it was never really busy. I love clay pot fish, so sweet and salty. Yum!


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