Dozens of small restaurants serve Pho – an aromatic Vietnamese soup with special home-made beef stock, noodles, crisp vegetables, mint and other herbs, and side garnishes of chilli and lemon. Thai, Laotian, Cambodian and regional Chinese styles of cooking are easily available. There is also an excellent choice of vegetarian eating, opportunities influenced by the many Buddhist communities in the area. You will also find espresso coffee, continental delicatessens and French-style patisseries reflecting Cabramatta’s diverse communities. Unsurprisingly, Vietnamese-Australian bakeries make delicious fluffy baguettes. Many also sell freshly crushed sugar cane juice.
A summer time treat is a Sumbulung, a drink which can be seen as a metaphor for Cabramatta itself. A Sumbulung is a mixture of fruits all blended together with ice – you can choose from soursop, jackfruit, avocado, strawberries, mango, melons, durian and many other fruits for delicious combinations. You will also find freshly crushed sugar cane juice – another typical Asian drink.
Rice pastry is ALWAYS fresh – thin sheets (about 2mm thick) which shouldn’t break when lifted and having a translucency. Sheets can be peeled away easily and are moist and soft in texture (if you love prawn rice rolls in yum cha then you’ll LOVE this).
Twice cooked Mung bean cakes or “Banh Cong” – they have sliced a whole muffin into 1 cm thick slices THEN fried for a maximum crust. Phu Quoc for example does it so well, it isn’t oily at all! Few restaurants will go to all the trouble of taking this extra step. Others (including home-made versions) will only cut the muffin up which subsequently exposes the soft dough to fish sauce and results in a lump of pulp.
Vietnamese ham slices (Cha Lua) – There is enough given here to completely cover the mound of rice pastry….like a little yurt.
A thick slice of cold cured pork (Nem Chua) – that’s the pink slice with transparent bits (shredded pig skin). An acquired taste but delicious and addictive!
Salad – All thinly sliced, cucumber, thai basil, bean sprout (steamed from the rice pastry on top), iceberg lettuce and Vietnamese perilla leaves.
Fish sauce (add as required)
Topped with spring onion oil, coriander and crispy fried onion. Fairfield City Council. “Cabramatta – Freedom Plaza and CBD”. Retrieved 4 June 2014