Phu Quoc, Cabramatta

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2014

Spring rolls. Not the frozen ones that come out for special occasions like your second cousin’s wedding reception at Hornsby RSL, vaguely crispy and filled with a mix of potatoes and sea water, drowning in a sauce as sweet as it is inexplicably red. Vietnamese spring rolls (not to be confused with the cold rice paper rolls served at your second cousin’s outdoor engagement party) are an improvement on their dull fried counterparts in every way. They look better, they taste better and you better order two plates of them when you visit Phu Quoc.

Last week I wrote about the best meal in Cabramatta and this week I’m going to do the exact same thing. There are a lot of best meals in Cabramatta and I love a good cop out. I also love a good spring roll, and would say that Phu Quoc is where you’ll find the best ones in Sydney. The cha gio come long and thick, stacked on your plate and surrounded by herbs. They’ve spent a nice amount of time slowly deep frying, the layer of rice paper developing an impressive and golden crunch. The pork inside is juicy and fatty, which is nicely balanced by wrapping the spring roll in herbs and lettuce, then dipping in nuoc cham dressing.

Phu Quoc (and Cabra in general) is a great place to visit if you like using your hands to eat (personally I would put hands at the top of my overly complicated hierarchy of eating utensils, which will no doubt be outlined in coming weeks). There’s no shortage of dishes here that are to be wrapped by hand in herbs, lettuce and rice paper (to varying success depending on your complete and utter whiteness). The sugar cane prawns here are some of the best in town and make sure you don’t go past the fresh rice pastry (banh uot). For those of us desperate to use chopsticks to eat, you have the option of consuming pretty much an entire duck in a salad that’ll only set you back $15.

After your meal, the bill is sent to your table with a Mintie for each of your dining partners. While “we just smashed an incredible Vietnamese meal in a super friendly restaurant” is hardly what you’d call a moment for which you’d need Minties, the gesture just cements Phu Quoc as one of the spots in Cabra you’ve gotta visit again and again.

WhereShop 11, 117 John Street, Cabramatta
WhenMon-Sun, 9am-9pm

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