REVIEW: Ngon Vietnamese Street Food

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2015

There are three food courts in Chinatown, each of them worth visiting repeatedly, exploring every restaurant and familiarising yourself with as many of the dishes on offer as possible. It’s pretty hard to go wrong, but if you wanna ensure rightness, here is a simple Chinatown food court hierarchy to use as a guide: Sussex Centre > Eating World > Dixon House. Disagree? Fight me. 9pm tonight outside the Paddy’s Markets. Loser has to eat at the Westfield food court for a month. Enjoy your Snag Stand.

The most recent addition to Sussex Centre’s stalls, already home to 10/10 eateries like Happy Chef and Ikkyu, is Ngon Vietnamese Street Food, a clean neon Vietnamese affair that’s next door to another clean neon Vietnamese affair. On the menu are some 40 lunch options, a grab bag of someone who’s recently visited Vietnam listing as many of the great meals they had while they were there in 30 seconds. While there’s a lot of familiarity on the menu (bowls of vermicelli, banh mi, rice paper rolls), there’s also a Hanoi specialty on there, one I’ve not seen on a Sydney Viet menu before: bun cha hanoi.

Bun cha is a collection of bowls – one filled with noodles, one with herbs, another some sauce – but the star of the bowl show is one filled with grilled patties of ground pork, swimming in a warm and sweet broth. You mix some cold noodles into the broth, throw a few herbs in, add some chili, eat it all together and make a huge mess. It’s super fun and super delicious, and Ngon’s take on the dish is great value but lacking in the flavour department. The broth is sweet and strange, but the pork patties are lacking the taste of charcoal that they’re cooked over traditionally, Ngon opting to grill them over gas instead. A pile of grilled pork would improve with that same charcoal kick, and the usual varied collection of Vietnamese herbs is a few mint leaves and grated carrot. Still, it’s a fun lunch, and hopefully the start of more Vietnamese joints adding the dish to the menu.

Shop F6, Sussex Centre Food Court, 401 Sussex St, Haymarket

Mon-Sun, 12pm-8pm

How much

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