It’s kind of sunny today. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s winter and the actual degree of the air is pretty damn frosty. So it made perfect sense to me that Vietnamese was the way to go. Especially since my throat’s been a little sore lately.
If you haven’t been to Tra Vinh, it’s a little restaurant around the corner from The Brisbane Hotel which has a dedicated following amongst Vietnamese cuisine lovers here in Perth. At 2.30pm the restaurant is BUSY.
All tables except a couple in the very middle of the restaurant are taken, with eager diners tucking into their meals with gusto. I’m eying the pork and prawn rice paper rolls which are one of my favourite dishes here but since I ate them only days before for lunch, I opt for rare beef pho instead and a serving of the stuffed chicken wings (which I end up taking home because I’m too full with the fried wontons for a snack).
Pho is so great. It’s exactly what you want when you’re not feeling completely up to speed. A good bowl of pho makes your nose run and your mouth salivate. It’s slightly sour from the lemon you squeeze into the broth and spicy from the beautiful chilli that you add at your leisure.
While it doesn’t quite taste like the pho I chomped down on in Ho Chi Minh only in January this year, it’s pretty damn close. Just thinking about that holiday sends my mind spinning on a reminiscent spiral of how great that country is when it comes to food. I am severely missing those nights at Ben Thanh markets eating food for half the price of a bottle of water here.
The stuffed chicken is sweet. The batter light but crunchy. The insides is a combination of carrots, glass noodles and some other vegetables. It’s tasty but could use a bit of bite – though that’s where the lovely thin dipping sauce comes in handy. A nice little afternoon snack that I’m enjoying as I type.
And the fried wontons. Well they’re just a naughty little taster that I know I should resist but just couldn’t today. They’re oily and meaty and have the most incredible crunch even when dunked in the sweet goopy sauce that accompanies it.
Tra Vinh is my go to Vietnamese restaurant. None of this mainstream Viet Hoa where MSG coats your tongue and leaves you swallowing buckets of water for the rest of the day. This is traditional cooking that is as close to the flavours and techniques in Vietnam as you’ll find in Australia. Yummo.