Friday, April 8, 2011

Banh Mi & Pho a la Adelaide

Like Japanese food in Oz, Vietnamese food has attained a higher level versus what I've found in London. Walk down Kingsland Road and it seems to be transformed into Little Vietnam, but most menus are the same, offering only the classics with few diversions. Down here there are more places specialising in one type of Vietnamese cuisine, like the affable Banh Mi stall in Adelaide's Chinatown, and Pho Minh for noodles in Manfield Park.

Can't you believe before this I was a Banh Mi virgin? Not any more, thanks to Vietnamese pro HL. She tells me there are some notorious joints in the Northern Adelaide 'burbs, but Banh Mi in the International Food Plaza is a great first introduction.

It's crusty, crackly bun holds Roasted Pork with Crackling, so juicy and with good oiliness. Fresh carrot and cucumber give it a light foil, all coated in heat from the chilli sauce and unctuous egg mayonnaise. Cue Vietnamese Coffee to wash it all down. This bean is smoky and deep, filtered in what looks like mini tin teapots over glasses. Doused in ice and mixed with condensed milk, it's sugary and creamy texture is irresistible.

Contrast that with a dark, aromatic soup at Pho Minh packed with anise, basil, onion, coriander and my mixed selection (amongst thin strips of beef was LOTS of cartilage, shudder). Only thing it lacked was a touch more seasoning, though nothing some fish sauce couldn't fix. They only use fresh noodles here, all handmade with varying lengths and widths.

I kept thinking about Banh Mi on the plane from Adelaide. Should have done a takeaway for the trip! AUD$8 for the sandwich and AUD$12 for the noodles.

Banh Mi - Vietnamese Rolls
Shop 3, 13-21 Moonta Street
International Food Plaza
Adelaide 5000
Tel: +618211660

Pho Minh
7/86 Wilson Street
Manfield Park
(Opposite the Community Parks)
Tel: +618244 6288


andrew say said...

i'm such a noodle head...they look simply delicious!

Hungry Female said...

Hey Andrew! They were goooood, broth needed a little kick of salt but not a bad thing really...I love my salt! Noodles were very fresh and "ngan" which added to overall yumminess:-)

Cinnamon and Truffle said...

I had my very first Banh Mi just recently too - in San Francisco. Sadly, the one I'd been pointed to wasn't great - ridiculously sugary vegetables and substandard pork ruined it all. Ah well, the first time can never be counted on to be the best, after all...


Hungry Female said...

I'd like to know if you find a better Banh Mi! I've got now the opposite problem, to find one that lives up to my expectations;-)

Unknown said...

@Cinnamon and Truffle - I recently did a 'Banh Mi Road Trip' earlier this year in California...And in San Francisco i recommend you try 'Little Vietnam Cafe - 306 6th Ave (between Clement St & Geary Blvd): try the grilled pork...or the most well known Banh Mi in San Fran is 'Saigon Sandwich' - 560 Larkin St (between Eddy & Turk Street). Hope that is some help!

Anonymous said...

Excellent, I visit both of these places on a weekly basis!


Cinnamon and Truffle said...

@Andy - Thank you so much for the tips! Coincidentally it was Saigon Sandwich that I was on my way to, but it had closed for the day, so I ended up trying something around the corner. Will definitely search out Little Vietnam Cafe when I'm next in SF!

Hungry Female said...

@Andy - thanks for the tips, I wish I was in SF to try!
@Truffle - report back please!
HF xx

Anonymous said...

Tay Do in Mansfield Park in Adelaide is THE standard for banh mi. Used to offer a canned sardine in tomato sauce version which was the best. Lemongrass chicken was the general standard :) Tried the place at the Central Markets today and would rate them as average. Thankfully a Vietnam bakery in torrensville is making good basic versions.