I love having friends of different nationalities because it means when we go and eat their cuisine, they can order. Tonight we are out to farewell one of my best friend’s bf before he heads back to NY after a few weeks back in Syd for weddings and birthdays. His diet in the last few weeks consists of alcohol and Vietnamese food in any shape or form. In NY he tells me the Vietnamese food there isn’t as good as the ones we find in Sydney, mainly because most of the Vietnamese population is situated on the West Coast and a lot of the food in the East coast has been Westernised. I laughed when he told me the story of ordering a Banh Mi with extra chilli and they gave him extra jalapeno. I personally love eating Vietnamese food as the flavours are very fresh, simple and clean.
Thanh Binh has 2 restaurants, 1 in Newtown and 1 in Cabramatta and is owned by Dan Hong’s mum, Angie Hong. Along the walls near the kitchen, it proudly displays newspaper articles featuring Dan Hong.
At the risk of the drink making me full before I start eating, I ordered the 3 coloured bean drink anyway. There is no set ingredients in this drink and it varies from place to place. This drink contained white bean, chendol and agar agar jelly topped with coconut cream. Sometime this drink is too coco-nutty for my liking but I like the drink as I like scooping up the chendol and jelly pieces and slowly chewing on it.
I love a good spring roll. I do prefer the Vietnamese version compared to the Chinese version due to the filling inside. The Chinese version often contains just cabbage, carrot and pork but the Vietnamese version has mung bean noodles and woodear mushrooms for that extra added crunchy texture inside. I also like the accompaniments of lettuce and fresh Vietnamese basil to roll up the spring roll in to dip in the fish sauce.
Banh Xeo is called a pancake but it’s more like a crepe. It is made from rice flour and ground turmeric. I’ve tried the Southern Vietnamese version of this pancake made with coconut milk and I wasn’t a big fan as the coconut taste overpowered the pork filling inside. This Banh Xeo however wasn’t from the South and it didn’t contain pork inside but instead it had minced chicken and generous prawn pieces inside.
The next dish was a bit of a let down as the calamari was slightly on the dry and rubbery side. I wasn’t quite sure of the plum dipping sauce either as it was too thick and sweet.
Roll your own rice paper rolls is a fun fare at the dinner table, add in cook your meat at the table and it’s an instant party! I can never get the perfect rolled rice paper roll but it’s very fun attempting. A hot plate is brought to the table and slices of beef are poured on sizzling. Accompaniments includes fresh herbs, rice noodles, lettuce, pickled carrots and radish and fried lemongrass pieces.
This was the last to dish to come and I was stuffed. I only tried a little and this salad is quite refreshing to eat on a hot summer’s day with the lime dressing against the slightly cooked beef. My friend told me the sesame crackers are not fried but popped in the microwave to crisp up. Me thinks it’s a heathy version of prawn crackers, me likey!
I will be back to Thanh Binh to try more Vietnamese dishes as I see some interesting items such as Vietnamese steam boat and crispy master stock pork belly salad!
Thanh Binh on King
111 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
Open for dinner from Tues – Thur (5:30pm – 10:00pm), Fri (5:30pm – 11pm).
Open for lunch & dinner on the weekend (12:00pm – 10:00pm)