Having family down from Brisbane always excites me a tad so when Big Bro & his better half decided to book a flight and spend a weekend in the big smoke I knew it would be time spent eating, exploring and more eating. He’s as passionate about food as I am and the only difference is that he doesn’t babble on about and photograph it to the world like I do.
Cabramatta was definitely on the cards soon after they even booked their flights as I was well overdue for a revisit and the pair of them, especially the brother, was eager to see what all the fuss was about after getting a preview here and there. I think the closest thing, correct me if I’m wrong, Brisbane has to Cabramatta is Inala with its central shopping centre brimming with Vietnamese grocers, butchers and eateries.
I had it all planned to sit for a sumptuous feast at one of the more popular restaurants in Cabra when everything changed as soon as we walked through the central sprawling carpark in the area and noticed a yum cha restaurant upstairs on Hughes Street. A quick Google made us none the wiser so we go in for a closer look and find a bustling restaurant seeped with locals and glorious steamers being trundled between the tables. Ok, forget the Vietnamese plan, we’re having yum cha. And to my surprise they were both yum cha virgins.
My question of how a yum cha restaurant can have a Vietnamese name is yet to be answered but if I can compare the food to my more recent outing at The Eight in Chinatown I can confidently say the yum cha in general was a step above. The prawn in seaweed as it was simply described in very broken English by one of the trolley queens was nothing short of divine. A central core of seafood extender, love the stuff, surrounded by prawn flesh, wrapped in nori, very lightly battered and snap-fried. I wasn’t the only one at this particular round table feeling the tingles.
Another favourite had to be the eggplant and tofu bits topped with minced prawn, also lightly fried and slashed before being doused in a glorious salty and oily sauce with chilli and spring onion. We didn’t go for the classic egg custard tarts and instead tried the fried pastry balls the trolly queen called “sugar” (she spoke as much English as I did of her dialect) and what we actually had was a trio of almost choux pastry-like balls of fried dough doused in coarse sugar. The absolute winner had to be the mango pancakes – soft, unnaturally golden and generously filled with fresh vanilla cream and strips of tinned mango. Amazingly good.
A constantly full restaurant and queue at the door must say something!