Getting to Marrickville is a relatively straight forward exercise from my neck of the woods. Two train stops or an approximate half hour walk, depending on what part of it you need to get to. On this particular Sunday it took over an hour. I don’t blame it on the expected; traffic or delayed trains. You see, the original plan was to have lunch down in Rockdale but my choice of venue was closed for the Christmas/New Year period, as we discovered on arrival way back then. Bugger. My back-up plan was to visit a deli in Kogarah but after walking for 15 minutes from Rockdale we find it closed, along with 90% of Kogarah. You’ve got to be kidding me! The Coffee Club, Oporto’s and the local fish & chip shop just weren’t options I was happy with; and we were hungry when we left home.
We grab the next train heading back towards the city and get off at Sydenham, walk up Marrickville Road and settle on this little joint. Huong Giang. More than three years have passed since our last visit and from memory it wasn’t all that bad. A couple of Vietnamese iced milk coffee’s ($3.5) cool us down and a few plates of food settle the nagging stomach. Cút rang muoi ($12), or quail in spicy salt, is the kind of food you can only get stuck into with your fingers. If someone tried using chopsticks here I’d probably laugh at them. The two halves of the petite bird are dusted in flour before tossed in hot oil to produce that glorious golden crunch. The little wings are even crunchy enough to eat along with the meat; a bit dry in places but nothing close to being severely overcooked.
Something along the same lines was tom xao rang muoi ($17), king prawns in spicy salt. While the quails had more salt and pepper and no chill, the prawns had the addition of five spice. These little fella’s were perfection. About twelve king prawns dusted in flour and spices before hitting the fryer. Incredibly juicy and loaded with flavour. Be sure to squeeze the lemon wedge into the mixture of salt and pepper for that extra flavour hit.
The com tam ($14) at Huong Giang is ok but not as great as some I’ve tried. Otherwise known as combination broken rice, it’s a medley of nem chua (cured pork cake with rind, fish sauce, lots of garlic & other tidbits), fried egg, pork chop, pickled veg and bi (shredded pork skin mixed with ground rice & a few other things). I round the meal up with a little sugar in the form of che ba mau ($4), a tri-colour drink made using sweetened red azuki beans, coconut cream, shaved ice and green rice flour “worms”.
Aahh, that’s better. Rubbing belly now.