I am often asked on my Cabramatta tours where good Vietnamese food can be found outside of the Little Vietnam hubs in Cabramatta and Bankstown… Well, if you live in Sydney’s Inner West, then Nha Tranh Restaurant in Five Dock is worth checking out.
The decor is minimalistic, with appetising canvas prints of menu items.
We appreciate the generous dish of complimentary prawn crackers which I addictively munch on as I gaze over the menu of 70 plus dishes. Service is friendly and swift and before we know it, our starters of goi cuon (summer rolls, $7.90 for 4) and the canh chua tom (tamarind prawn soup, $6.90) are already on the table.
The summer rolls are finely wrapped rice paper rolls consisting of the usual prawns, pork, vermicelli, fresh mint and vegetables. The dipping sauce is topped with fresh ground chilli which we gleefully mix into the peanut and hoisin mixture.
I love the Vietnamese sour soup which has a tamarind base and finishes on a sweet note. Pieces of tomatoes, okra, pineapple, bean sprouts, prawns and herbs such as the sawtooth herb float within the fragrant broth.
The house special – soft shell crab ($19.90) – is a must order. Wok fried soft shell crab sits on a vibrant bed of pickled carrot and daikon, shavings of green mango, fresh mints and lettuce greens and is topped with a spicy salt mixture of onion, shallots, chilli and garlic. Each bite is so full of flavour.
We also give the special pork spare ribs ($15.90) a go. These succulent cuts of pork are piping hot, glazed with a delicious sticky soy and honey sauce.
Then to finish off the feast, one of my most favourite Vietnamese salads, goi ngo sen (lotus stem salad, $13.90). For a salad to have ‘lotus stem’ in its name, the proportions of these crisp pickled goodies didn’t seem just, but it was still overall a refreshing salad with lots of texture and taste. Simple, but fantastic.
I’m not used to receiving complimentary fortune cookies after a meal so am delighted when these are presented with the bill on a laquered Vietnamese plate.
I’m super keen to come back and try the phở, but for now, dinner is a definite go-er! Yum!
Nha Tranh Restaurant
213-217 Great North Road, Five Dock
Phone: (02) 9713 2188
Open for lunch, Wed – Sat 11:30am – 3pm and dinner, Mon – Sun 5:30pm – 10pm