Streetfood adventures into Bankstown and Vietnamese wins the coin toss for cuisine du jour.
Lately Shawn and Alison have discovered the train line that takes you through an unbelievable food selection. Travelling from St Peters can lead you to Campsie, Punchbowl, Lakemba or all the way to Cabramatta. Today we decide to get off at Bankstown.
Most of my memories of Bankstown come from random visits in the 70's to Bankstown Square (now Centro and so huge there's a free bus from the train station). I even once sold t-shirts at a Gary Puckett comeback gig at the Sports Club, and saw one of my first ever 'proper' shows there - The Church in 1984. Shawn mostly thinks of it from the 70's move The FJ Holden.
Bankstown has changed, and it seems to be on an upward spiral with lots of urban renewal and streetscape enhancement. There's still a buzzy vibe from the locals, especially on a Saturday as you walk down Chapel St, also known as Saigon Place. We can't decide what or where we want to eat, until the rain sets in and we stop conveniently outside the Thanh Van.
Hu Tiue Thanh Van is a no frills Vietnamese restaurant that specialises in Hu Tieu, a distant cousin of the pho.
There are plenty of seats when you venture down the back, and the menu boards are conveniently repeated at intervals.
We start with our drinks, a iced white tea and a soda chan, with a big pile of sweet sugar at the bottom. Also served is salt, chilli and a lemon wedge to juice and mix together.
As it's getting closer to winter, we order the bread roll with stewed beef, soft cooked generous hunks of beef with melt in your mouth carrots and a big serve of fragrant herbs on top. The lemon salty chilli mix goes with this. A typical Vietnamese style crunchy bread roll comes with it, for mopping up the sauce.
The weather also makes us feel like pork served with congee. The waiter wants to know if we like liver, and there are vigourous nods of yes so he goes away pleased. There are bits of pig innards, slices of lemongrass flavoured sausage and blocks of pork blood jelly and a few bits of fried breadstick. No shortage of iron in this dish.
The place looks like it used to be a milk bar, the decorations inside and out have that same feeling. Maybe it was when FJ Holden was filmed in 1977.
After lunch we head back to a place we spied earlier. Much to the dissapointment of the people next to us, we snaffled the last two pandan pancakes. The other takeaway dishes looked tempting as well, including fried banana, sweet corn, sago and red beans. You could also buy a sago tea for only $4.00 with a choice of up to 8 add ins. Bargain!
Let the fighting commence. Lucky we bought two of them.
Hu Tieu Thanh Van is at 327 Chapel St, Bankstown. Ph (02) 9708 2973.