If I died tomorrow I’d want the last thing I ate to be Bun Bo Xao. No, not a cake. Vietnamese food. I am addicted. My idea of the perfect meal is a big bowl of beefy lemon grass, fish sauce goodness, followed by a taro pearl milk tea from Easy Way (Yes, I’m also addicted to Easy Way. I’ve passed this addiction onto The Boy. Stop judging me).
(I'm always oddly entertained by the cutlery and condiments on tables at Asian restaurants. Orange chopsticks to match the decor, and three different types of chilli sauce, for the not-so-easily pleased)
I’m lucky enough to have an amazing Vietnamese restaurant just around the corner from my workplace. It’s bright orange and makes great Bun Bo Xao. My dear friend, Cat, is my tutor is everything Vietnamese. One day while eating at the orange restaurant Cat mentions to me “You realise this place also has a branch in Bankstown?”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
This revelation is very dangerous. Prior to this exact moment I had been traveling to Hurstville to get my fix, now it was a measly 5 to 10 minutes from my front door (depending on traffic).
So off went The Boy and I one raining Sunday night. Turn the corner and just up ahead I see the bright orange exterior shinning like a beacon of delicious hope! It does have an actual name - Gia Hoi. But everyone knows it as the orange restaurant.
(Fresh rice paper rolls with shredded pork. 4 pieces, $7)
Super hungry, we order an entree and main each. Fresh rice paper rolls with shredded pork to start. Personally I don’t think they have enough pork and the texture is a bit gritty for my liking, but The Boy is sold, gobbling up my share.
(Braised beef rice vermicelli salad - Bun Bo Xao. $9)
Of course I ordered the braised beef rice vermicelli salad. This comes with a fabulous fish sauce dressing called Nuoc Cham. It’s a common dipping sauce accompanying many vietnamese dishes. It consists of one part lemon/lime, one part fish sauce, one part sugar, two parts water, chilli and garlic. When served with Bun, shredded carrot is added.
It’s not normally spicy or hot, but the Bankstown branch seems to serve theirs with a little bit more chilli, which is fine by me particularly on this cold, dreary night.
(Crispy skin chicken)
The Boys crispy skin chicken egg noodle soup arrives without the chicken. I assure him the chicken is served separately and it will arrive shortly, but he is very hungry so he starts slurping down soup and noodles by itself.
(Crispy skin chicken with egg noodle soup. $8)
He enjoys the chicken, but maintains that the soup is a little tasteless. I did suggest on arrival that he get the pho - a beef broth soup that is so tasty I wouldn't mind swimming in a giant vat of it.
In contrast to Haymarket, the Bankstown branch is a little bit cheaper, but just as tasty. The sizes are super generous, so we roll ourselves out of the orange haze and head off for coffee with friends. Perfect Sunday night.
Gia Hoi Vietnamese
299 Chapel Rd St
Bankstown 2200 NSW
Phone: (02) 9796 3388