Made up of 50 provinces, there’s three distinct areas of Vietnamese cuisine; the North, Central Highlands and South. Influenced for centuries by various different colonial visitors, you’ll find Chinese influences in the North, Thai influences in the South and a blend of the two styles in the Centre of Vietnam. The classic Banh Mi nods to the French colonial settlement, along with the immensely popular Pho dish, which borrows its spices and stock methods from Chinese and French cooking. Typical ingredients used in Vietnamese cooking include fish sauce, sugar and rice, which are similar to its neighbours Thailand and Cambodia, although it tends to be lighter, less spicy and fresh.
If there’s one thing Perth City has no shortage of, it’s amazing Vietnamese food, here’s where to find it:
Brisbane Street, Northbridge
For a fresh and fast lunch stop, Trah Vinh
is well-priced and has a special knack for making a particularly delicious Vietnamese noodle salad. To up the level of authenticity, skip the western coffee for a Vietnamese one instead. Known as cà phê đá or cafe da, it’s made by drip filtering grinds over sweetened condensed milk.
William Street, Northbridge
Not far from Trah Vinh you’ll find Viet Hoa
marked by big red letters and a significantly larger dining hall, you’ll find big round tables of people having a cheap and cheerful meal before a show or a night out. Popular dishes are Pho (of course), along with their rice vermicelli noodle salad tossed with mint, carrot and chopped spring rolls.
Milligan Street, Perth
You might not know it by looking at the modern interior of Mama Tran
, but it has a long and interesting history behind it. Born in the 1930’s, Khuu Ti Gioi (affectionately known as Mama Tran), fled the Vietnam war with her husband and opened a little grocery store upon arriving in Perth to support their ten children. She’s been making Banh Mi to support her family for 30 years and today, she’s the matriarch of 28 grandchildren. Her family recipes are still being served up at Mama Tran’s today and you can almost taste the love.