It is not hard to see why Tan Viet Noodle House is one of the most popular restaurants to check out in Cabramatta or why their crispy chicken with egg noodles is regarded as one of the best in Sydney. For me, Tan Viet is one of those restaurants that I have regularly went to and loved since I was around 11 or 12. Since Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta is currently on SBS, I thought it will be benefitting to try out one of the places I went back when it wasn't known for its Vietnamese food addiction...
That's what they said...
When I first went to Tan Viet, it was not in its currant location on John St near Hughes St but it was in fact an even smaller (very small in fact!) restaurant inside Cabramatta City Centre near the middle of John Street. My parents took me there back when I was a fussy eater. I still remember how hard it is to get to some of the seats because it was such a tiny place back then. Imagine the queues! It was a good decision for them to move to the more spacious building where it currently stands. But enough about the history!
On this occasion, I went to Tan Viet with Mum because I did not feel like pho. It was also a pretty hot day. The place wasn't too busy since we came a bit after midday but it was busy enough that we had to share tables with a couple of strangers. We didn't mind of course.
Clockwise: Bean sprouts, fish sauce with chilli (nuoc cham), lemon wedges
The decor and layout is what you would expect at most Vietnamese restaurants with chopstickss and cutley bundling together for anyone to grab when needed along with soy sauce and spices. After ordering our meals, we were given complimentary plates of bean sprouts, nuoc cham and lemon wedges. Mum and I agreed to share the chicken because it usually is a decent serving for one person.
Crispy skin chicken with tomato rice (com ga chien da don)
Tan Viet's signature dish is the crispy chicken with egg noodles (dry/soup). On most occasions, I get the chicken with tomato rice. This version is just as good as the noodles. What makes this version better than the ones at other Vietnamese restaurants? The chicken was soft in the inside yet so crispy. It was alot crispier than the other variations I have tried previously which is also helped with the incredibly juicy meat. It is no wonder they offer big servings of the chicken. You just cannot stop eating them! The rice is also well cooked which is good because I am not a fan of soggy rice. This is served with carrots and cabbage on the side which is actually pretty spicy. I would recommend to eat these sides if you can handle your chilli.
Egg noodles with coriander, shallots, salad, fried garlic and sauce
Mum had a few pieces of my chicken along with the dry egg noodles that are always paired up with the crispy chicken. I had some of the noodles to try out since I usually have the rice. You can see why customers always choose to get the egg noodles with crispy chicken over rice, glass noodles. The noodles are made fresh and have a nice saucy bite. Unlike the rice, the noodles are mixed with coriander, shallots, salad, fried garlic and apparently some kind of sauce. It tasted a bit like fish sauce. One tiny quirk was how ridiculously long the noodles were and how hard it can be to cut them.
Very long noodles!
After all that starch and meat, it was good that a bowl of clear soup with coriander and green onion is served with the dry noodles. Mum suggested to add lemon to the soup which made it taste alot better.
Soybean milk (Sua dau nanh)
By the end, the restaurant was getting incredibly packed. While the service was a bit average, it is the food that is the most important at these restaurants. It is also inexpensive as the total amount was around $21. Was it one of the places that made Cabramatta become one of the food capitals of Sydney of today? Perhaps it helped with that outcome. However I can say that as of now, I still can't get enough of their crispy chicken!
Tan Viet Noodle House
100 John Street, Cabramatta
Contact no: 02 9727 6853