I’ve been to Cabramatta exactly twice in my life – once on a Gourmet Food Safari tour, and once a few months ago when I had an incredible craving for pandan waffles. It’s actually a real pity that I live so far from Cabramatta that I can’t visit more often – my family home in Melbourne is in Springvale, which is pretty much the Melbourne equivalent of Cabramatta so it’s the type of suburb that I’m most comfortable living in.
On my second visit to Cabramatta, in addition to gorging ourselves on the pandan waffles and sugarcane juice from small shops along the main street, K and I decided to eat at the restaurant with the longest line of people waiting for a table – Tan Viet Noodle House. After all, a line of people is a good sign of how good a restaurant is.
When we finally got a table and sat down, I was surprised by how short the menu really was. Unlike many other Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been to that do everything under the sun with menus of a hundred or more items, Tan Viet Noodle House has opted for the shorter and more efficient menu of a handful of specialties.
K is a big fan of their Vietnamese iced coffee (so similar to the Malaysian kopi O that he’s grown up with), and I order my standard go-to drink at a Vietnamese restaurant – the dessert slash drink of ‘three colour drink’. This version is slightly different to what I’m used to, with mushier red beans and the inclusion of peanuts topping the drink. It’s surprisingly good though, with the peanuts adding some much-needed texture to the dessert/drink.
K opts for the Crispy Chicken, which is clearly the crowd favourite judging by the meals on neighbouring tables. He orders it with egg noodles which comes out in a clear but tasty chicken broth. The crispy skin chicken is simply superb – the skin is paper thin, and the meat underneath is firm and moist. It’s a beautiful colour as well, and simply presented. I struggle to keep myself from devouring K’s whole portion of crispy chicken!
I order my standard go-to meal of Vietnamese Broken Rice. To saw that I regretted this choice would be a stretch – each individual element on the plate was delicious, with the grilled marinated and herbed pork chop a particular standout. However, even though it was definitely commendable as a dish on its own merits, it simply was not a patch on the crispy chicken.
Overall I rate Tan Viet Noodle House an 8 out of 10 – the service is abrupt but the crispy chicken is simply second to none. I’ve noticed that they’ve recently opened up a branch in Eastwood much closer to home – which is slightly dangerous as well, as I can see myself going every week for my crispy chicken fix!