Friday, October 4, 2013

Tan Viet Noodle House: The cult of crispy skin chicken

It's been named the best of its breed. It elicits drooling at the mere sight, sound and particularly smell. It inspires pilgrimages out west to Cabramatta. The signature crispy skin chicken at Tan Viet Noodle House is a dish of cult status, and deservedly so.

Crispy skin chicken with tomato rice at Tan Viet Noodle House, John Street, Cabramatta
We've hit Tan Viet Noodle House for a late lunch post shopping in the fun and curiosity-filled arcades off John Street. It seems the way to go actually, because there were no waiting queues and many free tables at 3.30pm in the colourful and surprisingly spacious restaurant.

The menu isn't overwhelmingly huge, but with the crispy skin chicken options laid out on the first page, there's barely a need to go further.

Crispy skin chicken with egg noodles in soup
The crispness of the glistening, burnished chicken skin is something that makes you smile – it's paper thin and cracks audibly on bite. Its taste is pure chicken skin, with the fat layers often found on chicken thighs completely rendered.

And meanwhile, the chicken flesh beneath the glorious skin remains moist and juicy, enhanced by a dunk into the nuoc mam chilli dipping sauce on the side, and for me, a touch of hot English mustard.

The egg noodle option includes a huge bowl of thin, yellow noodles in soup with wilted lettuce and shallots, served with a pile of raw bean sprouts and fresh herbs, with chilli and hoisin sauces as condiments.

Crispy skin chicken with tomato rice and pickles
I opt to have my crispy skin chicken maryland with orange-red-hued tomato rice, with the set also coming with refreshing pickled cabbage and carrot, and a bowl of clear soup.

Black herbal duck with egg noodles
There are options aside from the crisp skin chicken, if you can resist the allure of that skin. The dramatic black herbal duck is a particularly enticing menu item, also offered as an egg noodle option.

The duck maryland is poached with dried shiitake mushrooms and a heady array of Asian herbs and spices, with the distinct flavour of anise. Fall-apart soft and quite rich, the duck sits atop a stack of dry egg noodles with fresh coriander, while a dark herbal broth, that has to be good for you, is served alongside.

With hordes of diners worshipping at the cult of crispy skin chicken, this is one ritual pilgrimage I can happily incorporate into my life.

Tan Viet Noodle House on Urbanspoon


gaby @ lateraleating said...

Now I'm craving crispy skin chicken... mmmm...

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Apparently they've recently added an outpost at Eastwood or Epping...trying to remember which haha!

Tina @foodfortina said...

I really like the crispy chicken they have here, but the rice/noodles/etc that came with it was really quite bland (the noodles came with simple stock and the usual greens, the tomato rice was drier than normal rice), but then again the star of the dish is the chicken.

Definitely would only come back for the chicken :)

Cindy (A Foodie's Joy) said...

The chicken looks so delicious!

john | heneedsfood said...

I've had the pleasure of eating this fab chicken on a Cabra visit a couple of years ago. Something tells me I'd eat it more often if I lived closer!

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

It is great crispy chicken. A must for me when I make the trek out to Cabra.

thesuzchef said...

Yuuuuuum. Should not read food blogs at 6.30 in the morning because it makes me crave things that are just not suitable for breakfast!

I've never ventured past the chicken at Tan Viet, but the duck looks particularly good!

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

there is a branch in the neighbouring suburb of canley heights too - just as consistent! Tanh Viet also make the best bo luc lac (shaking beef) and no one has done it quite the same. You want pepper, they'll give you pepper!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

been once and was hooked on that crispy skin, definitely need to make another trip there!!

Tina said...

Hi gaby - So am I...!

Hi Rita - A little closer...

Hi Tina - The chicken was definitely the star of my meal - I don't even remember the tomato rice.

Hi Cindy - It sure was!

Hi John - Same, so perhaps it's a good thing that we don't live closer...?

Hi Sara - It's going to be hard not to want this every time I'm in Cabra now.

Hi thesuzchef - Yeah, the duck was actually very good; great depth of flavours.

Hi Tina - I don't remember seeing that on the menu. That said, I didn't really look past the crispy skin chicken options.

Hi Vivian - Best skin ever.

Jamal Mohamed said...

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