Friday, January 18, 2013

Gia Hoi: Vietnamese in the 'burbs

Sydney is blessed with suburbs like Cabramatta, Bankstown and Marrickville for Vietnamese food and restaurant options. But it's almost as if Vietnamese restaurants are the new Thai restaurants, popping up in all sorts of suburban streets in recent years.

Crispy skin chicken with tomato rice from Gia Hoi, Chapel Road, Bankstown
With the plethora of options in Bankstown, we relied on someone in the know to lead us to the garishly magenta-lit insides of Gia Hoi, just off the main road.

All the favourite Vietnamese dishes are here and I couldn't resist the crispy skin chicken, served with salad and a yellow-red hued tomato rice.

The rice wasn't spectacular but the insanely crisp shattering skin of the chicken, with moist, tender flesh beneath, made up for any rice regrets.

Grilled pork chop
Another easy choice is the grilled pork chop, which comes with a choice of noodle or rice sides. The slightly (and nicely) fatty pork is incredibly tender and full of hours of marinated flavour.

Noodles on the side
The dry noodles served with the pork chop were obscured by a range of generous toppings: fresh and fried shallots, bean sprouts, raw onion and more, with a sweet dipping sauce on the side.

Fillings for rice paper rolls
The most exciting dish this time round was the mixed platter of fillings that arrived with a bowl of water, for fresh rolled rice paper rolls.

Watching and learning, the round rice paper gets a light dip into the bowl of water before being laid on a plate and filled with vermicelli noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs and one of the protein fillings: spring rolls, sugarcane prawns, grilled pork and beef slices.

They're then delicately rolled up and consumed immediately with more dipping sauce. It's not the most simple of dishes but certainly easy to polish off a platter among three.

So here's a trend prediction: the continuing popularisation of Vietnamese cuisine, especially out in the 'burbs where casual eateries like Gia Hoi thrive by doing what they've always done.

Gia Hoi on Urbanspoon


Jacq said...

I love DIY rice paper rolls, especially when there's such a range of fillings to choose from!

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

The best cripsy skinned chicken I've had is at Gia Hoi @ Canley Heights (i havent tried any other branches actually). They never disappoint me. I dont know if its just me but I feel vietnamese food has always been a plenty, but I suppose thats because i live in the west. lol

gaby @ lateraleating said...

I love Vietnamese food but haven't gone outside my "comfort zone" (Inner West) yet. I should head to Bankstown one day.

john@heneedsfood said...

I know Bankstown is a mere train ride away for me but somehow it's a place in this town I'd never consider going to for a meal. Perhaps things should change.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

It definitely feels like Vietnamese is becoming as popular as Thai was a few years ago!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Yum! I love DIY rice paper rolls, and the filling they give you looks pretty delish :) don't think many places give you so many filling options!

Tina said...

Hi Jacq - I love Vietnamese spring rolls; I always try to get that first!

Hi Tina - Ooh, I wonder if they're the same branch because this one was pretty darn good! I'm not so close to Bankstown/Cabra, but Marrickville is closer so I have no excuse really.

Hi gaby - As above, you've got Marrickville! But Bankstown is kind of novel fun for me :)

Hi John - But there's some of the best pho in town there...!

Hi Lorraine - I hope so as it feels relatively healthy :)

Hi Vivian - Yeah, the variety here was great and luckily no one to fight with me over the spring roll!

Milktea Eats said...

ive heard so much about this place and its been on my lit for a while! shall go soon!


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