Sep 26, 2010

Huong Xua, Cabramatta. Contraband Hair Clasps.

Wasn't today's sunny weather Glorious, Sydneysiders?

By breakfast time, it was clear that today was not going to be a day wasted indoors.  An adventure was in order.  It was exciting enough opening a new jar of jam but I was also figuring out how to get to Cabramatta for lunch.  

Perhaps using google maps would have been easier but I need an actual map to turn upside down and to the side so I  can really orientate myself.

The jam is delicious by the way, fruity,  not too sweet and has a thicker consistency.  It was handmade on a farm in Somerset and is part of the Prince of Wales' initiatives in organic farming.  I am not sure if Camilla is a fan but if she isn't, she should be.  I got mine from Simon Johnson.

I had more strawberries for morning tea.  This time from Coles where fresh strawberries are going cheap at $3 for 2 punnets.  I had wholesome ambitions of chopping those strawberries for a smoothie.  Then I opened the fridge and found some left over champagne, as you do.  A spontaneous strawberry cocktail was born.

Then I got to work on my mission to eat my way through Cabramatta.  I was inspired by Lorraine's post from last year on her blog Not Quite Nigella (if you don't read NQN on a regular basis, you are missing out) where she wrote about an impressive day tour of Cabramatta involving no less than 9 restaurants.  Lorraine, it was a legendary effort and sadly, we were no match, managing to only have one lunch and dessert today.

With Mr SSG driving the SSG mobile.  As Mr SSG casually noted, it's nearly done 100 000 km which means that we get to go car shopping soon.  It will be hard to say goodbye to my car, it's been with me for so many important moments of my adult life, it's been my constant companion for 6 years.  Triple J was our sound track.  I've only just rediscovered the Js this week.  It's been way too long since I tuned in.  It's a welcome change to the commercial FM stations at the moment and has introduced me to some exciting and new (for me) music. I do miss the days of Maynard and Michael Tunn though.

By the time we arrived, Cabraramatta was heaving.  The car parks were filling fast.

It was almost like being in Asia - there was a Hong Kong Shopping Plaza, a Lucky Plaza (memories of Singapore) and the scent of good food being cooked.

There was a festival atmosphere in the air.  Celebrations for the Moon Festival occurred last weekend.

Today, families, couples and gaggles of teenagers were enjoying the sun and in search of Sunday lunch and groceries.

Local women set up their own stalls in the mall area.

As seen on TV but unfortunately, I didn't have any room for the custard cakes.

Red lanterns and a sausage sizzle.

We found Huong Xua, 2 John St, Cabramatta, tel:9755 0388.

All the tables were full just before noon but turnover was quick and we were soon seated.

I didn't need a menu, I had the Not Quite Nigella blog post open and my mind was made up.  I was going to have the bun nem, fried spring rolls with noodles.

The fresh green walls mirrored the generous serves of mint, basil and lettuce that accompanied all of our dishes.

To start, Mr SSG and I shared some cray fish cakes.  I like how the Vietnamese serve fried food with large amounts of salad and zingy sauces.

Crayfish cakes.

The fish sauce based dipping sauce also featured lightly pickled vegetables.  There was a second sauce that was a deep purple colour and tasted of prawns.  It was only when we had eaten that I passed by other tables of diners and saw that the 2 sauces are actually mixed together to taste.   I should have asked in the first place.

The bun nem were delicious.  Not greasy and generously filled with pork mince.  This was a very popular choice at lunch today.  The rolls are made with rice paper rather than the spring roll skins favoured by the Chinese.  It was filling and suprisingly light.  I did some strange things involving wrapping lettuce leaves around pieces of spring roll.  It was a very tactile meal.

Bun nem, fried spring rolls filled with pork mince and served with salad and vermicelli.

There was a choice of additional sauces including soy, hoi sin and chilli.

There was a thermos of hot tea at the ready on the table too.  It was perfectly acceptable to pour  a little on the table and wipe it down with the tissues or you could drink it.

Mr SSG had beef and vermicelli soup.

Huong Xua on Urbanspoon

Well nourished, we began to explore the city.

Flowers for sale.

A bewildering array of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The city gate at the mall.

"The world is for us to share and to respect".

There were many stone sculptures in the city centre.  Many were of animals and relate to the astrological signs of the Lunar calender.

There 8 Ingredients Dessert (or 3 for a smaller up) involves your choice of an array of beans, jellies and canned fruits that are served on ice with a little syrup.

8 ingredient dessert.

There was too much choice.  I played safe by opting out entirely.  I had a coconut jelly instead - a cup of jelly with a thin layer of coconut cream on top.

The coconut jellies are the white topped desserts to the right.

No trip to Asia is complete without bargains and here are mine.  Let's call these my no name hair clasps which happen to bear designs very similar to others that the discerning readership of this blog will find familiar.  I found them at one of the beauty wholesalers in Cabramatta.  The white clip was around $8 and the beige was $7.


  1. the weather here was great too! it made me so happy.

    in other news, japan is out. SG, HK and KL are in. i figure i've had enough winter and wasn't up for japan in the cold!


  2. I was in Cabra this morning too! And like you, took a picture of that "The world is for us to share and to respect" gate. Love Cabra - it feels like a different world there.

  3. I am amused. My mother went to Cabra today too!
    I really like Cabramatta, great atmosphere. x

  4. you have inspired me to go on a foodventure this Friday :)
    thank you.
    your blog is awesome x

  5. She Wore It Well: sounds like great holiday choices.

    foodwink: it's a great gate. I had great fun too.

    Lanelle Elizabeth: it was perfect Cabra weather.

    Carly: do tell all in your blog.

    SSG xxx

  6. OH, posts like this make me SO homesick for the Big Smoke. I just LOVE Vietnamese food. Note to self: visit Cabramatta soon!

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  7. Cabramatta has such a great atmosphere!....not to mention the food...YUMMO.


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