I'm a beginning writer with a Brisbane Bucket-list and a desire to see it all and report back.
Published August 24th 2014
Where the locals eat
Hidden away in multicultural Inala is recently renovated Tan Thanh, the best Vietnamese restaurant I have eaten at outside of Vietnam. For years my family has migrated from the North Side of Brisbane to share a plate here. Now my partner and I live around the corner, it has very quickly become our regular haunt (I won't tell you how many times I have eaten there this week… ok it's 3).
It is positioned out the back of Inala plaza, which itself is an experience to rival a trip to Vietnam. Once you step through the back doors of the more modern shopping center you are transported back in time and surrounded by what could easily fit in at a Hanoi market place. The smell of exotic fruit and delicacies is fascinating to someone dreaming of a trip back to the beautiful Vietnam.
Tan Thanh, hidden out the back of Inala Plaza
Anyway, back to the best food on the South Side... Not only is the food delicious, the staff are so speedy they would give Usain Bolt a run for his money. Before we had even walked over the threshold today, two staff gave each other this 'look.' One immediately rushed over to (one of the only) empty tables and began to clear it and by the time the other staff member had walked us over to it, it was spotless. Amazing teamwork.
Melt in your mouth Fried Chicken (number 73 on the menu)
Now it's not just my family that thinks the place is top notch. The hoards of local families who fill out the joint would suggest that Tan Thanh truly represents the flavours of Vietnam. Plus I've NEVER seen it quiet. Literally every time I've visited over the past 10 years it has been packed. But as I mentioned, the speedy staff will clear a space and have you seated in the blink of an eye.
Now I am one of those people that once they find the perfect meal they stick to it and for 10 years now I have enjoyed their DIY pork rice paper rolls. My partner however is willing to assure readers that all the other dishes are just as scrumptious. I however can't get over the fun involved and the flavours that encompass this delicious dish. It comes spread over five plates and could easily feed two-three people (its only $12 might I add).
You can enjoy this meal whilst laughing at one another over what will most likely be abysmal rice paper rolling techniques. After 10 years I still haven't perfected mine, and I always end up going through about 17 napkins. But you cannot deny that being clean and proper isn't always the most enjoyable way to be.
After 10 years I've almost perfected my rolling technique.
If you are after the glitz and glamour of a five star restaurant this isn't the restaurant to visit. BUT if you want the true tastes of Vietnam dancing on your tongue, you couldn't find a better place.