Over the years, more and more Vietnamese restaurants have popped up to meet the demand of wanting a quick work lunch, a nice dinner date, or for family and friend gatherings. If you're looking for a reason to feast on fresh authentic Vietnamese food, Tet Lunar New Year is being celebrated by the Vietnamese community at Melbourne Showgrounds on February 3rd and 4th to satisfy your cravings. To explore this cuisine all year round, here is a list of top traditional Vietnamese food to try at your next restaurant.
Rice paper rolls come in different varieties of filling. The most traditional one has pork, prawns, rice noodles, and mint. It is best eaten dipped in a peanut hoi sin sauce, with a touch of sriracha chilli sauce if you like some spice.
Traditional Vietnamese spring rolls are made with minced pork, carrot, glass noodles, and mushroom wrapped in spring roll pastry. Fried until golden, they can be eaten on their own or in a combination noodle dish with a Vietnamese dressing.
3. Banh Mi
Photo: Vinaday Travel
Depending on where you buy a banh mi, you can pay as little as $5 for this take away sandwich. A crispy baguette is filled with a variety of cold meats, pickled carrot, coriander, spring onion, sliced cucumber and pâté - this is what makes it an authentic banh mi, the pâté! Of course, if there are any ingredients you don't prefer, just make your requests as they are made fresh to go. Drop into a banh mi shop and choose from a range of options including chicken, BBQ pork, and vegetarian just to name a few.
This light and fresh dish comes with your meat of choice (spring rolls/ BBQ pork balls/ pork crackling), lettuce, mint, coriander, bean sprouts, cucumber and sprinkled with crushed roasted peanuts. Drizzled over the noodles is a Vietnamese sauce made with lime, fish sauce, garlic and chilli.
A rice dish typically with grilled pork, pork loaf, fried egg, fried spring onions, pickled vegetables, and nuoc mam (Vietnamese dressing sauce). It is a very filling meal with a lot happening on the plate.
Not everyone is a fan of salad, but this is something worth ordering as an entree when at a Vietnamese restaurant. Varieties include papaya, or celery and carrot with pork and prawn, or cabbage and red onion with chicken. Tip: best eaten with prawn crackers.
Crispy pancakes made with coconut milk and tumeric are filled with pork, prawns, bean sprouts and sometimes mung beans. Make it into a roll by wrapping it in lettuce with herbs then dip it in the Vietnamese sauce. It's a dish definitely worth trying at your next visit.
10. Vietnamese Ice Coffee (Cafe Sua Da)
Finish your meal with a cold ice coffee, made with a layer of condensed milk in your glass, filtered coffee and ice. It's strong, sweet and a great drink to add a caffeine kick to a hot summer day.
With so many restaurants all over Melbourne, you're not far from enjoying Vietnamese cuisine right on your doorstep. Happy new year to everyone and may 2018 bring good health, prosperity, happiness and delicious food.
Tet Lunar New Year Event Information Cost: Free Date:Saturday 3 February 2018 - Sunday 4 February 2018 Time:11am - 10pm Dragon dancing display:Saturday at 5.30pm Fireworks: Sunday at 9.30pm Location:Melbourne Showgrounds - Epsom Road, Ascot Vale How to Get There: Free parking available on site or catch the number 57 tram (West Maribyrnong to Elizabeth Street, City) and get off at stop 32 (Showgrounds Village Shopping Centre on Epsom Road).