A city riddled with drugs and crime, Cabramatta was a dreaded destination by many. Drugs sold in every corner, homeless junkies, Asian gangs ran rampant. It seemed hopeless.
Until one man, decided to give special powers to Police to destroy the disease that plagues this town.
A decade on, the prominent gang that ran Cabramatta has dissolved into smaller branches. Only to be never heard from again. There are no more syringe and junkies lying in the street.
This is Cabramatta now.
But, this post is not about the history of Cabramatta, let's focus on what we always come here for.
Cabramatta has flourished into a food mecca, which everyone visits to eat fine, delicious, traditional Vietnamese food. If you know what we know, you will know, that we know that, you only come to Cabramatta to eat Vietnamese food.
Today we ate at this really ran down Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant which my partner's dad always go to. He always recommends it but we never actually go. Maybe it's the decaying, antic decor or it's the loud owner and staff that makes us think twice of eating there.
Nevertheless, today, we were brave enough to try it. It's called Dong Son.
The sign says Chinese take away, I don't think the dish they serve Pho Dac Biet is Chinese.
Stepping inside the restaurant took me back in time, to an old Asian restaurant back in the 70's. It looks like the place has been neglected for years.
Chairs that used to be white has turned into a dark yellowish color. The white walls have black streaks running through it, skirting were moulded, it was not a pleasant environment.
I could not understand how this place gets so pack during service.
The food came out, ordered this combination noodle with pork.
I did not like how it was very wet, too much sauce, the vegetables and noodle were swimming in it. I would have liked just a little bit of it.
The noodles had that wok hei flavor, the Chinese broccoli had some bite, the sauce was lacking in seasoning. But you eat this all together with the noodle tastes quite good.
What my partner ordered was really good though. She opted for a rice dish which was Diced Beef.
The beef was actually deep fried, it felt real crispy and it was yum. Another thing I loved was the soup that accompany the dish. It was a Pork broth with seaweed and pigs liver.
This soup reminded me of my time up in the mountains of Philippines helping my grandfather farm back when I was only 10 year old. It was porky in flavor, no msg, the seaweed added some umami and it was lightly salted. It was perfect, I loved it.
You also get sauces for your rice dish.
You get the Peanut sauce, lemon juice and fresh chilies. The lemon juice you need to add a bit of pepper and there is one ready to be used on the table.
I left that restaurant not feeling satisfied so I went to buy pork roll just down the road.
The saving grace of this restaurant was those diced beef that my partner ordered and that exquisite broth that made me reminisce farming back in the country. After a hard days work, we would go home to a traditional soup made by my Grandma.
Will I be coming back here again? Yes, but I will be staying away from that Combination noodle and will be trying rice dishes from this place.