Xuan Banh Cuon, 232 Hampshire Road, Sunshine. Phone: 0422 810 075
Regular Consider The Sauce readers may be familiar already with Xuan Banh Cuon.
The restaurant’s signature dish, pork and prawn banh cuon, was chosen as one of the inaugural winners of the Westies: Dishes Of Distinction, the exciting western suburbs food awards initiated by Consider The Sauce and Lauren Wambach of Footscray Food Blog.
See Westies stories here, here and here, and Lauren’s review here.
Since then, we’ve become regulars.
It’s fair to say Xuan Banh Cuon is our go-to Vietnamese joint in Sunshine and perhaps the entire west.
We love the points of difference, the friendly welcome, the freshness and diversity of the food – and its healthiness.
I’ve eaten a good deal of banh cuon there by now, and really enjoyed some of the other dishes, too.
I’ve loved the red specialty noodles with prawn, pork and homemade fishcake.
And the bun thit nuong (vermicelli with chargrilled pork) is a sinful delight.
There’s still plenty of scope for CTS to explore here, but on the occasion of our first actual review of this splendid establishment, I’d like to rave about the spring rolls.
More specifically, the northern-style spring rolls with vermicelli (top photo).
These rolls are quite different from the familiar spring rolls served in Vietnamese places all over the West.
We’ve all had plenty of them – and enjoyed them.
But the contrast with these beauties is stark indeed, so great are they in terms of textural and flavour delight.
In order to nail the details, Carson, Nathan and other members of the Xuan Banh Cuon extended family who happen to be present gather around me for a round-table discussion.
The casings are made of rice and called banh trang. We settle on “rice glass” as an acceptable English variation.
They’re delicate and slightly crunchy.
Inside the rolls are bean shoots, mushroom, glass noodle, carrot, pork and prawn.
Sounds so simple, nothing too flash, eh?
The eating tells a very different story.
Especially when the rolls are mixed in with the chilli dressing/sauce and the gathered herbage.
If you order pho at Xuan Banh Cuon – and you can – you will get the usual and familiar accessories.
Order spring rolls, banh cuon or thit nuong, though, and you’ll get a much more lively and diverse mix – including lots of mint and coriander.