Bun cha

Photown – a hidden gem in Alexandria

I realised recently that I hadn’t blogged for over a year! My excuse is that I had been planning my wedding for over a year, which took over my life for the most part!

Now that the wedding is done and dusted,  I will definately be more active on my blog. Will do more than take photos of food and Instagram them which is what I have been doing when I have a spare five minutes.

Let’s get on with this post shall we?

I have lived in Alexandria for almost two years now and the area has slowly but surely grown during. The opening of restaurants and cafes is something of a regular thing and now that we have our own Woolworths (major Australian supermarket), it really is classed as a proper suburb now 🙂 There is also mass construction and roadworks being carried out but that’s another story.

I had been going to Photown, my local Vietnamese restaurant, for quite awhile. Unless you went on a Saturday for lunch, you would actually miss it if you walked by, assuming that it was (permanently) closed. The decor was very basic with no real charm. The delicious food is what customers kept going back for. The reasonable prices help too. They offered both takeaway and dine in options with plenty of seating. I have walked past on occasions where there had been a long queue of people on a weekday lunch hour.

Recently, maybe a couple of months now, I had popped in there and the interior and exterior had undergone a face lift. Decor was much more charming and inviting. The food, I was relieved to discover, remained the same. I usually go for the Special Beef Pho whenever I come here and I am never disappointed.

The Food

Last week we were here for lunch on a Sunday. Yes they are open both days on the weekend for lunch now (hooray), as well as every weekday. I had been planning to get the good ol’ Pho but once there I was talked into trying their special of the day Bun Cha. The owner/manager who was out the front was really friendly, telling us about the dish. To support how delicious it was, the pork was cooking at the front on a portable grill so I just had to try it. I mean how can I not?

Bun cha
Bun Cha with all its trimmings, served in a bamboo tray

The serving is generous and the broth was both a touch sweet and salty. Best way I can describe it is like diluted fish sauce, Nuoc Mam but more complex, hard to explain. He told us that it is a traditional dish from Hanoi, Vietnam.  I have never been to Hanoi or Vietnam so I couldn’t validate the authenticity of this dish but oh my…

Bun Cha
Pork grilling out the front of restaurant.

How to eat it, how the manager explained, is to progressively drop the noodles and vegetables into the broth, the quantity to your liking before digging in. I loaded my bowl with herbs, lettuce, fresh chilli and noodles. The combination of these ingredients was amazing. I have not had anything like this before. Every bite packed a punch, in a pleasant and enjoyable way. The meatballs (nem nuong) and grilled pork were tender and it was just a well rounded meal. I managed to finish the bucket load of noodles and herbs from the bamboo tray and rolled out of there completely satisfied. Let’s hope that they keep this on the menu for good, because I would like some of that again!

It isn’t too different from the usual Bun we all know and love, just a little bit different and a tad more special with that gorgeous broth. Don’t forget to try their cold drip vietnamese iced coffee too, but be warned, its not for the faint hearted! They also sell loads of other vietnamese favourites like rice paper rolls, pork rolls, pho, rice dishes and more. Highly recommend if you are ever in the area outlet shopping or just wanting some quality vietnamese food.


94 McEvoy St, Alexandria NSW 2015

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