Sydney is rightly famous for its multicultural diversity, from the first boat people to arrive, the British, right up to the current waves of refugees and immigrants Sydney is layered with small pockets of international sights, sounds and flavours.
So, with an itch to sample some fine Vietnamese street food and with a bit of spare time on my hands, I headed out to Cabramatta. A real melting pot of immigration for much of Sydneys history, Cabramatta has also been home to a surprising number of well known Australians, including former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, since the 1980’s however, it’s best been known as home to many of the cities Vietnamese people. It’s as close to being in downtown Saigon as you’re likely to get anywhere out side of Vietnam.
I’ve been a few times now and all the smells and sights remind me of our time in Vietnam, hearing the sing-song language and smelling the fresh herbs and star anise drifting through the lanes and arcades take me straight back to Saigon or Hue.
Previously I’ve driven out there and battled away with the usual traffic hassles and parking woes that comes with living in a city as large as Sydney, but this time I played it smart and caught the train. It’s quite a hike out from the city centre and you can expect to be on the go for at least an hour, but it’s still an enjoyable experience and pretty low impact, the views are, as you would expect, pretty industrial, but still it’s an enjoyable way to fill an hour in.
The train station is centrally located, right next to the main shopping district, and you can dip your toe into the street foods and sights as soon as you arrive, you try a crushed sugarcane juice or a fresh coconut ice-cream to cleanse your palate before wandering along the little arcades and side streets watching the locals go about their business.
Before long though, all those sights and smells will have your mind and stomach wondering where lunch will be, and there’s plenty of choice, from upmarket foodie trend setters to any number of little locals only cafe, I tried the very tasty and very authentic Vietnamese lunch spot Bahn Minh.