Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thanh Mai - Canley Heights

For dinner one night, our church friends decided to all venture out to our english pastor's "hood" - Canley Vale. Being Vietnamese, our pastor took care of all the ordering. Some of us had drinks - avocado shakes, durian shakes, custard apple shakes, and my awesome iced coffee. I only tried the avocado shake (and none of the others). It was creamy and sweet, apparently comprised of loads of avocado, ice and condensed milk. My iced coffee was strong and sweet - just the way I like it :)

avocado shake
iced coffee

Foodwise, we had to try some traditional Viet cuisine. There was the sour fish hot pot. This was really really yummy. Fresh live fish (tasted like Perch or Silver Bream) which was to be immersed in a sour soup made from pineapple, tamarind and tomato. The water spinach, bean sprouts and okra were thrown in with the mix. All up, the fish was super super yummily fresh - you take it out after it's done and dunk it into fish sauce to eat. The soup was an interesting mix of sweet, savoury and sour. The Viet way is to have the soup with your rice. I think I'm too honky for this... I like my soup by itself. The soup was strong, but in quite a nice way :)

sour fish hot pot

Another Viet traditional dish was the caramelised fish hot pot. Again, super fresh fish was chopped up and cooked in a bubbling caramelised sauce which was sweet sweet sweet. You can see the flame surrounding the pot... you let it sizzle until the flame goes and then the caramelisation just fills your whole mouth! A must have sauce!!! (and fish!!!) Deliciousness!

caramelised fish in clay pot

The other dishes, though under the guise of "Viet food" are pretty much found in your normal Asian repertoire. There was the salt and pepper squid which was crunchy and golden and chewy and tasty and everything! The garlicy chilli deep fried lemony seasoning made the dish very much appetising.

salt and pepper squid

There was also pork chops which was coated in some sweet marinade which was tender and tasty enough.

pork chops

We also had a plate of lemon grass chicken. The chicken was kind of dry but immersed in epic flavour. The meat was so chewy that our pastor questioned whether or not it was crocodile meat. It tasted like chicken though... but then again, crocodile probably tastes like chicken too LOL.

lemon grass chicken

The seafood tofu hotpot was average. A good mix of calamari, fish, prawn, mushrooms and veges. Twas average.

seafood hot pot

All up - the two fish dishes (the sour soup and caramelised fish) were definitely the winners. YUM!

Food - 8/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Thanh Mai
252 Canley Vale Road
Canley Heights
NSW 2166
Tel: (02) 9726 6883

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