South Morang has a penchant for tucking Vietnamese restaurants in places you’d never look. Like some twisted Easter Egg Hunt, but without any eggs, and no Easter. In our exploration for food in the area, we see, perched on the corner of a mish-mash of shops, facing the dead-end side of the goliath handy-man chain Masters: Viet Chopsticks.
Despite the fact that 50% of the place is nothing but window facing the carpark and an empty paddock, they’ve managed to make the interior relatively warm. The decor is what you’d expect: classic Vietnamese cafe-style, numbered tables, relatively tidy, a nice painting here and there, and a random bit of French Provincial throw in for good measure.
For those of you who follow our blog, you know I’m half-Vietnamese and nobody’s food is as good a my momma’s. But since my momma is a half a world away, I need to give some allowance to other people’s momma’s and poppa’s. Thankfully, the folks at Viet Chopsticks are sticking to their roots as closely as possible without compromising flavour too much.
Hubby started off with the Mixed Spring Rolls ($8.00), which were a pot lock of prawn, pork and chicken rolls. Satisfied with their flavour and impressed with the Nước Chấm dipping sauce – which still retained all the strong flavours of sweet, salty, sour and spicy chilli (and not watered down like a lot of places do) – he said, “I think this place stands a chance to be really good“. The Combination Fried Rice ($9.00) was solid, nothing to write home about but nothing you wouldn’t finish off.
My Rice Vermicelli with Vegetarian Spring Rolls ($9.50) were chocked full of ingredients and was only a handful short of perfection! If they’d just toss just a bit more of those herbs (mint, basil, chives, etc) I love so much – it would make all the difference in the flavour.
So okay, these guys are actually a Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant, which will explain how I ended up with the very Chinese-eee dish Crispy Beancurd with Salt & Pepper ($12.50). Crunchy on the outside, the seasoning was semi-sweet and tasty, yet it wasn’t anything like we’d expected from what we thought would be a dryer Salt & Pepper dish. But it was nice, if you like that sticky semi-sweetness in your food.
Now this is when things get serious(ly good!). We ordered the Vietnamese Vegetarian Salad ($12.00) which we thought would be a type of shredded cabbage coleslaw but was nothing of the like! Shredded cos lettuce, tendrils of sliced cucumber and (maybe) celery, slivers of carrot, fried shallots and crushed peanuts doused with their on-par Nước Chấm made me do an inner Vietnamese kid happy dance! So while it wasn’t quite what we expected, the combination of textures and flavours made up for it ten-fold!
In short, it’s a solid Vietnamese (+Chinese) restaurant in South Morang. With an incredibly friendly family of staff and massive range of affordable options for both carnivores and herbivores, make sure to give them a try!
Address: Shop 3, 2 Murdoch Road, South Morang, VIC 3752
Tip! If you’re at Masters, then yes, you found them! Just drive around the back-side of that oblong satellite building and you’ll see them on the corner!