An ongoing fascination with suburban Chinese restaurants paid off beautifully when we discovered Mumma Phan, tucked underneath the Crystal Fountain Seafood Restaurant in Cabramatta. We were clued in by a list of Islander foods - taro, palusami – painted on the wall outside; and followed a steady stream of Islander clientele inside.
The interior of the store is roughly divided into two halves, separated by a few shelves of dry goods and some drinks fridges. On the right hand side is a café counter, offering up pineapple pie, as well as the usual range of hipster café breakfast and lunch favourites.
Amongst the menu’s açaí bowl and maple bacon burger, you’ll also find one of those breakfast towers that are currently all the rage on Instagram. It’s called Mumma’s Big Brekky To Share ($45) and arrives looking very grand, but I’m not sure I’m ready to share my eggs...
The left side of Mumma Phan’s business is even more intriguing. As well as a chalkboard offering up a range of Vietnamese banh mi, there’s a long counter of self-service hot food.
Most of the Islander clientele are loading up containers to take away, filled them to the brim with Roast Pork ($28/kilo) and sticky sweet Char Siu Pork ($28/kilo). There are also sides like Taro with Coconut Cream ($8.80/kilo) and packages of Palusami ($5/each). The latter is a tasty Samoan dish that combines young taro leaves with coconut cream, and is usually baked underground.
You’ll also find other Islander favourites like deep-fried Turkey Tails ($18/kilo) and salty Povi Masima ($16/kilo) - Samoan corned beef.
Don’t overlook the silver steaming drawers filled with savoury buns. The Pork Bun ($2.50) I tried was moist and flavoursome with a rich pork’n’gravy interior.
Our entire lunch for two people with a bottle of Kiwi soft drink favourite, L & P, came to sixteen dollars and when they heard we were eating in, they plated it up for us to share on a long wooden board for free.
It’s good enough to make me want to seek out Mumma Phan's sister store, Hong Anh in a neighbouring suburb called Heckenberg, which also specialises in Polynesian cuisine.
183 Hume Highway (enter Longfield Street), Cabramatta
Ph: (02) 8764 0855