At the end of a narrow arcade running off Chapel Street in the vicinity of Saigon Place, you’ll find Bánh Cuốn Kim Thành. This tiny eatery makes the best slippery rice noodles I’ve ever eaten. Bánh cuốn, are a North Vietnamese dish made by steaming a lightly fermented rice batter on cloth stretched over boiling water. This process results in see-through, crepe-like sheets of rice noodle, which are eaten in a variety of ways, including at breakfast.
As first time visitors we show a bit of indecision even with the pleasantly small menu. Warm, friendly staff notice immediately, and steer us towards the pork mince and wood ear mushroom stuffed rolls called Bánh Cuốn Nhân Chay ($11.50).
In Central Vietnam, Bánh Cuốn Tôm Chấy ($12) are the go-to version; with bright orange ground dried shrimp sprinkled over the flexible noodle sheets before they’re shaped into rolls. They’re earthy and light, and a good choice from this small menu.
In other parts of Vietnam, Bánh Uớt ($11) is the preferred arrangement. In this version, the rice noodle sheets are served plain (rather than as rolls), but eaten with fried shallots, Vietnamese pork sausage (chả lụa) and nuoc mam cham sauce. This ubiquitous Vietnamese condiment blending fish sauce with garlic, chilli, sugar and lemon juice shows a nice balance of sweet, hot, salty and sour here.
Now, if you can’t decide, Bánh Cuốn Đặc Biệt ($12) is a great sample platter (and a bargain at the price). There are also some excellent fried dishes, from shrimp and mung bean cakes, to shrimp and sweet potato fritters, that will draw me back to try out soon.
While you’re in the neighbourhood block out some time to have a stroll around Saigon Place, it’s a colourful and interesting area. However if you’re keen for a more guided adventure, Taste Tours will take you through Bankstown on a World Explorer eating tour that covers a range of cuisines from Vietnamese to Greek and Lebanese.
NOTE: You can check out my experience of being on a Taste Tour back HERE or see more Bankstown area reviews HERE.
Bánh Cuốn Kim Thành
Shop 7, 313 Chapel Road, Bankstown
Ph: (02) 9708 6661