Bánh Xèo from Đình Sơn

Yes, I’m going a bit nuts on the Vina diacritics.

Banh Xeo, Melbourne

The equation that can’t be avoided when you travel for food is the one where you compare Third World prices to First World and try to account for the differences, offseting rent, ingredient quality and labour. It is a fun but fruitless diversion. The above bánh xèo from Quan Đình Sơn, next to Saigon Supermarket in Footscray is $10 for a crepe the size of your forearm. A full cubit of bánh xèo.

$10 would buy 16 plates of bánh xèo from my local market in Cambodia but it wouldn’t buy one this good. Once again, my weekend phở trip gets derailed.

Half eaten Bánh Xèo, Melbourne

Đình Sơn’s is packed with shelled prawns and slices of fatty pork. The crepe skirts the border of crispy and chewy. It’s rich and coconut-y. The side plate of cos and butter lettuce, used for rolling up chunks of the crepe and dipping in the sweet dipping sauce nước chấm, is generous and refilled as I plough through it. There isn’t much else in the way of distraction in the restaurant: the obligatory TV is on the blink; there’s barely enough mirrored tiles to form an entrancing hall of mirrors; their shrine is perfunctory. Shoppers pass on the way into Saigon Supermarket and pick up meals to go from the bain marie.

The menu boasts about a hundred Chinese and Vietnamese dishes but the key here is to order from the corkboard just below the plastic menu board which contains a few kho dishes, dry fried noodles and the bánh xèo, written up in permanent marker.

Dinh Son restaurant at Saigon Supermarket, Footscray

Location: Shop 1, 63 Nicholson Street (cnr Byron St), Footscray VIC 3011

6 Comments Bánh Xèo from Đình Sơn

  1. Billy

    I think bánh xèo is a perfectly good reason to forgo phở! But then bánh xèo is my favourite Vietnamese dish, and the only reason I didn’t eat it daily while I was living in Saigon was because it tends to be a bit of a feast for two (with the requisite chả giò entree).

    With respect to comparisons between developed and developing countries’ food, I am still yet to find bánh xèo in Australia which lives up to that in Saigon – Thanh Ha in Victoria St is passable, but I’ll definitely give Đình Sơn a try next time I have a hankering for the Giant Yellow Smile.

    All that being said, is there any chance of me joining you on one of your weekend phở trips? One of my goals when coming back to Melbourne was to try to find Melbourne’s best phở.

    Reply
  2. Phil Lees

    Billy – sorry I missed your comments – but yes, you should join for a phở trip. I’m busy for the next few weeks, but I’ll email you to sort something out.

    I’m a fan of the whole small prawn in the bánh xèo rather than just the meat, so Dinh Son is good but not an absolute ideal. I don’t usually seek out bánh xèo in Australia.

    Reply
  3. Tho Tran

    If you are into banh xeo, the best place is Thanh Ha or Thanh Ha 2 on Victoria St, Richmond which is more crispy and less grissy than Dinh Son.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>