Which was how my friend J summarized my decision to move back to Melbourne. I personally have nothing against Bill Granger and he has nothing at all to do with my decision to not move anywhere near him. The other reason to move to Sydney seems that in my absence, the rental property market in Melbourne has gone to hell. The delicious dividend of the hellacious market is the following bánh mì thịt heo nướng, stumbled upon while I was between real estate agents in Footscray.
It is the real deal and unlike the properties that I saw, worth waiting in a queue to get. If I could live inside a sandwich, it would be this one. Flame-grilled chunks of marinated pork meat sit atop pickled, shredded carrot and daikon (instead of green papaya); coriander leaf and stalks; spring onions and fresh chili. The bun is as fresh as you’d find anywhere on the streets of Saigon, the meat even fresher.
The restaurant’s name, Truc Giang, betrays its Southern Vietnamese origins.
Location: Truc Giang Restaurant, 36a Leed St, Footscray, VIC
Phone: (03) 9689 9509
It helps to be obsessed by a single dish when you arrive in Saigon. I usually hit up a few of my favourite restaurants (the upmarket street food specialist Quan An Ngon, commercial pho franchise Pho 24 anywhere about town) and then am lost in a sea of choice. There’s bun of almost limitless variety, multitude variations on pho, and street food on every corner and clinging to each alleyway. I negotiate these choices by getting momentarily obsessed with seeking out a single dish and then moving on. I felt like thit nuong: casing-free Vietnamese pork sausage, served with the rice noodle bun or in the ultimate Vietnamese sandwich as banh thit nuong; and with this idea for a dish as organising principle, I hit the streets for some local charred charcuterie action.
In the basement of the mall-like Andong market in Cholon is a small concentration of thit nuong vendors, along with the normal assortment of dehydrated animal stalls. I picked the thit nuong vendor that both had the more impressive charred sausage display and laughed the most at me. I’m not really that funny.
Bun thit nuong cha gio
The sausage was garlicky and sweetly caramelised, the rest was light on the herbage and bean sprouts but topped with crushed peanuts aplenty. Now, to find a new obsession.
Price: 14,000 VND