Took about an hour drive due east (edit: west, not east - we were not in the Pacific Ocean) of Sydney to the city of Cabramatta (which actually feels like a suburb of Sydney). During the 1970s, during the Vietnam War, a wave of immigration from South Vietnam began to Cabramatta, and it today has a very large Vietnamese population, mixed in its own particular way with Australia's own particular way.
Anyway, I got some photographs.
First, the restaurant: Thanh Binh, 52 John St. Cabramatta. Fantastic. Recommended. Great food, nice people, laid back—crowded at lunch time. The specials: (As always, click to enlarge photos; click again for closer.)
For those interested in pictures of food—king prawn spring roll with a peanutty sauce; soft-shelled crabs in tamarind sauce; scallops:
I've just learned that tamarind sauce is made from the tamarind tree—which is native to Africa. It was so popular in ancient times, apparently, that it was continuously transplanted, and is now all over Asia (not to mention the Americas).
We had more, including a pork dish that was great, but every time they brought something out I just wanted to eat it and kept forgetting to photograph it.
We shared a cold tea drink that had barley, agar, and seaweed in it, which was good, very refreshing, but I wasn't crazy about the agar texture. And we had a durian smoothy, which managed to be strangely nice while leaving an aftertaste like you just had a mouthful of gasoline. (I say this with more than a little experience.)
Lunch cost about $110 for four. Not bad. Kevin brought a bottle of wine. No cork fee.
We went for a stroll on John Street.
Just one of the many delectable things to be found in this pastry shop:
I wish I knew what type of lobstery things these are. [Update 4/21/11: They're Eastern Rock Lobsters, a type of spiny lobster, which are not closely related to what we normally call lobsters!] Look at the beautiful shells on those poor buggers:
Thanh long—"dragon fruit"—which I've just found out is the fruit of a type of cactus:
I let my arm dangle at my side for a while, and clicked the button when I glimpsed something interesting:
A pastry machine:
Look at the women in red at the very, very end of this short video:
Vertu cell phones—only $12,000 or so a pop.
On our way to the car, I found a piece of paper just off the sidewalk: