- Usually tasty noodle dishes
- Friendly and helpful staff
- Good coeliac knowledge
I love noodles. When I lived in China, one of my regular eats was a bowl of hand pulled noodles in soup. As the name indicates, these wheat noodles are made by hand and you can see a pretty good video of a guy in Shanghai pulling noodles here.
Since my coeliac diagnosis, I have had to resign myself to the fact that I can’t eat hand pulled noodles again. It’s gluten that makes the noodles stretch without snapping so they’re off the menu for me. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been on the search for a good bowl of beefy noodle soup and I’ve been lucky enough to find something that’s almost as good in Casey!
Tra Vinh Vietnamese Cuisine is in Casey marketplace opposite Casey Jones pub. I’ve been in a handful of times with family and friends for lunches, and I’ve always been really happy with my food. So it’s pretty unfortunate that when I decided to write up a review of Tra Vinh, my normally satisfying noodles weren’t as nice as usual!
We went in on Sunday lunchtime on our way home from a trip to the Hall markets. It was around 12.30pm and the place was surprisingly empty. We got a table in the corner of the room, looking out of the windows onto a lovely bright day.
The space is quite nice. The restaurant is very well lit from the large window where there is tall seating looking outside and little pots of greenery. The rest of the space is painted white with dark grey, tiled flooring. There are eight or nine wooden tables and along the back wall, where we were sitting there is long, dark blue seating.
They have a good range of options on the menu and everything is clearly marked. The range includes starters (not gluten free), some rice and dry noodle mains and then a heap of soup noodle options. I’ve tried a few of the soup noodle dishes, but by far my favourite is the Bun Bo Hue – spicy noodles with beef and pork. I ordered this while Michael opted for the Com Suon, pork chop with rice and a fried egg, to share with Milly.
As usual, when we ordered I ran through my standard coeliac spiel. I’m pretty confident with the staff knowledge of coeliac disease at Tra Vinh now. I’ve discussed it in detail a few times, and the staff have always been very knowledgeable and accommodating. When I ordered the staff took it all in, and confirmed there wouldn’t be any problem.
We had a short, 10 minute wait for our food to arrive. Michael’s com suon looked really good and he said it was very nice. The pork was well cooked and soft, a little fatty but it came with a a chilli vinegar dipping sauce that cut through the fattiness, and the plate came with fresh tomato, carrot and cucumber, adding some colour.
Having ordered the bun bo hue multiple times before, I had high expectations and was looking forward to some tasty noodles and a positive write up! Unfortunately, I was left a bit disappointed this time round!
With any spicy noodle dish, you expect a bit of heat and I quite enjoy the lip tingle after eating my bun bo hue. After living in China, I can handle a bit of chili and I have a pretty good tolerance for spicy foods, but this time it was too much. It overpowered the dish so that nothing else could be tasted and I was left really disappointed. I think that too much chilli oil had been added to the bowl as there was a thick layer of bright red oil on top of the soup, that usually isn’t quite so substantial.
The bowl contained a good amount of tapioca noodles as well as thin slices of beef and pork. The texture of the meat is a little like silverside, a little chewy and very tasty. There was also cabbage and crunchy beansprouts as well as fresh Thai basil in the bowl, and some thinly sliced tofu, something I always enjoy eating!
In total, the two plates cost $30.00 and when the noodles aren’t so hot it hurts to eat them, this is a bargain!
The noodles at Tra Vinh are usually so good so I’m pretty sad to have had to write such a middling review. Will this stop me eating at Tra Vinh? No, definitely not! Even if I didn’t get the bun bo hue again, I’d still eat there because their coeliac knowledge is so good and they have enough options to keep it interesting! If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, they do have non- spicy options and it makes a nice change to get some nice, thick tapioca noodles, instead of thin rice noodles!
Casey Market Town
28/15 Kingsland Parade, Casey
02 5105 4916