Sunday session – BBH greatness in Sunshine!

2015/01/img_9618-0.jpgCo Do Vietnamese Restaurant
200 Hampshire rd, Sunshine

Can you believe I’ve never had a bowl of bun bo hue? I was watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown the other night while ironing our work clothes for the week ahead when I saw Anthony slurping up, and thoroughly enjoying a bowl of soup. It wasn’t any ordinary bowl of soup, it was topped with an assortment of pork hock, beef loaf, pork, prawn and blood cake and I could practically taste the delightful broth through the tv screen.

Bring forth Co Do, Sunshine. The sister restaurant to the prized Richmond establishment that has appeared in many guides and features specialising in bun bo hue along with some other traditional Vietnamese dishes. I’ve tried other restaurants along the Hampshire road strip but I can feel this one will fast become one of our favs!

My mouth immediately tingled as soon as my order was placed in front of me. An ambrosial offering to those open to seeing blood cake and pig hock on top of their soup, you are also able to order a beef only version if you are not feeling so adventurous. I opt for the traditional Vietnamese style chilli beef soup with the lot, while the hubby tries out Co Do’s banh canh gio heo (I’ll have to come back to try the banh canh cua). Master D ordered special fried rice and some pork and prawn cake wrapped in banana leaves.

We will be back for more.

How did I not taste this sooner?

Co Do has been present in Sunshine near the revamped train station for less than year and I can tell you now that you’ll be seeing our faces here a lot more often!

For now I’m sitting here still thinking about my first BBH experience… <3

P.S We in came just before the dinnertime rush and it didn’t take long for a line to form outside the door. Be patient and you will be rewarded!


Good value for money2015/01/img_9620.jpg

Cheers! Our little one is getting accustomed to drinking tea and trying all new types of food! Not bad for his 2 years of experience 🙂

You could see through the super chewy prawn and pork cake. Dip it in some sauce and it makes a nice entree to get your taste buds ready for more.2015/01/img_9621.jpg

– Bun Bo Hue Dac Biet (Traditional Vietnamese style chilli beef soup)
– Banh Bot Loc Goi La Chuoi (Pork and prawn cake in banana leaf x 6 pieces)
– Banh Canh Gio Heo (Dropped rice noodle soup with pork)
– Special fried rice
– Tea2015/01/img_9612.jpg

Rich dark colors of paneling on the roof and tables. Feels like we could gather the whole family here for a special occasion and at the back of the menus there are several banquet options you can choose from.2015/01/img_9622.jpgLocated right near the station if you’re coming to visit by train, we also found free parking easily accessible on a Sunday afternoon. So lucky to have this place only 5-10mins away from us. That means we’ll be back for more. Pretty soon. We bumped into a friend on the way back to our car and she strongly suggested for us to taste the bun rieu dish next time. And so we shall! You will be seeing a bowl of bun rieu and banh canh cua here and on my Instagram feed very shortly.

Co do on Urbanspoon

Hit with Pho Fever!

2014 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Sunshine Pho Fever – 10th-13th March, 2014
Sunshine Business Association

It was a sold out event last year and luckily this year Kenny (Consider The Sauce) reminded me to get my pho fever on! Sunshine Pho Fever was again part of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival and this year we joined other guests on a walking degustation tour of the Vietnamese eateries that boast the drinks and soups Sushine is renowned for.

From the placemats with interesting facts printed on them to the goodie bags we were given at the end of our evening, it was a very organised event in which the hosts and restaurant owners’ love for this district’s cuisine was evident and contagious. We were charmed by Simon and Phong who hosted the two separate groups that night – they did a fabulous job showing us around.

Pho fever was a great night out where I learnt all about the origins of pho, how it is cooked, met the people behind the scenes and also met other interesting diners. Networking and pho – I’ll be back next year pho sure! (Sorry I had to do that!).

So without further ado below were the 4 stops that those of us in Group 2 enjoyed last week!:

Cafe #1:
Sao Cafe 3/308 Hampshire Road, Sunshine (9312-0546)
To start the evening off we were welcomed with a red carpet and our choice of refreshing drinks. Wes and I enjoyed ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) and taro with some pearls. Mmmm yum.

Cafe #2:
Pho Hien Saigon 3/284 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (311-9532)
We love this place! Being a regular weekend lunchtime favourite, something new we experienced was a meeting restaurant owner Cung and hearing about how his workers and himself prepare their delicious pho and the hours it takes to get it right. Cung explained that his pho is in the making from 9am to 9pm each day . In the evening they take out the ingredients and let the soup rest overnight. It is then ready to serve the next day after Cung himself comes in the morning to season it with his secret mix of spices and herbs.

Cung explained that his uncle originally from the south of Vietnam, now living in California gave him a recipe for pho except Cung felt it had too strong a taste and aroma so after trying pho from different places he tweaked it to his taste, and ours! – I finished my chicken pho even though I thought I should’ve been pacing myself for the rest of the night. It was too good not to! Pho Hien opened 7 years ago and recently expanded its floorspace to accommodate their adoring patrons.

We had the chance to sit next to Kenny and Lauren (Footscray Food Blog) and it was great seeing the different “routines” people have when seasoning and eating their pho (I’ll have to write that up in another blogpost if you’re interested).
If in Sunshine or if you just want to try somewhere new you must try Pho Hien Saigon’s pho, combination rice vermicelli, crispy fried chicken and rice, pork and broken rice and their amazing avocado smoothie!! – ok basically everything they serve here is drool-worthy 🙂

Pho Vien

Cafe #3:
Thuan An 253 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-1119)
Next up the beautiful Julie welcomed us with a candlelit table and the ingredients of her pho displayed along the table runner – star anise, cumin, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cardamon, and rock sugar. Julie explained that their pho broth takes 18 hours to cook and that it is compatible to suit the tastes of those people from both the north and south of Vietnam. Julie informed our group that the spices must be put in at the right time or it will make the soup too light or too dark in colour.

I opted for the combination pho this time which included strips of tripe, sliced beef, meatballs, tendons and brisket. It had a strong flavour and I liked the different textures however I was quite full from my chicken pho that I couldn’t finish it no matter how hard I tried! Or maybe I was just too excited to get into the kitchen and check out their 240 litre pots of broth. The kitchen staff were very friendly and happy to have us in their space.

Our fellow table folk this time were the lovely Tracey (SBA’s new marketing manager and Malcolm from the Academy of Design). We got to chatting about everything from pho, arts, youth, council and area development. Keep an eye out for big things happening in the area! 😉

Cafe #4:
Nhi Nuong 2 Sisters, 255 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-6522)

We were welcomed, fed and serenaded by the talented sisters Yen and Elizabeth at our last stop on our Pho Fever adventure – Nhi Nuong. It was a colourfully decorated cafe and I was glad to see fresh fruits, crunchy spring rolls and beef in betel leaves. I was so full I doubt I could have finished a third bowl of pho – again props to the organisers for taking on feedback from last year’s event!

The first thing we were asked to do was to smell and taste the tea and guess what it was made of. The tea on our tables was warm and fragrant and had a calming effect. We were informed that it had pandan in it and could not be brought in stores – it is specially made in a country town in Vietnam and imported to the restaurant for $80/kg! The betel leaves that enveloped the scrumptiously marinated beef was $45/kg and came from Queensland where the weather produced good quality leaves. We were also served tall glasses of refreshing sugar cane juice flavoured with cumquat and with a guitar and beautiful singing voices, we listened to a traditional Vietnamese children’s song about a child having sugar cane whilst waiting for her mother to finish her grocery shopping. What a night!

If you’re after a night of good food, great company and passionate cafe owners committed to serving you, then Sunshine’s annual Pho Fever is a must visit in Melbourne.

In the meantime if you want to experience more of the area’s food and talent – this weekend is the first year of MaDE in Brimbank (Music And Dance Event). This Sunday March 23rd from 12pm-8pm, come and grab some lunch or dinner from local stalls or an array of food trucks. While you eat, you will be entertained by talent from locals and also XFactor guests and the twins from My Kitchen Rules! For more info check out: Brimbank’s MaDE.

Pho Hien Saigon

If you’re in the mood for some hot, tasty pho, then look no further than Hampshire Road in Sunshine – Pho Vien Saigon. Another eatery that we frequent for fast, affordable service and meals. Start off with the prawn rolls with tangy dip and then move onto pho and combination rice vermicelli. At first I thought that I wouldn’t have enough sauce for the rice vermicelli dish but after mixing my bowl full of pork, spring rolls and fresh herbs and noodles, the sauce coats the dish nicely. Make sure you try their avocado smoothie..YUMMO!

Pho Hien Saigon on Urbanspoon