Cabramatta might be famed as the capital of Vietnamese cuisine in Sydney; but, other areas, including Parramatta, have also made their mark. Whether diners are looking to grab a rice paper roll on-the-go, or they'd rather sit down to a feast, sampling an array of classics, such as steaming pho and spicy goat curry, there's no shortage of possibilities.
When Mr and Mrs Pham, refugees from South Vietnam, fled to Australia in the 1970s, they didn't bring many belongings with them, but they did bring a dream. That dream was to share their passion for, and knowledge of, Vietnamese food with the locals. In 1992, they managed to realise it, when they opened their own restaurant, Pho Pasteur, in Parramatta. For more than 20 years now diners have been flocking here to sample the Phams' dishes, which include many from their home province of Tay Ninh and loads of vegan and vegetarian creations. Carnivores should try the house specialty: beef pho (noodle soup) with rare beef, brisket, meatballs, tendon and tripe.
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Found 15 minutes drive southwest of the Parramatta CBD, within Sydney Olympic Park, this nifty little eatery offers a short but satisfying menu, covering baguettes, rice paper rolls and noodles only. Produce is of premium quality and tried-and-tested recipes are given creative twists. Highlights include char siu pork baguette with twice-cooked, honey-glazed pork neck; rice paper rolls with shiitake mushrooms and tofu; and ha doan pho with 300-day grain-fed wagyu beef, brisket, 12-hour broth, mint and bean sprouts. Come lunchtime, queues aren't unusual.
Being a franchise, with branches all over Australia, Roll'd doesn't have the quirk or intimacy of the other restaurants on this list. However, for a light, healthy snack in Parramatta, it's a reliable option. The menu is based on classics, but they're often given an unusual touch, such as rice paper rolls with barramundi, com tam (broken rice) with spicy chicken curry and bun (noodle salad) with pork spring rolls. Service is fast, both for takeaway orders and for diners wanting to take a seat among the patterned tiles, hanging baskets and timber tables.
Shop 4071, Westfield, 158-175 Church St Parramatta; Visit the Roll'd website.
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Main image: Roll'd (Supplied)