Having one of the biggest Vietnamese communities in Australia, makes Cabramatta a delicious eating suburb. It's easy to get lost in the many arcades, just remember John Street is the main thoroughfare and Freedom Plaza, guarded by the lion sculptures of the Pai Lau – Freedom Arch, is in the centre of it all.
Things to do in Cabramatta
Shop, for food and fabric. As well as an array of Asian specialty stores stocking fragrant herbs and spices, this is where Sydneysiders flock to for fabric. There are just as many haberdashery stores lining the arcades as there are grocers. The shopkeepers are friendly, if you're not sure what you're looking for just ask and they'll happily explain.
If it's too overwhelming to explore on your own, join a food tour, such as Gourmet Safaris or Taste Cultural Food Tours, and learn about Vietnamese food and culture, meet locals, shop for ingredients, and savour lunch. I Ate My Way Through’s tour explores the area's culinary treasures on a progressive lunch.
Eating and drinking in Cabramatta
Most restaurants in Cabramatta specialise in one or two dishes, so it's worth going on a food crawl to cherry-pick the best. Phu Quoc is famous for goi cuon, DIY fresh rice paper rolls made from Vietnamese herbs, vegetables, vermicelli noodles and grilled meat or seafood. Tan Viet is known for its egg noodles and crispy-skin chicken.
Order the pho, a noodle soup with a fragrant broth at Pho Tau Bay and head to Viet Hoah Bakery banh mi, otherwise known as a Vietnamese Pork Roll. Thanh Binh is another local institution, try a fresh salad of jellyfish, prawn and chicken with mint, pickles, lotus root and lemon topped with crushed peanut.
While Vietnamese is the predominant cuisine, there are also Chinese, Thai, Laotian and Cambodian restaurants. Try Golden Harvest Seafood for yum cha (dim sum) and Iron Chef Chinese Seafood, known for its pipis tossed in chili and XO sauce. In nearby Canley Heights are more fabulous dining options, such as Holy Basil and Twelve Spices.