Saturday, November 19, 2011

Song Huong - (St Albans, Melbourne)

  Vietnamese restaurants in Australia in general all serve pretty much the same food.  There aren’t many shops which go out of their way to create or recreate some special signature dishes  except for the odd shop or two that tries to make a break through and cook up some Regional Dishes pretty well!   Despite most restaurants serving mostly the same dishes,  some of these shops cheat and use a lot of MSG to make up for the flavours and profit  or sometimes simply doesn’t know how to cook professionally.     The key difference between one shop and another often lies in the final execution.     It reminds me of eating Chinese food in Melbourne -  the execution is sometimes quite decent compared to even Hong Kong and China  if you’re lucky enough to find your favourite spots,  but it tends to lose out in its spread of food selections as the shops only concentrate on a few proven winning recipes.   At the end of the day the Menus are all going to look the same,  but the taste of the food can still taste quite different!


Friends are highly addicted to the Bun Bo Hue & other dishes at Song Huong,
Which is around 30-40 minutes drive away in St Albans!

Chili and Chili Paste -



Logan Drink  (Nhan Nhuc) -
Decent here and not overly sweetish.




3 Coloured Drink (Che 3 Mau) -
No comment as didn’t drink this,
but it looks right in proportion at least,  unlike some other shops..



Spring Rolls (Cha Gio Tom) -  AUD 6
These were fried a little uneven,  also missing some decent mint herbs.
Ok only.   ~   6/10


Bun Bo Hue Dac Biet (順化牛肉粉) -  AUD 9
This was definitely very good.  There was a rather hot beefy soup base and the depth of the soup suggests this was made properly by boiling down a lot of natural ingredients,  as there was no detectable MSG unlike some other versions in town I’ve tried.  This does not have a lot of prawns or lemongrass flavour however!    Came with plenty of shredded lettuce and bean sprouts to put into the noodles.  However this did not come with much needed herbs…  basically the same as to be found in a Pho,  mainly Thai Basil and Culantro.  


Came with Pig’s Blood,  Trotter,  Beef Slices, Tendons, etc -
All sliced thinly and very decent. This was a very good bun bo hue. 
Next time,  remember to bring some proper herbs yourself too ! 
~  8.5/10




XO Sauce Stirred Fried Pippies with added Noodles (Ngheu Xao Sot XO) -  AUD $23
This was more of a Chinese dish,  and done decently well as the pippies were plump and fresh,
with a medium-hot sauce and slightly herbed.    ~  8/10

Crispy Skin Fried Chicken with Tomato Rice (Cam Do Ga Chien Don) – AUD 9
Chicken in Australia is generally considered pretty bad by Hong Kong or Southern Chinese standards,  as most people who grew up eating HK/Chinese chicken are so used to the different chicken DNA,  feeding program as well as having them freshly slaughtered whenever possible.  The texture and especially chicken taste is a lot stronger in HK than Melbourne in general (and even then the Chinese say the same > HK,  or even Singapore).   I think most immigrants eat chickens here with this firmly in mind when it comes to expectations.  Having said that,  this chicken definitely was EXCELLENT by local standards.  The skin was crispy and the meat was moist, just don’t expect too much chicken flavours like the ones in China.   The tomato rice was simple but cooked well and addictive.  Along with the Bun Bo Hue,  this is going to be another missed dish soon !   ~    8.5/10




Price: AUD $15-18 per person
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2  to ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours -
Mon to Sun.    Unknown hours

Address:  71 Alfrieda St, St Albans, Melbourne Victoria 3021
Ph:  03 9356 0567


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