I had never been to Ha Noi Quan before tonight. Being a huge fan of both Old Thanh Huong and Pho Bac Hai Duong on Illawarra Rd, I usually end up at the former for salt and pepper/chilli and lemongrass cravings, and the latter for pho and banh xeo cravings. However tonight I was invited to try Ha Noi Quan with my two lovely friends Ms Y and Mr K and I was very excited! 🙂
The first dish, a favourite of Mr K and recommended recently in the SMH, was the bun cha.
Ha Noi Quan’s bun cha deserves its excellent reputation. The pork is slightly caramelised, crispy and fragrant; the salad crisp and herbaceous; the dressing a delicately balanced. Lush.
Next arrives salt and pepper prawns. They are fresh, crisp, and have loads of the delicious garlic/chilli/fried shallot sprinkles which I LOVE. Om nom nom!
I was keen to try the bo luc lac here as I know Mr Black loves it, and I thought Mr K might too. I was right. The version here was not as lemony as others I’ve had, but the beef was so perfectly cooked and juicy it was a good choice.
I should point out that yes, the servings are as huge as they look! Possibly the most generous servings I’ve had in Marrickville.
The banh xeo arrived next – unfortunately as we already were stuck into the other dishes it sat for 5-10 minutes before we dug in, and by that time it had lost its lovely crispyness. Also, the delicate coconutty-ness of the batter was lost on us after having the strongly flavoured main dishes first so I was a little disappointed. Oh well.
Then came the kangkong with garlic, known as “rau muong” in Vietnamese. It was enormous, perfectly cooked and smothered in garlicky goodness. If only it had come out a bit earlier, as we were pretty full by this point!
Oof! By the end of this feast all three of us were full, well-satisfied and fragrant with garlic. The bill was a highlight of the evening – $61 for three people including a diet Coke. Outstanding! I will be back!