Mr Black and I first visited Yen For Viet when it was brand new (see my first post here). Since then we’ve been back a few times – when we can get a table! Even on a weeknight they’re pretty busy, and deservedly so. Their food is excellent quality and, while not as cheap a most places on the Illawarra Rd strip, is still fantastic value. They are both BYO and licenced, which is great because there are no bottle shops anywhere nearby!
On my most recent visit, my mum and I tried some new things… First up, eggplant fritters. Not exactly what I expected, they were puffy balls of batter with eggplant centres. Nice enough, but I think next time I’d choose the delicious salt and pepper squid or summer rolls instead.
Their salads are always a highlight for me, including this green papaya salad. The prawns are fat and sweet, the pork is delicate, and the dressing has the perfect sweet-sour balance. Plus roasted peanuts and deep-fried shallots for crunch and plenty of delicious fresh herbs (not just a bit of coriander plopped on top like at some places!).
The stuffed tofu stuffed with chilli and lemongrass was lovely, with squidgy insides and a lovely crunchy topping. The accompanying sauce was appreciated as they were a little dry just on their own.
And last but not least, one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes – thit kho trung dua gia, or slow cooked pork belly in young coconut juice. Served simply with a boiled egg and homemade pickles, the version here is light, aromatic and tender.
We had a glass of the Devil’s Corner pinot noir ($7) and a glass of Sandpiper pinot gris ($6), and while we decided both went quite well with the meal, overall the pinot gris was a better match for the dishes we chose.