Under the radar no more
Noodlies, Sydney food blog discovers a hidden gem
This family-run restaurant business has been around for almost 30 years in different locations. For the past six years, Da Da Vietnamese restaurant has been a local favourite in Campsie. Search ‘Da Da restaurant” and you’ll find a short review on foursquare but no reviews on Urbanspoon or other review sites, not even a food blog review.
Da Da is your typical unpretentious eatery serving Vietnamese standards that quickly satisfies. Favourites like pho and other noodle dishes, fried, dried or soup as well as popular rice dishes like broken rice and pork chops. This is humble, honest food; the place is bright and clean, with efficient, polite staff. Come as yourself, even in trackies if you want a good, honest feed that’s not too taxing on the finances.
Cheap-and-cheerful but the food is served with lots of pride, owner and head chef, Jennifer Nguyen fusses over her food and eager to please. The customers love her tomato rice pork chops, not trice-cooked or tricked-up, it’s still a stunning dish to behold; glistening, glowing marinated pork with moist, tomato coloured and flavoured rice.
The rich and lively fish sauce is crammed with shards of pristine white garlic, pickled carrots and burning chilli – it’s a good indicator that Jennifer has no intentions of dumbing-down her home style Vietnamese. Sure the pork chops are grilled and a tad shinny with oil, but in typical Vietnamese style, that’s balanced with fresh mint, vegetables and springy vermicelli noodlies. Drown the dish in fish sauce to really experience home-style Vietnamese.
Jennifer proudly exclaims “you won’t get this mi kho bo luc lac anywhere else”, marinated stir-fried beef noodles usually come with rice and served with salt and pepper in lime juice dipping sauce. Here, the rice is replaced with egg noodles soaked in beef juice, it’s a clever, moreish bowl.
Da Da’s crispy chicken is another subtle twist, rather than steamed rice or egg noodles, Jennifer serves it up with rice noodle soup, providing a ying-yang contrast of dry chicken spiced with fish sauce versus wet and sweet, but relatively plainer, clear soup.
If you’re ever confronted with crispy chicken and rice noodle soup, check out how to tackle a bowl in the short noodlies video above.
If you’re coming in a group consider the mixed entree, there’s something for everyone, spring rolls, fresh rolls, bo bia (with pork skin) and money bags (ahem, not strictly Vietnamese) each with their own dipping sauce.
It’s days like these that makes blogging worth living for, discovering surprising, authentic, unpretentious gems like Da Da Vietnamese restaurant, the owners have been at it for almost three decades – the past six at Da Da Vietnamese restaurant, yet they’re still unknown outside the local community. Days like these make me smile, being able to share this gem to to the world.
Time for you to check it out and let me know what you think. Canterbury Council’s annual and hugely popular Campsie Food Festival is on Saturday, 1 June, why not make it a day trip!
When you get there, say hello to Jennifer (below right) and her daughter, Kim (left), true salt-of-the-earth, warm and decent Vietnamese-Australians. Oh, and that’s me in the middle – beast among the beauties.
Da Da Vietnamese Restaurant
172 Beamish St, Campsie
Ph: 9789 2928
Noodlies is a media supporter of Campsie Food Festival for a third consecutive year. This year, it’s on Saturday, 1 June.
Noodlies, Sydney food blog and guest experienced this authentic delight courtesy of Da Da Vietnamese restaurant and Canterbury Council.