Tan Thanh Loi – Footscray

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I’m a man of many things. A man of the burger, a man of the chicken wing but most importantly, I’m a Vietnamese man. Of the IG-worthy dishes out there, there are some dishes that aren’t quite as pretty but hold a very special place in my heart. Let’s talk broken rice – I invite you to the unreleased memoirs of The Little Moustache.

Chapter 1 –

As a kid, I was leaning towards the chubbier side and as an adult.. Well, let’s just say I’m not the most lankiest guy walking around. How did I gleefully chub around in my 90’s overalls? I blame my mum. Mother Moustache is ungodly talented in manipulating flavours and keeping my belly full while working a full-time job raising a family of 5. It was through her trial and error that her version of Bun Bo Hue is now the best there is in Melbourne (not even exaggerating :)). It was also through her love of cooking that translated to my love of eating. My body shape was oddly telling for how food was going to revolve around my life later on.

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Banh Canh Cua (Vietnamese Udon w/ Crab in a seafood broth that is thick) – $12
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Bun Bo Hue (Hue-style noodles w/ pork hock, pork loaf, beef brisket and whole lot of beefy goodness) – $11
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Com Tam Bi Suon Cha Trung (Broken rice w/ shredded pork, grilled, pork loaf, egg and pickled vegatables) – $10

On the odd occasion that Mum was too lazy to cook, we had a regular spot that we used to go quite frequently. Surprise, surprise they specialise in Vietnamese food!

Tan Thanh Loi is famous for one thing and I bet you a lot of ‘foodies’ aren’t privy to this piece of information (If you do, Hi-5!). More detail below.

The awesome:

  • Com Tam (Broken rice): The pork chop here is the most insanely flavourful, charry piece of pork you’ll ever have. It’s very rare these days that you’d find a piece of pork (suon) that is grilled instead of deep-fried or pan-fried at most Vietnamese places. It’s very aromatic and Tan Thanh Loi is not scared to give you a decent portion of broken rice. You will not leave hungry. You can have this beast with either broken rice or in a Vietnamese roll. Recommended.
  • Bun Bo Hue (Hue noodles): A delightful surprise with a great broth. TTL isn’t known for BBH but man can they serve a nice steaming bowl of beefy noodles. The broth was deep, generous servings of beef bits and pieces and the noodles were delightfully chewy. Recommended.

The not-so-awesome:

  • Banh Canh Cua (Crab noodles): Personally, I had no issue with this dish but full disclosure – I’m not really a fan of Banh Canh Cua. My mate Hunter though, is an avid Banh Canh Cua connoisseur to the umpteenth degree. Unfortunately, he wasn’t impressed by the flavour, lack of crab and just wasn’t seasoned enough! TTL were very generous with mushrooms though!

Childhood memories aside, Tan Thanh Loi is a solid Vietnamese choice for a great feed and I would argue that they are extremely underrated compared to the other more popular eateries. If you’re reading this and have no idea what the flip a ‘broken rice’ is – then what are you waiting for?!

4 moustaches out of 5!

Tan Thanh Loi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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