Tân Thành Vietnamese Restaurant, Inala, Brisbane

I had been craving Vietnamese food, and given the scarcity of authentic Vietnamese restaurants in Auckland, it was at the top of my to-eat list on a visit to Brisbane. Tân Thành (16/57 Corsair Avenue, Inala, Brisbane) is a traditional Vietnamese restaurant located in the Inala Civic Centre shopping complex.

We were here to eat the Special Beef Noodle soup ($9); the popular phở came with beef slices, beef brisket, beef meatball, tripe and tendon. For the less adventurous, you could get the regular beef noodle soup ($8.50). The large bowls of steaming phở were served with the traditional condiments of Vietnamese basil, lime and bean sprouts. Eating this, I can understand why all the glowing accolades for this unassuming eatery, – the phở was absolutely sublime, the clear-ish soup had a complex mellow, savoury flavour and the beef was tender and delicious.

I ordered a portion of gỏi cuốn, rice paper roll ($6.50), – four large summer roll with prawns, pork, coriander and rice vermicelli rolled with a thin rice paper. The dipping sauce is a sweet, sour, spicy concoction topped with chopped peanuts. Delicious!

As if that wasn’t enough, I also ordered a serving of avocado smoothie ($4). I’ve read of this intriguing drink (avocado in a sweet drink? Seriously?), but when I tried to order this in Auckland at two different places (Hansan, Saigon BBQ), it was not available. It became a bit of an urban myth for me, – we are just toying with you. It’s on the menu, but you can’t have it…. But here it was. And it was… interesting… Delicious, yet odd. It’s creamy, sweet, and avocado-ey.

Avocado smoothie and young coconut drink

jackfruit smoothie and durian smoothie (yes, they look exactly the same!)

Love you long time, Tân Thành!

After the totally satisfying lunch, we took a wander around the Vietnamese greengrocers. There were fruits (various mangoes, custard apple, mangosteen) and vegetables (jicama, purple yam) we cannot get fresh or are not in season in NZ. I am so jealous….

Vietnamese baguettes to make Bánh mì, and custard apple (at bottom right)

Jicama (also known as yam bean or ‘mengkung’) and taro

Purple yam
Vietnamese desserts
Pomelo
Local green mangoes

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