From the age of zero to about seven or eight, I had no concept of first cousins once removed, second cousins, great aunts or uncles. To me, everyone that was part of my family no matter how far was my "cousin" and the elder females "auntie" and elder males "uncle." When I finally clued onto the fact that there were all sorts of levels of aunts, uncles and cousins, I felt silly. Of course there were. But in Asian culture, every older female friend of your mum and dad's is your aunty.
Great Aunty 3 on Enmore Road in Enmore serves up Vietnamese Food-street food to be specific. It's borne a tale that sounding more and more familiar lately. Owned by couple Michael and Mai Li, he worked in the world of big bank I.T. and she worked in financial services. They found that there was something missing and found their calling through food. Michael's father was a chef and they owned a cafe in Kingsgrove where Michael used to help to flip burgers, make shakes and coffee at the tender age of nine. Now they serve Vietnamese banh mi rolls, rice paper wraps and pho.
The decor is inviting and there is a welcome sight of the banh mi station. All of their breads and pate are made in house and there is a choice of bread or wholemeal rolls for the banh mi while colourful rice paper rolls line the top display. And who is Great Aunty 3? It's Michael's 76 year old grandmother whose image features on their website. She was given the number as she is the second eldest in her family (the eldest child is given position number 2, the second oldest is position 3 while apparently the number 1 position is for the parents).
The menu is simple and on the blackboard and comprises of a variety banh mi and fresh rice paper rolls alongside fresh fruit shakes and Vietnamese iced coffee. The prices, well they're nothing short of fabulous and although it is small, takeaway is also an option for these portable little foods. Today I'm catching up with friend Reem and her gorgeous baby A and we take a seat at the table opposite the red scooter in deep, comfortable leather arm chairs.
I start with a Vietnamese coffee, strong and sweet with sweetened condensed milk and ice. Michael hands it over and asks if it is too sweet. It's sweet but reminds me of my trip to Vietnam. It's a humid, hot Sydney day and iced is the ideal way to have it.
Reem and I try a few of the rice paper rolls and we go for the vegetarian prawn, duck and chicken & mango. We get two sauces, a vegetarian one and the other sauce with fish in it so that we can see the difference between the two. The vegetarian prawn has the taste and texture of real prawn, the duck is rich and saucey but my favourite was the chicken and mango rice paper roll which had a great range of flavours.
For the banh mi, it wasn't hard to go past the very recommended filling of slow cooked caramelised pork belly cooked in coconut juice. I decided to try a fruit shake as there was a combo deal where for $10 you got a banh mi roll, a humungous fruit shake and a voucher for a free weekly movie at the nearby DVD store. The berry fruit shake was very refreshing and not overly sweet as it has mainly just fresh fruit and ice in it.
Once every few years, I forget to take a photo of my own food. This was one of them so it seemed only fitting that I would have to come back to try this (as if I needed a reason). The caramelised pork belly is generously wedged in amongst the rest of the banh mi filling which included pickled daikon, coriander, pate, green onions, mayonnaise, watercress and toasted pumpkin seeds. It's a textural and flavour delight although I think I'd be hard pressed to finish an entire roll (although I'm picturing Mr NQN smashing two of these).
I tried some of Reem's tofu ham banh mi and it is filled with flavour - I sometimes find vegetarian offerings sometimes lacking in flavour but this one wasn't. There's even a spread of house made vegetarian pate on the bottom too.
Mango shake $6 or ($10 as part of combo deal)
Running last minute errands in the area, Mr NQN and I stop by one day for lunch. The drink choice was a no brainer for mango mad Mr NQN. He loved this shake which tasted of pure mango, slightly sweetened with syrup and although there was said to be other fruit in it, the mango dominated.
Soya chicken roll $6 or ($10 as part of combo deal)
We ordered another pork belly roll just because it was my favourite but Mr NQN thought that that was too fatty and he preferred the soy chicken filling. That wasn't bad but I preferred the lusciousness of the pork belly roll which makes it taste so different to others.
The pho only tends to be available on some days and whilst it wasn't on when Reem and I were there, it was on our second visit. A deceptively deep bowl, it's a good pho with plenty of herbs and flavours in it
There's no room for dessert after this food fest and we thank Aunty before leaving. Because Auntie knows best.
So tell me Dear Reader, And does anyone know what the once or twice removed means? I plead ignorance on that too! And bloggers, have you ever forgotten to take photos of your own dish? And non bloggers, do you take photos of your food?
Great Aunty 3
115 Enmore Road, Enmore, NSW
Mon - Thu: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm