Location: Perth CBD – Carillon City (other locations)
It’s been less than a month since my trip to Vietnam in Dec 14 and I’m starting to miss the fresh flavours of Vietnamese cuisine so I headed to Mama Tran for lunch. They have 2 locations in the Perth city, one in Carillon City 3rd level food court, one on Milligan Street, plus locations at Claremont Quarter and Lakeside Joondalup.
I was pretty hungry so I wasn’t waiting till 12pm and headed off early. I really fancied a bahn mi so I got that, along with a chicken wing, and prawn fritters. I also got a takeaway for dinner being one of the dry noodles dishes, hu tieu kho.
The prawn fritters weren’t what I was expecting with the small prawns cut up into the strands, put through a spiced batter, before being deep fried. They had crunch and were not bad. The chicken wing was also flavoured with salt and, sugar of all things. This wasn’t too bad either but the sugar kind of put me off. I did have a quick taste of the rice noodles, which came with thin slices of braised pork which were really tender and flavoursome, minced beef, and more prawn fritters. The noodles were in a slightly sweet sauce, with Vietnamese greens, and a squeeze of lemon gave a nice acidic kick, but in the end, I found it rather underwhelming. I moved on to the banh mi with great expectation. The bread roll was quite firm, lacking that softness of a baguette like the fantastic ones used at Le Vietnam. The bread roll makes all the difference, but having said that, the bahn mi was well packed with ingredients and reasonably moist. There was plenty of thinly sliced pieces of pork like that used in the noodle dish, matchsticks of carrot and cucumber, coriander and a slightly sweet sauce. I should have added some chicken pate which I overlooked for that extra flavour. The banh mi is a pretty compact and filling meal in itself. It packs a punch and was pretty tasty, but I was expecting a bit more moistness, a slight chilli kick, and a bit more punch.
Later when I got home I warmed up the rice noodles which are now not at their optimum. Nothing like eating a dish when it’s freshly made. I tucked into the rice noodles which are flat noodles and enjoyed the small balls of minced beef, the tender thin slices of braised pork, and the greens. The acid of the lemon is still present but in all, I felt the dish was below par and lacking the fresh flavours that are so prevalent in Vietnamese cuisine. I notice that the Urbanspoon rating at this location is well below the Milligan Street venue which is in the 90’s at time of writing so maybe there’s an inconsistency in the preparation of the dishes between locations.
Mama Tran Food Review Summary
Verdict: The cuisine of foreign countries in Australia isn’t always a true representation which is a shame. After my recent trip to Vietnam, I headed to Mama Tran for some Vietnamese flavours and ordered a range of dishes. The chicken wing was a bit unusual with the sugar, the prawn fritters had a nice spiced batter but were ok. The banh mi was well packed full of tender slices of pork, carrot, cucumber, coriander and a sweet sauce, but lacked the punch I was expecting in flavour and the bread roll is not like the soft light French baguettes. The flat rice noodles in a sweet sauce was a little unusual but the acid of the lemon counteracted this. I liked the minced beef and flavoursome braised pork, but the dish as a whole was rather underwhelming and lacking punch and the freshness that is associated with Vietnamese cuisine.
Price: Bargain (also in the 2014/15 Entertainment Book)
Recommendation: Worth Visiting Again
Mama Tran Restaurant Details
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