Ha Long Bay
Phone: 9429 3268
Open Daily 10am-3pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
Ha Long Bay is one of the slew of Vietnamese restaurants along Victoria St which I don’t normally frequent. The name implies a Northern Vietnamese cuisine, which is quite evidently lacking once you peruse the menu. This is probably due to the fact that the vast majority of Vietnamese migrants who settled in Australia after the ‘American War’ were from the defeated South, so the cuisine that has developed here reflects that.
Nonetheless, Ha Long Bay is my cousin’s favourite restaurant along the strip, so I was sure it had to have something going for it. After all, she’s been to Viet Nam many times, and her mother makes possibly some of the best Vietnamese food I’ve eaten in Australia.
I ordered the bun mam (pronounced ‘buun-maam’) which is rice vermicelli with various bits of seafood (and sometimes, as in Ha Long Bay’s case, pork) and tofu in a broth flavoured redominantly with fermented, salty fish. Sadly, Ha Long Bay’s bun mam lacked the pungent saltiness which is really what you’re after when you order it.
Ha Long Bay probably does warrant a return visit, but care needs to be taken when choosing from the extensive menu. There may be a few gems there, but there’s also a lot of pedestrian fare.