The best cuisine outside of Vietnam

JOHN ROZENTALS takes great joy in pigging out on some great Vietnamese tucker ... the world's best he reckons.

There are no two ways about it. The Mekong is one of the world's great rivers.

It is the 12th largest of the natural waterways on our planet and competes directly with China's Yangtze, India's sacred Ganges and Myanmar's mighty Irrawaddy for the title of greatest Asian river.

Look, I've eaten Vietnamese food in Vietnam, from the famous street food of Hanoi though the delights of central Vietnam's Hoi An to the up-market establishments of Saigon, also known these days as Ho Chi Minh City, named after the country's greatest hero and leader through what the locals call the American War.

I've also eaten plenty of Asian food in Australia, mainly in Sydney, but also in places such as Queensland's Sunshine Coast and Moruya.

Mainly I've found the experiences in both countries very pleasant and rewarding ones, but I admit that the closest I've come to Vietnamese "haute cuisine" has been the Mekong, in inner-Sydney's Chippendale.

It really is a sensory overload.

John Rozentals

There, the head chef, Tiw Rakarin, has constructed a delectable menu of entrées and main courses, and, appropriately, the restaurant shares its name with the mighty river.

The restaurant is located in Kensington Street, the culinary heart of arguably Sydney's mightiest urban renewal, which has involved the restoration of a series of houses, factories and pubs into houses, restaurants, art spaces and pubs. Mainly, take away the factories.

Kensington Street is home to great restaurants such as Holy Duck and Barzaari, and is also location for that renowned strip of cheap oriental eats, Spice Alley.

Dishes such as grilled turmeric catfish and Burmese king prawns are to die for; dishes such as grilled scallops and chunky beef-brisket curry are to fight over.

It really is a sensory overload. Well done, Tiw.

  • Disclosure: John Rozentals was guest of the Mekong.

IF YOU GO:

  • The Mekong: Level 2, 14 Kensington St, Chippendale
  • (02) 9282 9079
  • www.mekong-restaurant.com.au.
  • www.destinationnsw.com.au.