I recently returned from Vietnam where I learnt that pho is the country’s blandest noodle soup. Sacrilegious, I know, but it led me to Hem 27, which specialises in regional noodle soups. ‘Hem’ means alleyway, but this one is in a car park. There’s a banh mi counter upon entry and small tables with bag baskets beneath the stools. Fighting menu FOMO I order banh canh cua, a big bowl of creamy orange crab broth with chewy tapioca noodles, fish cakes, sliced pork and a soft shell crab.
Holiday memories flood back as we eat chao tom (shrimp cake wrapped in fried tofu skin) and banh beo, steamed rice flour disks scattered with sweet pork mince – both doused in pungent house fish sauce. Banh flan, Vietnamese creme caramel, transports me to Saigon’s dessert carts. BYO is welcome, but try the orange juice soda with egg and condensed milk that tastes like sherbet. I didn’t manage to eat everything overseas, but Hem 27 in multicultural Melbourne lets me continue the gastronomic gallivant from home.
Best for: Adventurous eaters looking to expand their Vietnamese repertoire.
- Shop 27 380/320 Epsom Road, Flemington
- 9376 2961