Skip to main content

Saigon Senses - Wollongong Central NSW

It was the interior deco that caught my eye as well.  There were far and few in between Asian food outlets in the Wollongong area when I first moved there many years ago, perhaps a few Indian and Indo-Chinese ones selling pan -Asian menus.   Now that the demographic diversity of the greater Sydney Basin is more reflected in gastronomic choices in this seaside town, I can now cite three recently opened places selling the pork roll ala Vietnam - the Quay Canteen at Crown Street Mall, the Bakery Boys at lower Crown Street and now Saigon Senses.

And yes, the belly pork roll which I had as takeaway at Saigon Senses is the clear winner - wholesomely generous, bursting with flavour and brimming with the garnish of pickled slices of crunchy veg.  Roast belly pork per Vietnamese recipe is closer to the Cantonese version than to those in Spain, Germany or Italy.  maybe it is the added spices for taste, perhaps it is the French effect with a baguette - make your choice as to multigrain, wholemeal or more.   The meat is tender here, well cooked for the palate, better than pulled pork and the crispy crackle is the bonus of the experience.

There is only a simple menu here, but easily divided in to wraps, soups, rice dishes, vermicelli and rolls.   Normally I gyrate towards the combination of broken rice, served with side garnish and a well charcoal grilled meat like chicken or pork chop, but here they have beef as an option as well.  This one plate combination is a good idea for a lunch time selection and can be a take away.  I am not partial to those mixtures of meat and dry vermicelli but do like the wraps, especially those packed tight with fresh veg and ingredients like prawns and bite-sized meat cubes.

 I had one evening walked into Saigon Senses, knowing it had closed up for the day,and said hi to Mr. Bao Dang, who is one of the co-owenrs of Saigon Senses with Ms. Thuy Huynh. This affable young man has a natural smile - and when I next dropped by on a nearly lunch hour, Bao seemed to do everything in preparing the food for me.  Easygoing, Bao was efficient in getting the orders from other customers.  I like the way Bao displays the bread rolls as if it is in a French cafe.   Both Bao and Thuy left behind their training and career in IT and education to go into the food business - they previously operated at the food court in Wollongong Central.

I have yet to try the Vietnamese meatballs, an interesting choice that plays on the Wollongong market's penchant for meatballs from such diverse places as Italian  restaurants and Subway rolls.
One thing that stood out is the lemongrass flavoured tofu - soy being essentially neutral in taste, this brings a rather Thai twist - lemongrass is also available for beef.    The roll I may go for on a next visit is one containing mayonnaise and egg.

The iconic item of pho served here relies on its gentle soup stock, not over powering with five spice powder but simmering along easy on the palate like a slow boat along a quiet stretch of Halong Bay.    Pho as you know originated from the Hanoi area  - there is an image of an elephant and farmland vista from Sapa on the wall of  Saigon Senses.   I found the breast meat cuts woody and not as juicy tender as I have had at some other cafes in a few Sydney suburbs.

 Saigon Senses is located on the ground floor of the GPT Shopping centre in Wollongong Central, opposite Coles supermarket and one floor above the car park level.
Address is 200 Crown Street, Wollongong NSW.
Saigon Senses is open every day from 10am to 4pm.
Contact +61 403 831 368

Saigon Senses Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Popular posts from this blog

Chung Ling Alumni Association Petaling Jaya Klang Valley

Telephone Contact:  +603 7957 0318

85 Degrees Bakery Cafe Hurstville NSW

There are several outlets of this bakery cafe for several years now in Australia.  Did they coem from the USA?

Each franchised outlet is in a busy area, often in suburbs so-called by a diverse Asian demographic.   The one in Hurstville is rather roomy and lots of baked stuff on its shelves.   The base of Sydney operations is in Chester Hill, a suburb south-west of the Sydney city centre.

Some of the cake creations would be viewed as rather leaning on the East Asian dimension  - Strawberry Angel (with chocolate base and top) and Mango Cheese ( with yoghurt).   However, to counter this perspective, there are also Death by Chocolate, US Cheesecake, Coffee Brulee and Blueberry Marble options.    

The pastries are definitely filled with ingredients more suited to perhaps Anime loving fans and non-mainstream cultures - for example, garlic, pork, tuna, green tea, red bean, shallots, pork floss, coconut, Hokkaido butter cream and Boroh or pineapple buns.   Sung seems to be a variation emphasised…

Penang - Lor Mee

Lor mee is another of those street foods that are not commonly available in Western societies, but are easily found in southern China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The dish is iconic of the Teochew Province in China and has been mainly brought to equatorial climes by immigrants over the last few centuries. It combines snippets of ingredients in a thick savoury sauce. Above, the lor mee with roast pork and sliced hard boiled egg accompaniments at the Fong Sheng Cafe, along Lorong Selamat in Georgetown, Penang - the place was introduced by May Wah and Henry Quah.

The cafe harks back to the seventies or eighties - and maybe earlier - what caught my eye were (above) freshly blended fruit and/or vegetable juices and (below) metal and plastic contraptions of the food trade.

Hot and cold drinks are easily on offer from the cafe (above and below) at very reasonable prices.

Another version of the dish (below) taken whilst Bob Lee was enjoying them in another cafe or coffee shop in Georgetown…