No. 23 of my 100 fav things in Cabra
Sea snail soup with vermicelli (this is a noodle dish) or Bun Oc , pronounced “boon ook” is definitely a local specialty. So much so, that only one restaurant serves it.
Most restaurants in Cabra serve South Vietnamese dishes and very few restaurants serve Northern Vietnamese cuisine. Like the differences found in the two dialects, clothing, culture etc, there are also subtle differences in the food. Most often you’ll find that they are merely variations of the same dish (eg pho or spring rolls), but a few dishes are native to only North Vietnam.
At Huong Xua you will be able to find all the famous northern dishes. Locals just love it here, almost everyday you will see a line of patrons waiting! This is only one of the two most popular dishes here. I will reveal the second on in a few weeks!
This sea snail soup uses tomato in the soup base, similar to the Bun Rieu (also on the menu also but not the same) soup dish. This dish is slightly more sour and has a spicy kick. The restaurant makes it own fish cakes and fresh sea snails are individually cleaned and prepared. I chose to have the one with minced steamed crab (number 42).
The dish is served with a side sauce of extra shrimp paste and sate (fried chilli oil). Those who love anchovy will appreciate the extra self-administration of potency. Others will ask for it to be removed from the table.
What does sea snail taste like? its chewy and tastes like seafood (like an extra chewy calamari cross with extra chewy abalone).
Its another one of those dishes that you would take a hard-to-impress foodie to. Probably not something I’d introduce to those with a limited food range LOL….just have a look at the pictures below! You got to have an adventurous palate. Once you’ve accepted the notion of consuming marine molluscs then you’ll thoroughly enjoy the flavour.
Will this dish save us from the world’s over fishing dilemma?…probably not, but it would be nice to think that we could eat smaller and uglier seafood than tuna and salmon (yes i did recently watch the documentary “End of the Line”).
Where? Huong Xua, 180 Cabramatta Rd (south of/behind Rise Cafe) 02 9755 0388
How much? $12 (number 42 on the menu)