My grey nomad in-laws recently moved into the caravan park in Sunshine which I took as the perfect opportunity to try and find some new Western suburban gems. After spending the afternoon trawling through Consider the Sauce and Footscray Food Blog and Urbanspoon I really wasn't much the wiser on where we should go. What I mean is, blogs like CTS and FFB serve a wonderful purpose in telling you about great new places but then I often make the mistake of reading more about these places on Urbanspoon which it seems these days is mostly dedicated to tearing places down and leaving you less certain of whether to visit them or not. In this instance That's exactly what happened and I decided to take the safe option and go with a tried and tested favourite - Quan Viet in Braybrook. On the way there I used my phone to google the address for my in-laws and a wonderful thing happened. Google suggested some other places nearby - one of which was Sang's Takeaway Food restaurant in Maidstone. One more click and I learned that Kenny had visited previously and given it the thumbs up and that was enough for me! Change of plans - we're going to Sang's in Maidstone.
When you arrive at Sang's you will be greeted by owner Duc whose attentive service is second only to his passion for what he is doing. I sat watching him patiently explain to some customers that 'yes we do sell Chinese food but we don't have sweet and sour pork although we do have a lot of other delicious dishes'. And he is absolutely right about that. For me it's a sign of a great menu when I get completely overexcited and order way too much food. Cue list of over-ordered but amazing meals.
The first dish to arrive was Vietnamese Papaya Salad with Prawns. This dish is that typical Viet combination of lovely presentation and fantastic flavours and wonderful texture. From memory this was around $16, a bargain for such a great dish, and a deceptively large serving. These days I mostly tend to eat the Thai Papaya Salad Som Tum but on tasting this dish I was reminded that my introduction to green papaya was via this dish from Luke Nguyen's book Songs of Sapa.
The next dish was Honey Chicken but not as you know it, this is Sang's Vietnamese style Honey Chicken and it is superb! Think succulent juicy chicken with a sweet slightly charred crust. Add a bowl of sweet chilli sauce and you've got dipping heaven baby! Loved this dish, it was also $16 and quite large. On my next visit this dish and the papaya salad will be the first two items ordered.
One of the first dishes that stood out on the menu wall of photos (I love a good photo menu wall) was the Banh Xeo. This dish is apparently named after the sound the crepe mixture makes when it hits the hot pan, think Seeeee-ow! At $10 it is easily one of the cheapest Banh Xeo you will find and this was right up there with the best of them. It seems to be a dish that has a few different variations but this style is similar to that served at Quan Viet, a lot of places make a huge crepe almost 50 cms across that is quite sparse on fillings. This versions is the opposite - short, fat and delicious. It comes with a pile of herbs and lettuce for wrapping up bits of crepe and stuffing them in your mouth. The whole process is pretty messy, the box of tissues on the tables really comes in handy!
This last dish is Salt and Pepper Fried Fish, the type of fish was specified but I didn't take close note and therefore forgot. What I didn't forget was the fantastic light and crispy batter that the fish was encrusted in. I often see (and order) salt and pepper squid at Vietnamese restaurants and this was just as good, possibly better. Hey, I love any excuse to eat sweet chilli sauce! I also ordered a huge serving of fried rice but am obviously a bit out of blogging practice these days and completely forgot to take a photo. If you live out West or are just visiting I highly recommend dropping to Sang's, the pricing is excellent and the food is even better.