One day while we were in search of some pho, we stumbled upon Bun Rach Gia Vietnamese Noodle House, Springvale. It was the first time in a long while where we had just randomly chosen a restaurant, without previewing the menu or reading reviews online. I didn't really know what to expect but in a way, it was quite exciting!
We were greeted presumably by the owner, a very friendly man who took the time to explain the menu and recommend dishes. We told him that we were after pho, but he informed us it wasn't available as they served Southern Vietnamese cuisine. It was the first time someone had told me that there were variations in cuisine between different parts of the country. How ignorant of me! I always assumed that pho should taste the same in any Vietnamese restaurant, but a long but interesting read on Wikipedia later told me otherwise.
We weren't really sure what to order, so he recommended the vermicelli rice noodles in special shrimp soup. He warned us that it had a strong smell, but it was delicious and a dish with a difference. He was so confident with his recommendation that he said he wouldn't charge us for it if we didn't enjoy it, so of course we decided to give it a try.
The dish came and he was definitely right about the smell. We didn't mind it though, as we have had plenty of exposure to belacan in Malaysia. We added bean sprouts and another vegetable (they looked like green shredded stems - can someone identify this?) to the soup and dug in. It was so tasty! The noodles were smooth, and all the ingredients in the soup such as prawns, squid and especially the pork were so fresh.
The other dish he recommended was satay beef rice paper rolls. They were huge! These were nice, but not exceptional.
I can't comment on the authenticity of the dishes but they were delicious, especially the shrimp noodle soup. You will receive a satisfying meal at fair prices, so drop in if you're around!