Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Enmore and Surry Hills, you’ll find two Vietnamese street food cafes that go by the name of Great Aunty Three. Both are owned by Michael Le, a Sydney chef and fitness model, B and I recently had the pleasure of meeting.
Michael was born in Vietnam and came to Australia when he was just eight months old. He comes from a family of foodies – his dad and grandmother both were chefs, and many of his uncles and aunties own restaurants and bakeries across Sydney. After spending ten years on the corporate ladder – and despite the hardships his family endured due to the strain caused by his father’s takeaway shop – Michael knew that opening a Vietnamese street food cafe that celebrated both the flavours of his heritage and his family recipes was exactly what he wanted to do. And so, in 2011 Great Aunty Three was born.
Who is Great Aunty Three?
The name – and the cafe – pays homage to Michael’s grandmother, a talented chef and the original owner of many of the recipes Great Aunty Three uses today. It’s her face that stars in the logo, and is a feature on the wall of the Surry Hills location.
All the Vietnamese street food we ate at Great Aunty Three
We stopped by the Surry Hills location to meet Michael, chat about his journey and, of course, try the Vietnamese street food on offer at Great Aunty Three. They promise to deliver “food that is inspired by the amazing and delicious Vietnamese street food experience in Vietnam, made with love, care and attention to detail using locally sourced fresh seasonal produce with a modern twist”. And that’s exactly Great Aunty Three does. The food is – as far as I can tell – the perfect combination of authentic and modern, and every dish we tried was delicious.
We were absolutely spoilt with a huge selection of Vietnamese street food dishes to try, and can genuinely say that we enjoyed every one of them.
Here’s what we ate:
We tried the beef pho, which is made using a treasured family recipe that Michael only trusts to very few people. Cooked for over twelve hours, it features both beef fillets and beef brisket as well as coriander, shallots, hoisin sauce and fresh chilli. We loved this pho – it’s generous on ingredients and jam-packed with flavour.
We also tried three different rice paper rolls (goi cuon), a classic Vietnamese street food dish. All three were amazing – super fresh and full of flavour.
Special of the Day
The special of the day was soft shell crab served with a super flavoursome sauce and fried bread to soak it up with. I can’t remember what this was called or exactly what the flavours were, but I can remember that the soft shell crab was cooked to perfection and that everything about this dish was delicious.
We also tried one of Great Aunty Three’s Vietnamese noodle salads (bun), which is one of my all-time favourite salads. This one was topped with barramundi, which I haven’t tried or even seen on a menu before. With fresh ingredients and a punchy dressing, this salad ticked all the right boxes as far as I’m concerned.
Coconut Sinh To
It might sound weird, but I think my favourite dish wasn’t a dish at all. It was this coconut frappe.
Words cannot describe how much I loved this drink. It was refreshing, sweet-but-not-too-sweet and so full of flavour.
Michael told me that he and his wife had a similar drink on a trip to Thailand and loved it so much that they spent months trying to replicate it. This is as close as they could get it, and even though I haven’t tried the original drink, I think this coconut frappe was damn near-perfect. In fact, I’d say it’s worth going to Great Aunty Three for the coconut frappe alone. It’s that good.
All in all, it was a really delicious dinner and B and I left stuffed and incredibly happy.
Would we go again?
Definitely. And, since Great Aunty Three offer delivery through people like Foodora, it looks like we’ve found our new takeaway Vietnamese place