Back In The USSR

Nam Giao
4 Lightwood Rd
Springvale VIC 3171
+61 3 9548 2232

The Monash law faculty sent me an email earlier this week to let me know that there was going to be some information session on Friday (today) which I thought was a) annoying because I had already organised my RDO for the month to be held next Thursday and b) because I would’ve felt much better receiving this so-called info session notice via mail rather than a simple email to my hotmail address. After checking the faculty website and deeming the info session to be legit though, I got the go-ahead from my team leader to take a half day off today and another half day off next Thursday (official enrolment date).

And so at 11:30am today, I said “Smell ya laters!” to everyone in the office as they wished me a happy long-weekend (though it won’t be a long weekend for me because I’ll be at Melbourne Park all weekend and then have to do the Chinese New Year thang with Adam’s family). After meeting up with Adam who was kind enough to take me to Monash, we went to Springvale to have lunch at Nam Giao, the place that I had lunch with Dave, Jen and Shirley not long ago. The main reason why I wanted to go there again was because I wanted to try their supposedly awesome bun bo hue (spicy vermicelli and beef soup) which Jen always has every time she goes there. For some reason though, I’m a person who can’t seem to order one bun bo hue for myself and the only way I can actually have it is through stealing spoonfuls from Adam’s bowl. My experience with bun bo hue has been a bit of a rocky one – some places make it too hot for me to be able to enjoy one bowl to myself, some places put all sorts of weird spices that don’t mesh well and some places just make plain awful ones. While pho is generally speaking, well, safe, bun ho hue is a bit of a risky thing for me to order which is why I can never order it myself. Which was why Adam ended up with the bun bo hue today(I might’ve made him order it, but he didn’t put up much of a fight because he loves that stuff anyway) and I ended up with the bun cha gio/thit nuong (rice vermicelli with spring rolls and grilled pork) which was what Dave ordered last time.

Adam’s bun bo hue ($9). Phwaaa, how awesome does this look! Fresh thick vermicelli, slices of beef and pork and all sorts of other wonderful things such as pig’s blood … and a chunk of pig’s knuckle for a bit of flavour. Jen said that she was somewhat nervous when she was about to read my first review of Nam Giao but she will be pleased to know that I EFFING LOVED THIS BUN BO HUE! Rather than stopping at five spoonfuls, I ended up coming back for more… it was so damn good! Obviously the lemongrass dominated but it did not overpower the other ingredients which are equally as important… the chilli, the shrimp paste, the fish sauce and even the little bits of chopped Vietnamese mint all played their role. I was also pleased to note that it wasn’t too hot for my liking. Spicy yes, but not hot. Even Adam said that it was one of the best bun bo hue he’s ever had (though he reckons the best one he’s had is at that place down the road from St Albans library). I don’t want to overhype this dish too much, but I think that I can now start ordering bun bo hue for myself when I’m at Nam Giao now.
My bun cha gio/thit nuong (rice vermicelli with spring rolls and grilled pork) (also $9). Again I was happy with the presentation and the taste of this dish. Although I think Tien Dat in Box Hill makes a better version, this one is still worthy of a credible mention. Generous servings of grilled pork and spring rolls along with a fresh mixture of salad and other herbs made this dish a light yet filling meal. Even tastier with a splashing of nuoc nam and an extra squirt of fish sauce. Delish.
Of course I couldn’t go without trying one of those apple custard smoothies that Jen loves ($3.50, I think). While I will always prefer avocado smoothies over any other smoothie, the apple custard went down a treat on such a warm day. The only gripe about it, however, was that the waiteress brought it out too late… right when I was down to my last few bites . Poor form, guys…. tsk.

Then it was time to go to Monash. A train up to Huntingdale and a quick bus trip ensured that we were at least an hour too early for the information session so Adam and I walked around in order to familiarise myself with the place that I’ll be spending a lot of time for the next 10 billion years or so. Despite being a student at Monash now, I guess I will always be a Melbourne Uni girl at heart because I couldn’t help but diss even the most minute thing every five seconds eg. “The cafes look sucky” and “The grass isn’t pretty” and “The buildings are soooo Soviet Bloc… what fugly brown concrete cubes!” The biggest shock I received, however, was walking into the law building. Monash may pride itself for boasting one of, if not THE, best law school in the country but compared to Melbourne’s sexy-looking law school, the Monash law building just looks tired and weary… then I told myself that I am here not to criticise buildings but to study. And so off to the information session I went with a positive mind.

While I was glad that I wasn’t the only “old” new student there (there was a guy my age who came with his mum ), I did still feel a bit silly wandering amongst the gaggle of 17-year old Brighton blondes and boys fresh out of Xavier College. As for the information session itself? Nothing interesting really… except that we got given our first assignment for Intro To Legal Reasoning which we’re apparently supposed to start before semester one even starts. Fantastic.

Welcome to Monash Libs… you better enjoy it because you’re stuck there for the next x years of your life!

I eat too much.


  1. aliceandrandy
    January 23, 2009

    omgg the food lol. well you still have good food w/o free make up dear ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. True_self_indisguise
    January 23, 2009

    where exactly is this Nam Giao place? I’m so desparate for AUTHENTIC viet food but cant seem to find one, is it within the old part of the shopping centre or outside? the food looks absolutely delish.. i really want to eat that..

  3. tickledpinks_pulitzer
    January 23, 2009

    babe what camera are u using? the photos look REALLY REALLY Good!

  4. mi1kandcerea1
    January 23, 2009

    oh my
    that looks so good

  5. Ms_Moca
    January 23, 2009

    Rice vermicelli with spring rolls is my usual order at any Viet restaurant. I love your “About The Author” description by the way. Keeping it real. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. icesabre
    January 23, 2009

    Hahaha Lib. I can’t bring myself to Bun Bo Hue either, as I usually get a crap one with crap or aged ingredients!!!!

    As for the Bun Cha Gio/Thi Nuong, you can also get it at Indochine on your end of town and I think it was better than Nam Giao’s & Tien Dat’s… Had a lunch at Tien Dat and Indochine this week hehehehehehehehehe. Though no photos of course, my colleagues would’ve been wondering what the bloody heck I was doing!!!

  7. icesabre
    January 23, 2009

    Oh yes Lib, I may be a Monash boy at heart but I can’t help but give Monash a serve too – Melbourne Uni, environment, atmosphere, physical buildings & admin have tonnes more class than Monash ever will!!!!


  8. KeLlY_Siew
    January 26, 2009

    Yummmm!!! I’ve never tried bun bo hue before, usually it’s either beef pho with tonnes on chilli oil or broken rice.

    but seeing your entry, I might just give this one a try!! Woots

    Happy Year of the Moo Moo!!

    And Happy Oz Day!

    January 27, 2009

    @True_self_indisguise – 

    It’s on Lightwood Street, just opposite the train station, so it’s isolated compared to the rest of Springvale.

    @tickledpinks_pulitzer – 

    I’m using a Canon Powershot SX100. Like every other point and shoot cameras though, the main reason why the photos turned out alright was thanks to the bright lighting.

    @icesabre – 

    Oouff I’m going to try the dish at Indochine now. You made me intrigued.

    Melbourne might beat Monash in pretty much all aspects (haha sorry, had to be said), Monash’s law faculty is apparently better than Melbourne’s (in terms of teaching quality)… hmmm…

  10. jtngu8
    February 9, 2009

    WEEEE YAY! SHE LOVED IT!! Haha. I’m SO glad you mentioned this post or else I would never have ended up reading it. We’ll have to go back to Nam Giao again for seconds!! Oh and I laughed at how you said they gave you the apple custard smoothie late. They have a propensity to do that with the drinks for some reason. It was pretty much like that for my 22nd birthday dinner, too; everyone got their refreshments right through the night! Gr.


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