I only managed to try the popular Vietnamese restaurant, Tu Do, in O’Connor very recently to the chagrin of my foodie friends. Located at the O’Connor shops, Tu Do was not hard to find and filled with diners. The restaurant was a lot more modern than expected – I loved the dark timber floorboards. It took a few minutes to get some service as there was only one person working the floor. The menu had Vietnamese staples such as pho (starting from $12), bun cha, and com tam, as well as other items more common on a Chinese menu such as satay, sweet and sour, and black bean dishes. I noticed a garlic rice option which I haven’t really seen anywhere else besides Filipino restaurants. I’ve been told that the fried chicken wings were a must-eat so I made sure to order it.
The marinated pan-fried wings ($7) come in a set of 6, had wonderfully crispy skin and was juicy inside. I happened to have watched BD Wong’s how to eat chicken wings clip (you must watch, I’ve been doing it wrong all these years), so I was ready and equipped with my new found chicken wing eating knowledge. The wings came with ‘special sauce’ – some kind of soy/vinegar/chilli combination. It tasted amazing and I found myself dunking the entire wing into the too-small sauce bowl to coat it thoroughly. I soon gave up and just poured it over the wings instead. It gave the wings that extra oomph of flavour – a bit of heat from the chilli and some kick from the vinegar. I didn’t think I could finish 6 chicken wings on my own, especially when I had a main coming, but I did. Finger-lickin good. The wings must be popular as I noticed diners at the other tables were also eating them.
For my main, I was in the mood for com tam. This literally translates into ‘broken rice’ and I believe it used to be eaten by farmers who couldn’t sell their broken rice grains. This dish ($12) consisted of broken rice with grilled pork chop, crab meat pate (kind of like an Asian meatloaf), thinly shredded pork, fresh side salad and nuoc cham sauce. I added a fried egg ($1.50) as well as it’s just not the same without the egg. This pork chop came already sliced, some other places just provide the whole chop intact. The chop had been left in a flavourful marinade but the meat wasn’t as tender as I’d expected. The ‘meatloaf ‘ consists of minced meat, eggs, cellophane noodles and mushrooms. Its steamed to set, before applying a thin layer of egg yolk on top. There’s always a small slice of this served on the plate. When my mum used to make this at home, I’d always grab about 3 slices to myself as its one of my favourite items. Tudo’s meatloaf was fluffy and just as good as how mum makes it. I usually pour half the nuoc cham over the chop, meatloaf and rice. Yum yum.
I dined solo during this trip so I must go back with a group of friends to sample more dishes. Service although slow at the beginning, was great. Tap water was brought out immediately after ordering my meal, and the food was extremely quick in coming out. The com tam arrived at my table half way through eating my chicken wings but I didn’t mind. The restaurant was quite small so bookings are recommended especially on weekends.
Tu Do is situated at 7 Sargood Street at the O’Connor shops. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.
Value for money 10/10
FPJ score 25.5/30
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