An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

Bankstown is a large suburb with an even larger reputation. Ask your average Sydneysider what's in Bankstown and they'll probably ...

Phát Pizza: Bankstown

Bankstown is a large suburb with an even larger reputation. Ask your average Sydneysider what's in Bankstown and they'll probably talk about hektik burnouts, getting stabbed, kebabs and many other fine Western Sydney stereotypes. This post only explores a small fraction of this suburb, but it was enough to leave me pleasantly surprised.

Bankstown

My entry to Bankstown was a short walk from the much lesser known Mount Lewis. The border into one of the suburb's residential streets is marked with a small reserve overrun by bin chickens.

Having suburbsed five suburbs before this, I was quite hungry and so my goal was to get into the nearby town centre ASAP for a meal. This one residential street was still enough to show me a few interesting houses though.

I liked this small and cute house with a complimentary oven outside.

And the curves on this house make me think along the lines of what I imagine people in the 1950s thought the year 2000 would look like.

This street dumped me off onto the traffic of the suburb's most major road which, for some reason, is just called Stacey St.

I continued along, past Bankstown Central shopping centre and eventually hit Bankstown McDonald's. You just know that a whole lot of antics have to have gone down at Bankstown Maccas.

The golden arches wouldn't be feeding me today though, so I kept moving towards my goal.

Just a little down the road from here is this attractive but somewhat out of place building. 

This is Bankstown Civic Tower and what I can only assume is Bankstown City Council's attempt at pretending to be an actual city. It's OK Bankstown, I don't need you to pretend just for me.

Next door is this funky building, which turned out to be the city library.

The suburb's "centre point" is this very pleasant park we had to have. This is Paul Keating park, obviously named after the former PM.

But I was a hungry boy with no time to dilly-dally so I kept moving.

Would my lunch be a burger and/or snack pack? Not today. (Besides, any place that writes HSP on the sign is too hipster to make a proper snack pack anyway.)

Another option for my meal was Lebanese pizza from this baker which is also another proud member of "I sell every item on the planet". Again, not today.

The place I was headed to is on the other side of the tracks, so I made my way through the train station. On the way, I passed this coaching college where you can enrol children to cram mathematics before they're even in kindergarten. Why.

Once I was on the south-side of the station, I continued making a bee-line to lunch.

Just in front of the station is a Smith Family Store. Fun fact, when I was a wee-lad, I knew that the Smith Family was a charity which helped the less fortunate. However, I thought that in order for them to help you, you had to change your last name to Smith and that is why Smith is such a common last name.

Apart from that though, this side of Bankstown seems to be decidedly Vietnamese, with the majority of stores having Vietnamese language writing at least somewhere on their sign.

This Vietnamese butcher boasts their wide range of meats for sale, including deer meat, crocodile meat, rabbit meat and goat. Strangely, they've picked the cutest pictures in the world to advertise this fact. I'll happily eat any animal (at least once), but it's better if you don't make them adorable beforehand.

Finally, my destination.

This is Thanh Van restaurant. A friend of mine had put a picture of a meal from here up on Instagram a few months ago (before I even started this blog). That enticed me mark to this place on my map in case I found myself in the neighbourhood.

I ordered this noodle soup.

The kind lady serving me warned me "This is combination everything, it has stomachs and hearts, can you eat that?"

Now, just a couple paragraphs ago I said I would eat Bambi and bunnies, so I'd be a hypocrite not to eat a heart. She also asked if I needed a fork or if I knew how to use the chopsticks provided, so I got the impression that this place doesn't get too many non-Vietnamese visitors.

This was amazing.

Now this isn't a food blog so bear with me, but the clear broth was fantastic and the combination everything was fine (it all tasted like meat to me).

If you're in the neighbourhood, go give it a try. If you're not in the neighbourhood, make your way to the neighbourhood and give it a try.

When paying my bill, the lady seemed bemused that a foreigner like me ate it all and liked it. I feel proud.

After leaving the restaurant, I found out that I was in "Saigon Place", which explains all of the Vietnamese stores around.

Full, satisfied, and with sore feet, it was now time for me to head back home.

Backtracking through Saigon Place, I passed this multi-lingual environmental mural, featuring a manic raindrop and children scrounging through rubbish.

More interestingly though, I passed this sculpture memorialising the many Vietnamese refugees who risked and lost their lives to get here by boat. A very interesting contrast to the current political climate about "the boats".

After all, without those boat people, you wouldn't get to burn your face off with $3.50 pork rolls.

I finally made my way back into the station to head home, passing this striking artwork along the way.

Bankstown: Fully sik, but not in the way you'd think.

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