During our trip we spent a few days in Sydney, and, predictably, ate a lot.

I was so hoping to follow in the footsteps of K and Toby, and Michael and Cyndi, but alas, all the Iku’s were closed, as was Mother Chu’s, Naked Espresso, and a few of the city places (I can’t remember right now).

We did go to Bodhi in Park for yum cha, which was slightly disappointing, to Basil Pizza, which was fab, to Peace Harmony, which was exceptionally good, Funky pies, which was our saviour at Bondi, and to Green Gourmet, which had yummy sweets.

I don’t have photos, as my camera had run out of batteries at this point in the holiday, and I don’t feel that these places need yet another review, however there is one place in Sydney that we feel needs a bit of a shout out.

Happy Vegan, Cabramatta

Mr and I found Happy Vegan by accident, while looking for a different vegan restaurant that had promised us was the closest one “on the way” from Canberra to Newcastle.

It is tucked down a side street off John St in Cabramatta, is decorated in lime green, and is a fabulous Vietnamese vegan oasis we’re so glad to have found. We now make a pilgrimage to Happy Vegan every time we drive to visit my Mum in Newy.

The menu is diverse, and has a lot of dishes I hadn’t seen before (not hard, as all the pre-vegan Vietnamese food I had was in Canberra – read stir fry, curry, and some feaux-Chinese), and some seriously cool drinks.

We have tasted the Tom Yum, which is sweet and spicy but good, most of the tofu and mock dishes, and one of the vermicelli dishes. They’re all good.

This time we had the broken rice with vegan egg and vegan sausage, which came with no fewer than 5 mock meats, as well as vegetables and fried onion, as well as some lemongrass fried mock with vegies, for a more familiar treat.

The mock egg was quite egg-ish, and the other “meats” were good, although I couldn’t recognise most of them (where I grew up all take away was pizza or honey chicken, so I don’t have a great omni grounding in recognising non western meats).

The fried gluten was fantastic, as always, and came with many vegies, which is just what we needed.

Broken rice with vegan egg
Lemongrass gluten

I also had a lemon juice (OMG my favourite), and Mr had his favourite, a drink called Dried Fruit with syrup, which actually has seaweed, agar jelly, chickpeas, lychees, dates, ice, syrup and a few unknown things, and comes in a fish bowl glass:

Dried fruit in syrup

We love this place – the only thing we’ve tried and didn’t like was the soup, and that’s just because its a little sweet to our tastes.

A few things to look out for: although it is called Happy Vegan, this place isn’t actually entirely vegan – the drinks may have milk, and all the desserts are dairy, so be careful to ask. The staff don’t have high levels of English, which is fine as they now have an exhaustive printed menu and do know about dairy. The menu doesn’t indicate what is for breaky, lunch or dinner, and we can’t tell, so we have run into a lot of “no” when ordering at odd times of day, finding some dishes are only made at certain times, and run out as they’re popular, particularly the rice paper rolls.

I definitely suggest you go if you’re ever heading Sydney way who has the time to pop out to Cabramatta.

Happy Vegan, Shop 11, Belvedere Arcade, 66-68 John Street


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