It’s been a long time coming since I last caught up with any of my high school friends and what better place to eat at on Good Friday than the restaurant we used to frequent back in high school, Hoa Tran. Now take away the fact that we couldn’t eat anywhere else but in Springvale because it was Good Friday, it was nice to dine at a place that was barely a 10 minutes walk from home. Just a little tip, Springvale is ALWAYS busy on any Australian national or local public holiday. The only time Springvale ever gets a ‘slow’ day is the week after Chinese/Vietnamese New Year. As my friends and I arrived at Hoa Tran, it was no surprise to us that the place was busy.
This compact double story complex where Mac Donalds used to be more than 6 years ago is now and since the day it opened a busy and popular place to dine for those looking for a variety of cheap Vietnamese/Chinese food in large quantities. Serving sizes in Springvale (and like most other restaurants around the area) are quite large and would fill up any one with a large appetite. This is a very important factor to consider if you are, who, like my mum likes to consider the quantity of the food as a determining factor of how the restaurant is. Service is quick and efficient with no fluff. The staff are to the point and will visit your table regularly when you having trouble deciding what to eat just to make sure they don’t waste any time lost.
But onto the food and the pictures you have been waiting for. There were four of us, so we decided to each other something and just share the food. I mean, who could just eat only fried rice or stir fry noodles on their own without a bit of this and that. It is in our culture to eat variety and to share it. That way you can get more out of the experience and it’s a lot more exciting.
Sinh to bo (Avacado smoothie) (above): avocado, condensed milk/sugar and ice. This sugary, buttery smooth concoction is always good to have on a hot summer day. Minus the sugar content it’s the avocado is great for your skin. My friend custom ordered a Vegetarian fried egg noodle dish (no.164) $12.50 (above) because of Good Friday and she had to be vegetarian for one day. The dish was a little oily but the generosity of the vegetables it was served with was nice to see. Below we have the (In house) Hoa Tran fried rice (no.38) $12.00 with salted fish, chicken, Chinese sausage and prawn which was delicious. This one dish had enough rice to serve 2-3 people though. The mountain of rice was huge and tasty, albeit a little bit salty and oily. Such a conflicting review I’m giving, only because if I was to make it at home, I’d need to tweak it a little. Hey, when you have been eating ‘clean’ for a while your sense of taste just becomes real sensitive to things like this.
Another friend ordered a vegetarian noodle dish but this time I think it was the Soy sauce fried egg noodles (no.179) $10.50 (above). A very shiny dish, with the component consisting of noodles and not enough vegetables, but that’s just how the dish is. I wouldn’t have ordered it but my friend likes stir fried noodles and prefers the noodles over vegetables. Which brings me to the thing about restaurant reviews. All reviews are in some way biased, and that is a fact of life depending on the person’s personal tastes. I can’t say that I don’t like noodles, because trust me I do but again it was just too oily. It’s not something I’d be able to eat everyday, when you should be able to if lets say you made it at home. To accompany the rice, my friend and I decided on the sizzling Beef stir fry with snow peas, capsicum and onion with Peking sauce (no.282) $18.50 (below). The beef was very soft and tender with a slightly chew consistency that matched the sticky sauce in which it was sitting in. Again a very oily dish, but good in small quantities and a decent amount of the fried rice per mouthful will reduce the oiliness just a little. I picked at all the vegetables though since no one else was interested in it.
And here is the table spread. A decent variety of tasty oily and salty food. In all honesty if you’re on a healthy eating plan or lifestyle, either just forget about coming here or order something that is more salad focused like their rice noodles with springrolls/BBQ meats that are served with fish sauce dressing and lettuce salad or pick at the vegetables and eat from the least shiny dish dabbling into the meats occasionally. Just my 0.02. Also because the portion sizes of such meals are quite large sharing is very caring and good for the waist too I might add.
Overall, I would come back for quick cheap takeaway and if my friends wanted to catch up. I would not eat a dish on its own if I was to order something but would rather have the dish plus add some of my own things on the side from home. Hoa Tran is a definitely a place to eat and check out if you like this kind of food, and I would come back on the rare occasion if some day to order something I couldn’t be bothered making at home or I become a redundant cook down the track.