-> A new favorite. Look, everybody knows that Pho tai (beef noodle soup) at Pho Pasteur is no longer the best Pho in Sydney. I happen to agree with that - the quality DID start to decline since late 2006 - early 2007. However, I think their spring roll can still kick any other spring rolls' tushy - at least compared to other Vietnamese restaurants in the City area.
-> I kind of miss those metal drip filter thingy they used to serve coffee on most Vietnamese restaurants. I mean, that's the fun part of having Vietnamese coffee.
BTW, I can't really stand this type of super strong coffee. It's even stronger than espresso shots, I think. It's seriously strong, the tannin is even stronger than the sourest raw mango. Everyone in my family has an intolerance towards caffeine - my dad being the least tolerant (even a sip of weak tea can make his heart beat faster than road runner *beep beep*). I happen to be the most tolerant of the bunch, so having coffee every now and then wouldn't kill me. But not THIS one, though - I only have Vietnamese coffee once a YEAR or so.
Having this coffee really reminds me of how people in Southeast Asia really like their coffee strong. Especially construction workers and manual laborers - it is amazing how they can consume these type of coffee twice or thrice a day. And it's not like they add milk or sugar - nonono, real men take their coffee strong and bitter. Those construction workers in Indonesia would drink strong coffee from a small-ish glass, filled to the brim, and coupled with a small curved plate on the bottom of the glass. The curved plate serves as a saucer, and since glasses don't have handles like cups do, people would hold their coffee by the curved plate (since it's hot). They would then pour a small amount of coffee to the curved plate, and sip the coffee from the plate. This way the coffee would cool faster...
Pho Pasteur is somewhat akin to Sederhana Padang Restaurant in Indonesia. Why? Firstly, they're omnipresent. There are lots of restaurant called Pho Pasteur and Sederhana in the world - not only in their respective native countries of Vietnam and Indonesia. For example, Pho Pasteur is available in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as Sydney and Boston. Secondly, it is unclear whether each of these two restaurant 'chains' belongs to a single owner or not.
It IS mysterious.
In the case of Sederhana restaurant, there are so many restaurants called 'Sederhana' in Indonesia - in different cities, different provinces...some people even claimed that a 'Sederhana' restaurant was sighted in the distant Papua province bordering Papua New Guinea. There is no exact standard among these restaurants - some are very well maintained and frequented by the upper society, and some are so pathetic not even bums would want to eat there. Some claim that all the Padang restaurant called 'Sederhana' belongs to the same owner, and some disagree with that.
It IS one of life's greatest mysteries. For Indonesians and Vietnamese out there, any further comments on this issue would be greatly appreciated. Shed some light, people!