Quan 802

Jackie McMillan
24th Mar 2024

Unlidded at the table a clay pot reveals cross-sections of caramelised fish. This dish is called cá kho tộ ($26) and you can eat it at Canterbury newcomer, Quan 802. It comes with steamed rice and a plate of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and leaves to break up the richness. We switched out our plain rice for turmeric-hued fried rice, and were happy with the result. 

The restaurant itself is fairly unremarkable — a glass box and collection of folding outdoor chairs and tables — tucked at the base of one of the suburb’s ever expanding collection of high density residential towers. You’d be happy though if it were your building and you could easily pop down the lift for a bowl of satay beef rice noodle soup. It’s called hủ tiếu sa té Mỹ Tho ($21) as it’s the version of this soup made in the city of Mỹ Tho on the Mekong Delta. Mỹ Tho is home to floating markets and tropical fruit trees so the thin slices of plantain shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise (they’re delicious). The soup is flavoursome and buttery with a gentle spike of heat, transparent, chewy rice starch noodles and two different treatments of beef. 

With a supermarket just over the road, you might be after a quick refuel on the way to do the grocery shopping: bún thịt nướng ($19) has your back. It’s a fast-to-arrive bowl of grilled pork, rice noodles, fresh herbs and pickled vegetables bound together with nước mam fish sauce. Throw in a freshly opened coconut ($8) and you’ll be ready to tackle the aisles. While I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again, I reckon Quan 802 fills a gap in the Canterbury dining landscape: the new residents need convenient places to eat out too!