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10 August 2017
Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures that has made this city a gastronomic delight for locals and visitors. As more Australians travel to South East Asia, their taste for asian food has resulted in some of the best asian restaurants in Melbourne to pop up and in recent times, a number of Vietnamese restaurants are making their mark in the Melbourne food scene. With rice being the base ingredient for many of the dishes, it meets the needs of those with dietary requirements well. With a population of just over 80,000 Vietnamese people in Victoria, Vietnamese cuisine remains traditional with the younger chefs adding their modern twist to some favourites.
Here are some of ours in no delicious order
#1 Miss Chu
For bite size goodness, Miss Chu has three locations around the city that offers hawker style Vietnamese food. Known as the ‘Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’, founder Nahji Chu brings her heritage to tiger prawn and green mango or roast duck rice paper rolls, steamed dumplings, vermicelli noodle salads and spring rolls that are quick and easy to eat or for takeaway. The food is contemporary but at an affordable price with an atmosphere that is lively and fun if dining in their premises.
#1 Pho Hung Vuong Saigon
For a steamy bowl of pho (beef soup), chopsticks down a short train ride to Footscray (Sunbury line from Flinders Station) will find you slurping the fragrant broth. The line out the door is a good sign the pho is worth the 5-10 minute wait for a table. Choose from the traditional rare beef or chicken pho with our favourite being the rare beef and beef balls. For the more adventurous, the combination pho with offal. If you don’t want to venture outside of the city, Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam on Swanston Street happily boasts on its restaurant front window that former President Bill Clinton slurped his way through two bowls of their Pho!
Dining at Uncle is a unique experience where fusion of the traditional and the contemporary results in flavours that work. Though not always traditional Vietnamese, the dishes pack a punch and is a nice welcomed change to the traditional. On the menu, you’ll find limed cured hapuka, crispy pig ears banh mi and master stock crispy pork hock. With its first restaurant situated in St Kilda, Uncle has recently opened its Collins Street venue, which is just a free tram ride away from us.
#3 Jadin Tan
If you happen to be strolling through the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne and feeling peckish, the Observatory Café has been transformed into Jadin Tan by Shannon Bennett of hatted Vue de Monde fame. With the focus on farm to table, which is the essence of Vietnamese cuisine, Shannon and his team have infused their own interpretations into their French Vietnamese dishes. Open for breakfast and lunch, diners can feast on Vietnamese congee, Banh Cuon (rice flour minced pork rolls) and Banh Xeo (crispy Vietnamese pancake).
#4 Banh Mi (baguette)
The on the go roll is no longer ham cheese tomato. Think crackling roast pork, fried chicken, pork meatballs (nem nuong) or even the traditional pork roll with bursts of flavour goodness. The banh mi is a tasty option if you’re after a quick lunch that leaves you satisfied and spare change for more shopping. Located within walking distance from our hotel is N.Lee Bakery and Little Brother, both a lunch time favourite with workers.
Although this isn’t a restaurant, boarding tram 109 from Collins Street will lead you to Victoria Street, Richmond or ‘Little Saigon’. A wide selection of traditional Vietnamese restaurants are in abundance and alongside them are grocery markets and butchers selling fresh produce for the Vietnamese community. Dishes to try include Com Tam (broken rice), Bun thit nuong (Vermicelli with grilled pork) or Bun Bo Hue (Spicy beef soup) are some of our favourites.
For more dining options in Melbourne, speak to Reception for their go to restaurants in Melbourne.