Melbourne city is populated with a huge population of Asian, and as many other Western countries, a decent portion of those Asians are Vietnamese for obvious reasons if you’ve ever watched Nam: Tour of Duty (which also has the awesome title song – Paint it Black).
While Victoria Street north of Richmond, some 2km away from Central Business District has the most Vietnamese restaurants, there are quite a number of them right at the city center too, and none can be more famous than Mekong Vietnam at Swanston in CBD. I just had to go there since Mell was raving about it ever since I knew her.
so Bill Clinton had 2 bowls, I had one.
The restaurant is like many typical Asian outfits, with almost no effort spent in interior decoration, just lines of tables and chairs to maximize the number of patrons at any one time.
The one distinction at Mekong are the walls. Instead of low grade artworks, they have photos. Photos of many famous people who dined here, including Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and even Bill Clinton (the restaurant claims that the President had two bowls of pho)
there’s always free water or tea at restaurants
The menu is typical of many Vietnamese restaurants, with pho (rice noodle soup), cold spring rolls, hot spring rolls, rice, vermicelli, some sides, and drinks. The pho dishes are priced at $8 and $9 (big) while the most expensive vermicelli dishes (those with spring rolls and meat) at $11.50.
pho with beef and plenty of tendon, yums
As usual, I ordered a bowl of Pho with tendon, tripe, and brisket while Mell got the version with raw slice beef. We also had some free hot tea to go with the noodles, I love the fact that almost all restaurants will serve you either tea or water for free around here.
The soup was pretty mild at Mekong and the pho used was actually just the normal “kueh teow” type instead of the more traditional Vietnamese noodle that is slightly harder in texture. However, the tendon, tripe, and the meat were all very tender and juicy. The overall taste was actually rather good, especially after asking the server for more basil (as I usually do anywhere outside Vietnam).
we certainly enjoyed our pho
It was actually a very satisfying meal, warm soupy dishes with cold weather always go very well together. $18 for 2 person is also pretty cheap for a meal in the city short of fast food joints.
Mekong is just a block off QV and Melbourne Central
241 Swanston St,
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: 03 9663 3288