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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / melbourne

With huge influx of international students each year taking advantage of some of the region’s best education system, Melbourne CBD is a place that is heavily influenced by what these students demand. When it comes to food, you can find almost as many Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food as you can with Western/Australian establishments.

Oriental Spoon Korean Cuisine at Melbourne
Oriental Spoon, Korean Cuisine

Oriental Spoon, located just right across Melbourne Central on La Trobe, is one such places. Though labeled Korean Cuisine, like many Asian restaurants around the city, this place has assimilated to the demands of Australian and Asian alike.

What you get is not exactly authentic Korean food, the portions are huge, the kimchi less strong tasting, lesser variety of banchan, and generally tastes that are more “mainstream”. This isn’t something you’ll ever find in Korea, or even the little Korea in Ampang.

banchan, beef casserole, spicy pork bulgogi
banchan, beef casserole, spicy pork bulgogi

While the purists might argue that it is a waste of time visiting a place that served heavily localized (some might even go to the extend of using the word bastardized) food, I prefer to leave the verdict after tasting the food. If Mellissa and friends like this place, it should mean something.

Even though it was a weekday night, Oriental Spoon was already packed when we got there. Customers consist of probably 60% Asian at this place. We waited for some 15 minutes before securing a table.

Korean food at Oriental Spoon, Melbourne
a big pot of boiling beef casserole, best for winter weather

Like most Korean restaurants, they offer a variety of grilled meats such as a few choices of beef, pork belly, and even seafood. There’s also your standard bulgogi, kimchi soup, bibimbap (mixed meal) and so forth.

Even though there was only two of us, we ordered a beef casserole ($30+) and a spicy pork bulgogi ($18 or so) to go with some steamed rice.

There were four types of banchan served, and seriously speaking, none of them worth a mention. The kimchi was especially disappointing.

beef casserole and pork bulgogi
best served with Korean steamed rice

The spicy pork bulgogi though, was absolutely marvelous. Generous portion of fatty stripes of pork soaked in spicy oil with some sesame, onion, and other seasoning makes the dish very rich and succulent but also come with a kick. It was very sinful yet irresistible. The pork went very well with rice.

The beef casserole is a rather huge pot of raw beef, mushroom, vegetable, glass noodle, and other ingredients stewed in a broth right on the table. The soup gets better and better with time and at the tail end of the dinner we had a very sweet and rather tasty broth to go with plenty of beef. It was very good, but it was also a bit too much especially for only 2 person.

Map to Oriental Spoon
Oriental Spoon is located right across Melbourne Central

We ended up having to bag some of the leftovers despite getting ourselves stuffed silly. It was a good meal and decently priced too. However, I think this place is best for a group of 4 and above.

Oriental Spoon is also not for you if you’re interested in really authentic Korean food, but if you want something different but yet still within most people’s comfort zone. This place is worth visiting.

Address:
Oriental Spoon
254 La Trobe St,
Melbourne VIC 3000,
Australia

GPS: -37.810017,144.961467
Tel: 03-9654 9930

On my first trip to Melbourne last April, I tried to avoid food that are available here in Malaysia. I sorta ran out of options rather quickly, so on the second trip, I was ready and more than willing to have some of the meals usually associated with students living here instead.

In a way, instead of having a traditional holiday to Melbourne, I spent the 10 days I was there like a typical student would. I ate the same food, watched a bit of TV series, and even went to a lecture with Mellissa!

Ying Thai 2
Ying Thai 2, rather authentic and very tasty

So when Mell and I were meeting Pinky and Kah Kit, we had it at Ying Thai 2 instead of a place that serves “western” or Australian food. The last we met was April, at Notturno (which happens to be just across the same street), and at Supper Inn for, well, supper.

Ying Thai 2 is a Thai restaurant run by, at the face of it, mostly Thai people. When we got there at around 8pm on a weekday, it was still fully packed. We had to wait for some 30 minutes before securing an alfresco style table. Luckily the outdoor heater was on.

seafood tomyam, green curry, pork with basil leaves
tomyam, green curry, and minced pork with basil

We quickly made our orders, and as usual, being the least picky eater in the group, I let the others do the honor. This also means that I get to enjoy different tastes most of the time, instead of always ordering something I am familiar with.

We asked for 4 dishes: seafood tomyam, green curry chicken, minced pork with basil, and chicken in pandan leave. We also ordered coconut rice instead of normal steamed rice to go with them.

coconut rice and pandan chicken at Ying Thai
coconut rice and chicken in pandan leaves

It took quite a bit to get our food as the place was extremely busy, to make matter worse, we had to deal with the smell that comes off from the restaurant with our empty stomach. It was a torture, but it was also well worth it.

The green curry chicken and the seafood tomyam was no different from those you get at any good Thai restaurants. The curry rich in coconut milk and come with all the ingredients you expect, while the tomyam is not overly spicy, it was full of seafood ingredients and still manage to provide a small kick.

Mellissa, KY, Pinky, and Kah Kit at Ying Thai 2
Mell, KY, Pinky, Kah Kit

The pandan chicken was even better, on par with some of the bests I’ve had. Soft and very flavorful, they go well with the extra fragrant coconut rice, I like the rice a lot more than normal steamed rice or even sticky rice.

However, the best dish of the day had to be the minced pork with basil. It was spicy, it had the flavor of pork, basil (one of my favorite herbs), red chilli, and whatever sauce the chef put in. The result was something with a kick, it was spicy, it was tasty, and it was very addictive.

map to Ying Thai 2 at Lygon Street

It was a good dinner session, with great food and of course, Pinky is one of my favorite persons whom I got to know via Nuffnang over a year ago. Incidentally, Mell worked with Pinky during her internship and that was how we got to know each other.

Address:
Ying Thai 2
110 Lygon St,
Carlton VIC 3053,
Australia

GPS: -37.804329,144.966424
Tel: 03-9639 1697

p/s: I have a few more Melbourne food posts to complete before the memory escapes my mind, so bear with me. :)

When I told a few friends I’m heading to Melbourne on August, the common response was “you have to go to Mt. Buller!”.

Well, since my last ski trip was some 8 years ago back  in Minnesota, I managed to convince Mellissa that we should take this opportunity to ski as it is also the last winter for her in Melbourne. This was my 3rd ski trip.

Ski rental at Mount Buller
ski equipment rental place at the foot of the mountain

We booked our day trip at this very Chinese travel agent on Swanston street called Extragreen and signed up for their package for day trip to Mt. Buller.

My adult ticket for unlimited chair lift and ski equipment was $193 and Mellissa paid $172 for her pass which includes a 2 hour ski lesson and seven char lift pass (student rate). We also ended up paying extra $37 each to rent waterproof jackets and pants which proved to be a necessity.

car park and ski lift at Mt. Buller
this is where we got off the bus and took the chairlift

We had to wake up at 4+ in the morning, got ready and met in the city by 5:45am for the tour bus. By the time we got to the ski equipment rental shop at the foothill of Mt. Buller, it was already around 10am. We decided that it was a good idea to invest $20 for a pair of winter gloves at the shop (another wise idea).

After getting our equipments (ski, poles, boots, jackets and pants), we boarded the bus and finally reached the car park at around 11am. This was where we had to abandoned all our luggage in the bus, changed, and take a rather scary chairlift to the ski area.

KY and Mell skiing!
skiing is of course, loads of fun!

While Mell had her two hour lesson, I went to the green slope (easiest) for a few runs and came back to check her progress from time to time. I managed to fall quite a few times but luckily the snow was quite soft and it wasn’t too cold at around 1-2 Celsius.

After shaking off a bit of rust, I went to explore the other slopes and managed to fall a few more times on the tougher trails. Some of the downhill slopes were just too steep and too fast for me even though it’s supposed to be easy/medium. Oh well.
Lousy hot dog at Mount Buller
absolutely terrible hotdog at the Burnt Hut restaurant

After her lesson we stopped by the Burnt Hut restaurant by the main chairlift to stuff our stomach with some really terrible food, the hotdog and chips were tasteless and cost $8.50 each. Hot chocolate and latte too were horrific and extra expensive, but that’s what you get at places like this I suppose.

Tried to convince Mell to try the green slope but it proved to be a bit too much of a challenge for beginner so we went to the bunny hills for a bit more. I later went to the green slope for a bit more, which kinda upset the young lady cos I abandoned her at Burnt Hill. =/

On the way back, we saw a wombat grazing from 30 meter in the air, that thing was huge. The bus took the scenic route back to Melbourne city and we also spotted a couple kangaroos in the wild. My trip is complete!

It was already 8:30pm when we reached the city, went for a quick dinner at Mekong before heading back for a hot shower and crashed completely. Our bodies are still aching.

Those who have been reading this blog for some time might realise that pho is one of my favorite foods of all time. My love for this simple Vietnamese noodle dish started from my year long stint in Northern Virginia, and later re-enforced from the 9 trips to Vietnam that I made in my previous job.

Pho Dzung at Richmond, VIC
pho Dzung is located in Richmond, VIC

During my previous visit to Melbourne, I visited the very popular Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant right on Swanston Street. While it was pretty good, at least a couple readers commented that the best pho is found in Richmond, the Vietnamese community that is located just a few kilometers away from Melbourne CBD.

So on this second trip to Melbourne, I looked up online and found this Pho Dzung place at Richmond that is said to be one of the bests in this part of the world.

coagulated cow's blood, Vietnamese spring roll
coagulated cow’s blood and Vietnamese spring roll

Mellissa and I took a train from Melbourne Central to North Richmond and walked a few hundred meter to the east on Victoria Street, passing quite a number of other Vietnamese and Asian restaurants, fresh seafood shops, and Asian grocers before reaching no. 208.

At 3pm, Pho Dzung was still packed with people to the point where we had to be seated upstairs. It was definitely the correct place to be.

beef pho at pho dzung
special beef combination pho with plenty of basil leaves and bean sprouts

The menu is rather simple, rice noodle soup with the usual suspects: rare beef, tripe, brisket, tendon, cartilage, meat ball, chicken, and even beef pizzle (yes, beef penis!).

Mell ordered a bowl of beef pho ($7 for small) and I went for the beef combination, we also asked for a plate of deep fried Vietnamese spring roll to share.

Right after I made my order, I spotted coagulated ox blood ($1) on the menu, so of course, I asked for that. The waiter asked if I actually wanted a bowl of ox blood in liquid form, but that would have been a bit too intense for my liking.

Mellissa and KY at Pho Dzung
we had a very satisfying lunch

The spring rolls were quite small in size but certainly not lacking in taste, crunchy on the outside and flavorful on the inside, a perfect way to open up the appetite. The coagulated blood though, was not as tasty as the pork or duck version I enjoy in Penang curry mee and kueh teow soup, but not bad nonetheless.

As for the beef noodle, the soup was simple excellent. The aromatic beef stock was sweet and to be frank, one of the bests I’ve had from anywhere. If you find yourself in Melbourne, you have to give this place a try, easily the best $20 lunch for two at this part of the world.

map to Pho Dzung at Richmond, Vic

Address:
Pho Dzung Tan Dinh
208 Victoria St
Richmond 3121 VIC

GPS: -37.81042,144.998181
Tel: 03-9427 0292

One of the things that Melbourne offers, and KL lacks, is a good cup of coffee. The coffee drinking culture here is very mature, literally a cafe in every street corner within the CBD.

Cafenatics at QV, Melbourne
Cafenatics also offers good sandwiches and muffins

Breakfast places like MART 130 and even chocolate drinks specialists at Max Brenner serve up good coffee, but for really awesome coffee, you have to go to a dedicated coffee place like Cafenatics.

Cafenatics is small cafe chain based in Melbourne CBD, with about half a dozen stores across the city. The one we went to is located conveniently at QV, just a few doors down from Max Brenner.

Mellissa and a cup of flat white
a glass of flat white after a meal, yums

I have taken a liking to enjoy a cup of flat white after a good lunch. Flat white is pretty much the same as latte, but served in a ceramic cup instead of glasses. Both drinks consist of steamed milk poured over a shot of espresso, but due to the smaller size of ceramic cups, flat whites usually end up slightly stronger.

The aroma of coffee here is really good, and with the very fresh and super creamy milk makes the drink very smooth. This of course, is done by very experienced and skillful barista who packed beans properly and made sure the milk is prepared perfectly. Not bad for $3.30 a cup right?

map to cafenatics at QV, Melbourne

For those who are stuck in Malaysia, there’s always places like Cafe Le Passione at Hartamas Shopping Centre.

Address:
Cafenatics
Red Cape Lane, QV
Melbourne 3000 Victoria, Australia

GPS: -37.810657,144.965587
Tel: 03-9654 9096