Vietnamese pho, Melbourne, China town
Culture, Dinner, Lunch, Restaurant, Review, Snack, Travel

Free and Easy Melbourne

nyonya, recipe, easy, Chinese, Straits born

Day 5  of the Melbourne Adventure

Today is Sunday and we have a free day. I have arranged to meet up with a friend whom I have not met for over  10 years. My younger sister also made plans to meet her friend she that  had not met for quite a while, too.  

My friend came and fetch me. On the way to her house, she takes me to the China town area. This area has a lot of Chinese, or, rather Oriental shops. It looks like sort of town or business area in the Orient. We walk through the market where there are shops selling oriental stuff. The whole area comprises grocery stores, Chinese pharmacies, bakeries and shops selling fresh vegetables, fish, poultry, preserved food, etc. And the place is wet, like the wet markets that we are familiar with in Malaysia. However it is much cleaner and more tidy, and certainly less water on the floor. One can get everything Oriental/ Asian. You can get Chinese bakery stuff, cooking ingredients from Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, etc.. 

I come across a shop selling Chinese crullers, and other delicacies so I buy some to take home.

China town, shops, Melbourne,
A typical China town scene, with boxes and goods stacked up and displays every where.

After a tour of the area, Chan, my friend takes me to lunch. She suggests that we have Vietnamese food and asks whether I have eaten ‘pho’ before. I told her to the negative but I suppose that it is similar to our Chinese Koay Teow T’hing, or clear soup noodles.

So we go to the 2nd Best Pho restaurant in Melbourne.  “Why the 2nd best?”, I ask. The reason is that the best one is too crowded.!! Hmm sounds familiar. We went to the 2nd best dumpling restaurant in Melbourne due to the same reason!!

So off we go to the 2nd best!! It’s Saigon Café. Even so, there is a queue. There are about 4 groups before us. We wait for a few minutes and are ushered to our table. The place is very cramped. It is typically an Oriental restaurant where one have one’s food and leave. This is the strategy Chinese restaurateurs use to ensure maximum number of seating. On the wall, there is the menu. It is simple, no fuss. One can have chicken or beef pho or a mixture. Then there is the drinks menu like in Malaysia – Chinese tea, citrus drinks herbal teas, and other tea or coffee, etc.

Since I do not eat red meat, I order the chicken, and Chan orders the beef. After a short wait, our orders arrive. First the drinks, followed by the garnishes of fresh bean sprouts, basil, some greens and limes. Then the noodle soup. These are big bowls filled with rice noodles, meat of your choice and you can add as much seasoning as you want. The seasoning and dips like chilli oil, soy sauce and other condiments are on the table for  you to help yourself.

Vietnamese pho, Melbourne, China town
Chicken Pho @Saigon Café. The soup is tasty, or know as ‘Cheng’ in Hokkien, which means ‘clear’.
Noodles, rice, beansprouts,
Beef Pho with all the garnishes.

Well the pho is hot and tasty and is very sweet. I can taste the rock sugar sweetness. It tastes just like the Malaysian Chinese noodle soup except that the garnishes are different. The ones that we make at home, we blanch the bean sprouts and we do not use basil . Furthermore , we use a lot of garlic or shallot crisps and oil. 

On the whole, lunch is delicious. And finally I get to try something new. I have been to Vietnam but I did not have the opportunity to try pho.  This is street food. Now that I have tried, I know what it is. Nothing really to shout about. It is certainly tasty, though.

After lunch, Chan drives me around the area to have a look . Houses in Australia much bigger than in UK. Although things are expensive there, the salary is higher. We then adjourn to her house. After a tour of her house, we chit-chat and then I fall asleep. I wake up about 2 hours later!! This just shows how tired I am.

home cooked dinner, fish, vegetable, soy bean curd.
Dinner cooked by Chan. We have steamed fish with spicy bean sauce, fried pork, fried soya bean curd with courgettes, and stir-fried vegetable. All lovingly cooked.


Fish, steamed, hot sauce,
The steamed fish with shop bought sauce. I tried this at home, but the sauce was too hot!! I got the wrong sauce.

When reach home, we compare notes. My younger sister visited her friend and comes home with some home-grown vegetables.

tomatoes, peppers, Melbourne, home grown,
Home grown peppers, and tomatoes.

My bother, sister-in-law and my older sister visited the park in the city and had a relaxing day visiting the garden and enjoying the scenery.

garden, Melbourne,
2 pretty ladies visiting the city park.

My younger sister and I think that we spend our time well and fruitfully. However… Dang!! We missed this!! How unlucky!! My family members who do not have plans fare better than US!! 

cyclists, nude, Melbourne,
Look what my younger sister and me missed! What bad luck!! Nude cyclists having a race!! Or, rather, a celebration!!.

The moral of the story is… sometimes it is good not to plan for everything! At times, just take it easy and let the day takes you. I need to review my ‘Carpe Diem’ motto.

That is all for the time being and I hope you enjoy this post. I have so busy eating out and I have so many reviews that I cannot do all of them. I need to focus on my recipes as well.

Till then, please like and share this post if you enjoy it. 

Penang Lassie.

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