Folks, so Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has kicked off with a lot of delicious events. That makes me think a lot about how blessed this city is with all the diverse food on offer. On this occasion, Lili and I decide to come up with a list of our favourite Vietnamese eateries in Melbourne. Trust us, we have eaten a lot of badly done Vietnamese food over the years in Australia but luckily, there are also a lot of little gems out there. Of course we think Vietnamese food tastes best when we cook it at home (hence, our Rice Kitchen Feast Boxes), but save this list for days when you are out and about!
The traditionalists – Cheap and Cheerful
Sapa Hills – Footscray and Hawthorn http://sapahills.com.au/
Extensive menu with lots of Vietnamese and Chinese influence. I like the Rice Vermicelli Sour Soup with Fish Cake and Dill.
Bun cha co Dao (Hanoi-style traditional grilled pork with rice vermicelli) in 81 Nicholson St, Footscray VIC 3011
When Obama visited Vietnam, he and Anthony Bourdains shared a memorable meal of bun cha in Hanoi . While making this dish at home requires a bit of efforts, Melbourne actually has a good place to sample it in Footscray. So do yourself a favour, get bun cha fix ASAP!
We cannot find any better places that do bun cha Ha Noi better in Melbourne. Their crispy spring rolls are also spot on.
I love pho in Victoria Street Richmond
Lili and I would argue that her home-made pho is the best. But some days, you just want a bowl of steamy noodle soup goodness. I would say I Love Pho is perhaps the closest in the ultimate pho taste memory for me.
Honourable mentions: Pho Nom in the underground of Emporium is quite good and I respect their focus on local ingredients. For a quick lunch fix in the CBD, Pho Dzung on Russel Street is a mainstay.
Xuan Banh cuon (Freshly made rice noodle sheets) in 232 Hampshire Rd, Sunshine VIC 3020
Venturing out further to the west, you will find a very good ‘banh cuon’ restaurant. Banh cuon is freshly made rice noodle sheets, made to order, and served with Vietnamese luncheon meat & dipping sauce. Not every shop gets this right, but thankfully one does! They also make beautiful fresh pho noodle rolls here. Think rice paper roll but with pho noodle wrap, beef and fresh herbs and vegetables serve with dipping sauce.
Southern street food at Thanh Nga 9, 160 Victoria St, Richmond VIC 3121
Skip all the other dishes in the menu and focus on sampling the Mini Prawn Pancakes (so good) and Nga’s shrimp and mung bean “pie”. The mini prawn pancakes are cooked in cast iron pan, and they has a touch of creamy savoury coconut cream. I love them.
The new force
I think long and hard about entries to this list. There are a lot of new fusion Vietnamese food restaurants out there but are they special enough to warrant a must try? We are not too sure. After a long discussion with Lili, I think there is one restaurant deserves the special mention in this category.
Anchovy – 338 Bridge Rd, Richmond VIC 3121
Higher price tags and the food is modern Australian with strong Vietnamese influence. We really love what head chef Thi Le is doing, and cannot wait to come back.
Honourable mention: Miss Chu franchise has some tasty dishes (such as the tuna sashimi rice paper rolls, or the salmon rice vermicelli salad).
That is for our recommended list! We will re-visit this list regularly to update with more new delicious places to eat. Tell us your favourite Vietnamese spots too!