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Tia To is my favourite oriental herb. Also known as Tiet To, Vietnamese Perilla, shiso or Vietnamese Hojiso, this aromatic herb can jazz up anything. I love having it amongst other mints with lettuce, spring rolls, vermicelli, bean spouts and pickled radish, or wrapped tighly with fresh tuna in a sushi roll.
Tia To is also a glamourous Vietnamese restaurant in Melbourne’s Crown Casino. The menu was an extensive list of traditional Vietnamese goodies and unlike the casual Vietnamese restaurants elsewhere, there was no sign of grubby chopsticks which needed to be pre-wiped with hot tea and a tissue. This royal red duo spoke a different type of elegance.

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - menu 1
Menu part 1

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - menu 2
Menu part 2

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - chopsticks and ceramic soup spoon
Chopsticks and ceramic soup spoon

My Ching Po Luong (sometimes referred to as Sam Bo Luong) was different too. It was the same sweet syrup drink but the barley peals, water chestnut and seaweed were absent. However, I still enjoyed the generous mix of dried longans, red dates and lotus seeds. We also had the authentic Vietnamese iced black coffee.

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - Ching Po Luong
Ching Po Luong

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - Iced black coffee
Iced black coffee

The Salt and Pepper Squid was spectacularly crisp. The squid was amazingly tender and I simply loved how tightly the thin batter hung on to each piece. For $12, you would expect a little bit more, but it was a compromise of quality over quantity which I’d accepted.

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - salt and pepper squid
Salt and pepper squid

The pho stock was sublime and much fancier than what I had expected. Gourmet pho, it was.

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - fresh herb garnishes for pho, beef noodle soup
Fresh herb garnishes for pho, beef noodle soup

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - Pho, beef noodle soup
Pho dac biet aka. special beef noodle soup

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - nuoc cham fish sauce
Nuoc cham fish sauce

The spring rolls in my Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio were too miniature to be satisfying. Tasty slices of BBQ pork were scattered in a bowl with bean sprouts, cucumber, peanuts, vermicelli and the traditional favourite topping of shallots and pork lard. The crispiness of the crispy pork lard enhanced the flavours of this simple dish. It was bad for the body but ooh so good for the soul.

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant at Crown Casino, Melbourne - bun thit nuong cha gio, BBQ sliced pork and pork spring roll on rice vermicelli
Bun thit nuong cha gio, BBQ sliced pork and pork spring roll on rice vermicelli

Tia To Vietnamese Restaurant
Main Gaming Floor
Phone: (03) 9292 6989
Open Sunday – Thursday 12noon – 12midnight
Friday and Saturday 12noon – 1am

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.