Pho Chu The and Nhu Lan Bakery, Footscray (Melbourne)
Please excuse me while I jump between Melbourne and Sydney. I wish I could blog as fast as I eat, but the reality is that I have an enormous backlog of fabulous eats, waiting for its share of the spotlight on your screens.
There seems to have been a lot of meetings and events luring me to Melbourne this year. In fact, I’ve visited so many times that I finally decided it was time to catch a train and explore beyond the city centre.
My curiosity to compare Sydney’s Little Vietnam with Melbourne’s, led me to the suburb of Footscray.
What a delight it was! The main difference I found between Cabramatta and Footscray was that Footscray seemed to be a lot more disperse. There was still that abundance of fresh mints, herbs, fruits, veg and meat. There were even old women crouching on the sidewalks, selling homegrown herbs and homemade delicacies, just as they do along John Street, Cabramatta.
But was the pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) any good?
Pho Chu The is an unassuming restaurant where the focus is on its noodle soups rather than its decor. By 11am, the restaurant is almost at its full capacity, filled with pho devotees.
The Pho dac biet (Special beef noodle soup) is $9.50 for regular and $10.50 for large.
The combination offers a decent variety of cuts including tripe, beef balls, thinly sliced beef, brisket, flank and tendon. The rice noodles are silky soft and the steaming broth is utmost fragrant.
The flavours in the sate chilli sauce are well rounded with a nice kick. I approve.
Afterwards, we walk past Nhu Lan Bakery where the crowd is spilling onto the footpath. Everybody is queuing for the banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich/roll), but my nose leads me to the banh tieu.
These are piping hot, soft pillowy buns, studded with fragrant sesame seeds. I find their texture and aroma absolutely irresistible. They’re $1.20 here, which is slightly more than what you’d pay in Cabramatta (they can be found for about 3 for $2).
I fight the crowd to pay for my measly purchase and then savour it outside against the chilly breeze. What a memorable moment
Oh yes, there was also this giant box of fresh gio chao quay (deep fried bread sticks, also known as you tiao or yau char kway)… *drool*