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, Footscray, Melbourne - inside the restaurant on a early Saturday morning

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.

Pho Chu The, Footscray, Melbourne - pho dac biet

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 🙂

Nhu Lan Bakery, Footscray, Melbourne - banh tieu

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*

Nhu Lan Bakery, Footscray, Melbourne - gio chao quay

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Pho Chu The
92 Hopkins St, Footscray VIC
Phone: (03) 9687 8265

Pho Chu The on Urbanspoon

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Nhu Lan Bakery
116 Hopkins St, Footscray VIC
Phone: (03) 9689 7296

Nhu Lan on Urbanspoon

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, 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.