The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

The Cooking Chook does Melbourne

Actually, it’s more like the Cooking Chook does Noble Park/Springvale. Happy New Year everyone! I thought maybe my first post of the year should be about what I did between the time of my last post and the start of 2013. I was on a road trip (or should I say plane trip) with my parents to visit my Dad’s brother and his family who live in Noble Park, a suburb South East of Melbourne’s CBD. This was the first time in almost two decades that I had travelled to visit my Uncle. Normally, we’d catch up when he and his family would drive over to Adelaide. Every year between Christmas and New Years Day, my folks and my Dad’s two other younger brothers and their families would travel to Melbourne to spend a few days with their youngest sibling and celebrate the New Year. This time around, I thought I would change things up a little and join in on the fun.

What did we all get up to during my visit? Eat of course! Because my partner is not Vietnamese, ever since moving in with him several years ago, I don’t get to eat Vietnamese food everyday like I used to. I don’t mind it so much because I visit my parents every week on Mondays for dinner, but there are times when I do miss eating Vietnamese food. So, what was on the menu?

Canh Chua Cá (Sour Fish Soup) and Cá Kho (Caramalised Fish)
The day after we arrived, we all decided to venture out to Springvale, where the population is mainly Chinese and Vietnamese, to get ingredients for my Uncle’s signature dish Canh Chua Cá (Sour Fish Soup), which is one of my favourite dishes, and Cá Kho (Caramalised Fish). Whilst we were shopping, we stopped for a quick lunch at one of the local restaurants. I was so hungry that totally forgot to take a quick snap of my lunch! I wish I did remember because I had Cơm tấm sườn chả bì (Broken Rice with Pork Chop) and it was absolutely delicious! After lunch, we continued shopping and ended up getting a 3kg Barramundi for the Canh Chua Cá and Cá Kho. It tasted absolutely amazing! I also discovered Pappa Roti. Unfortunately, Pappa Roti only has stores in the Eastern states so I can’t enjoy this morsel of delightfulness in Adelaide. Pappa Roti’s specialty are buns that are covered in coffee cream just before they are baked. When they are pulled out of the oven, the coffee cream has formed a crunchy crust on top of the bun, and on the inside there is a tiny hint of a buttery filling *drool*

Canh Chua and Ca Kho Pappa Roti

Yum Cha at Golden Leaf Chinese Restaurant
The next day was Yum Cha day. We headed over to the Golden Leaf Chinese Restaurant which was close to my Uncle’s house. This place is so popular that you have a one hour timeframe to eat as much as you can, then get out. They even put what time you are to vacate your table on your docket! We ended up stuffing ourselves (of course), and I watched in amazement as my 9 year old cousin devoured chicken feet (I’m not a big fan).

Yum Cha docketYum Cha yummynessYum Cha stackMore yum cha yummyiness   My cousin chowing down on chicken feet

Bánh ướt (Rice noodle sheets with pork ‘devon’) and Bò Nhúng Giấm (Beef in Vinegar Hotpot)
For New Year’s Eve, Mum wanted to make something a little special that was easy to cater for a large group of people. She decided to make Bò Nhúng Giấm (Beef in Vinegar Hotpot), which is one of my all time favourite dishes. But before we ventured out again to get more groceries, we had to satisfy our midday hunger with Bánh ướt (Rice noodle sheets with pork ‘devon’), a dish I had not had in many years! When it came time to have dinner, the components of the Bò Nhúng Giấm were brought to the table, ready for everyone to dig in. The idea behind this dish is that everyone dips (nhúng) the raw beef (bò), and seafood into a broth that is simmering in the middle of the table on a portable gas cooker until just cooked, then you pull all the cooked food out and use it as part of the filling for gỏi cuốn (cold rolls) with mixed leafy greens and rice vermicelli noodles. So delicious and so much fun! After dinner, we all headed out to Melbourne’s CBD to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks before welcoming in the New Year.

Banh uot

Components of Bo Nhung GiamEveryone cooking their stuff

Hủ tiếu (Clear Rice Noodle Soup)
New Years Day: Our flight wasn’t until later in the afternoon, which meant we had enough time to duck out for lunch somewhere before heading off to the airport. My Uncle took us back to the first restaurant we went to on our first day in Melbourne. This time I ordered Hủ tiếu (Clear Noodle Soup), which had pork and seafood in it. Yet another dish I hadn’t eaten in a very long time. Before we knew it, we were on a flight home to Adelaide and back to my KitchenAid babies. I had been itching for days to be back in my own kitchen and making some tasty morsels myself. However, it was wonderful to have spent some time with my family and over those few days, it became more evident than ever, that food truly unites people.

Hu Tieu

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21 thoughts on “The Cooking Chook does Melbourne

  1. Love the DIY aspect of Vietnamese food! Those cold rolls sound gooddd. I went out for a Vietnamese in London yesterday and I was very disappointed, not at all like what I ate in Vietnam, I’m now on a mission to find somewhere authentic. Seems like you’re spoilt for choice in Melbourne, very jealous!

    • I’m thankful I have a family who appreciates food, especially home cooked meals! If you are looking for authentic Vietnamese in London, I came across a wonderful restaurant in 2011 called Naga on Abingdon Road in Kensington. It is so good that my parents were impressed with how authentic the food was (which is saying a lot!). The owner is Vietnamese and he was really lovely, and chatted to my parents and I after our meal (in Vietnamese!). It’s not street food Vietnamese, a little more sophisticated, but I think you’ll like it.

  2. Thomas on said:

    Wow! the caramelised fish sounds amazing! 🙂

  3. That food looks fabulous. Happy New Year!

  4. Oh yummy… I love yum cha, and your Bò Nhúng Giấm sounds similar to the “steamboat” we used to have, except that we didn’t make rolls, we just ate the cooked items with bowls of rice and sauces.

    • Bò Nhúng Giấm is very similar to the steamboat (which is called Lẩu), but the broth that you cook your food in is a little different, and there is more stuff you cook for Lẩu. Very lovely dish and great for entertaining large groups of people.

  5. You basically ate all my favorite dishes…sigh….We don’t have any of that stuff in Santa Cruz.

  6. Canh chua and banh uot are a couple of my favorite vietnamese food. my mom sometimes make them at home but not very authentically (a little mix of Chinese). I hope to find the most authentic Canh Chua recipe to find the best one ever. How do you make yours? Would you mind to share?

    • I’d have to ask my Mum for the recipe because she’s the master of making Canh chua. She’d be delighted for me to share it. Let me have a chat to my Mum and I’ll post her recipe 🙂

  7. Fantastic post and fantastic images. I love yum cha. In some ways it’s a pity they force you out after an hour. I suppose though if you go hard and fast, you can get to have most of the good stuff.

    • Thanks Gary 🙂 We spent a total of 45 minutes at yum cha – basically a stuff and run. Even with the time limit, you still have to wait for 30-45 minutes for a table (which is what we had to do) and we arrived at 11:30am! Great food though and lots of trolleys going around often, so I’m not surprised that this place was so busy!

  8. petit4chocolatier on said:

    Wonderful! I am salivating Caramalised Fish!!

  9. Everything looks delicious. Since I’m in a soup making mood, the last photo of the Clear Rice Noodle Soup looks especially yummy. Glad you had a good time!

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