23 August 2012
Melbourne's Chinatown ~ It's Grouse
It's been many years since we've been to Melbourne's Chinatown. And we don't recall ever being there sober. In our booze-sodden memories, Chinatown's main drag, Little Bourke Street, was all sweet'n'sour and banana fritters for white trash like us. A recent visit down south proved us wonderfully wrong.
Little Bourke Street has some excellent, excellent looking restaurants. But when we visit we're in the mood for something simple, we need noodle soup. For a quick cheap 'street food' feed we found the best stuff not on Little Bourke Street itself, but around the corners of the cross streets, and also we found a few little gems in the surrounding shopping centres.
We arrived late at night so we had a cleansing ale at the Exford Hotel and then headed off for dinner. Just down the road on Swanston Street was Noodle Kingdom, one of the only places around there that was still open late on a Wednesday night.
We were most impressed with Noodle Kingdom: big, big bowls of soup at around $10. Interesting broths with a Northern Chinese touch and some great hand-made noodles. We go for a cold side dish of pickled veg and soy beans, hot and sour pork noodle soup, and soup with a Chinese bun on the side. Shawn returns the next day after a 20km walk for some excellent hand made noodles.
Noodle Kingdom on Russell Street is is open late, late, late and it's licensed, licensed, licensed. There's a few branches outlets around Melbourne.
The next time we ventured out we were recovering from a late night so a noodle soup was in order. We had spied this Pho joint on a previous walk and went in for some lunchtime recovery.
Pho Bo Ga Mekong was jam packed with lunchtime diners, that atmosphere was fantastic, noisy, chirpy and alive.. Getting squished in between other diners can often be a source of discovery, seeing what other people eat and enjoy is all part of our eating education.
Chicken Special Soup with liver, giblets, hearts and blood cubes (small size, $8.50). The chicken innard bits added an extra level of flavour to a good chicken stock.
Char Grilled Pork noodle soup, one size only, $9.50. The peppery taste from the char grilled pork swirled in with the broth to give it an extra flavour layer.
Salted lemon drink, soda water with salted lemon at the bottom. This drink is an incredible new taste, we'll be looking for this again.
There's a bunch more places around the edges of Chinatown that we'd love to try but we have so little time. Melbourne, until we meet again, you're grouse!
Pho Bo Ga Mekong is at 241 Swanston St Melbourne
Noodle Kingdom is at 175 Russell St, Melbourne.