Saturday, May 31, 2014

Walkerville Bakery

We found this hidden little gem (Walkerville Bakery) that sells Vietnamese banh mi inside the Woolworths Shopping Centre in Walkerville! Yummo!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pho Yummee in Hong Kong

During the last leg of our  Hong Kong trip, we caught the old tram up to the Peak.

Our wanderings lead us to Pho Yummee, hidden away in the Peak Galleria Shopping Centre.

Again, the pho did not taste like real pho (which confirms my belief that when travelling you probably should just stick to trying local cuisine, rather than foreign cuisine - but I just couldn't resist!), but to the restaurant's credit, it seemed like they had put more effort into brewing this broth which was quite clear and tasty.

The highlights for us, however, were the other Vietnamese dishes that we had ordered - Ca-Ri Ga (chicken lemongrass curry with potatoes and baguette) and rice paper rolls.

The food was light and fresh and the staff were super friendly.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Vietnamese Hong Kong!

On my first day in central Hong Kong, I stumbled across a cute little Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Tai. With a name like that, I thought that their pho would be something special.

Unfortunately, the broth tasted nothing like pho. Having said that, if I was reviewing Hu Tieu, I'd be giving it a big thumbs up! It seemed like the chef did not feel like cooking up proper pho broth that day and just used the Hu Tieu broth!

Despite the disappointing lunch, I'm glad I came across this place because I found an awesome cheongsam shop next door!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


My friend Jackson invited me to lunch at Cilantro Star on Healeys Lane off Lonsdale Street, Melbourne city.

I was a little skeptical about their claim of specialising in "gourmet pho", however, I was very happy to find that their pho ($10 a bowl) beats all of the pho I have tried in Footscray and Richmond. Yay, finally!

The broth was clear, yet tasty and the rice noodles were fresh. I will be coming back for a second taste to make sure that I was not dreaming (and to take some photos)! :)

Something other than pho

Olivier and I have been eyeing out Thanh Ha 2 (120 Victoria St, Richmond) for a while. We thought it would be good to visit a Vietnamese restaurant that didn't specialise in pho for a change.

We both ordered the restaurant's speciality - banh cuon - a dish made of rice batter sheets filled with pork, shredded mushrooms and prawns, served alongside cha lua (pork terrine) and other little tid bits. The dish was fairly good but didn't quite hit the spot on a Winter's night.

However, we will definitely be returning as they seem to have a very extensive menu with other Vietnamese dishes including banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pho Chu The

We have now visited Pho Chu The on Victoria Street, Richmond twice.

As Sam Rust (see comment under post entitled "Take Two") had said, this place served better pho than I Love Pho 264 but was still decidedly average.

We took my Mum here on the weekend and she also said that the pho was "okay".I am starting to feel a bit disheartened and feel that I may never find that perfect pho (besides my Grandma's and my Mum's pho). I know they say that you can never compare home-cooked food to restaurant food but surely there is a pho out there that is close to perfect! :) The search continues...

Pho quest continues in Adelaide

While visiting my sister and brother-in-law in South Australia, we decided to continue our quest to find the best pho and dined at Ba Ria 2 (54C Hanson Road, Woodville Gardens).

We were very surprised to find that the pho at this restaurant was better than the ones we tried at various other Vietnamese restaurants on Victoria Street in Richmond, Victoria! The broth tasted like it had been carefully brewed as it had the right balance of spices and flavours.

We also went to a lovely  little Asian dessert place called Eggless Dessert Cafe (162 Goodwood Road, Goodwood). Upon arrival, there is apparently always a queue. The place was certainly worth the 20 minute wait. It is not fancy dessert cafe but is so popular because of the large range of fusion Asian-Western desserts. We tried a range of their "Sinful May" desserts including a beautiful red velvet cake. I would certainly be keen to visit Eggless Dessert Cafe again!

My sister also treated us to a lovely dinner at Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar ( - a traditional Italian style eatery established by one of the Master Chef constestants. While my blog was set up to cover Asian restaurants - in particular Vietnamese pho restaurants - I just had to mention that the food here was perfect!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Take Two

After last weekend's misfortune, we decided to head back out to Richmond to try and find this I Love Pho 264 restaurant that everyone has been going on about. When we arrived, I noticed that the menu board was identical to the one we saw in Phoenix - Phuong Hoang Restaurant last weekend but put it down to the possibility that perhaps all of the Vietnamese restaurants use the same sign maker.

We ordered pho again as well as pork and prawn rice paper rolls. The pho was on the sweet side but lacked that punch that you find in really good pho. Admittedly, I think I may have been harsher in my judgement given that the restaurant has received so many raving reviews about its pho. We did notice, however, that there were not many Asian customers in the restaurant which could explain the misleading reviews. All in all, the pho was not bad but I am not sure that it is worth returning to the restaurant for a second visit. Having said that, while their rice paper rolls were clumsily rolled (when I saw them I thought that my Grandma would be horrified), the hoisin dipping sauce laced with chilli was pretty good.

Interestingly enough, while I was eavesdropping on a conversation between the restaurant owner and some customers next to us, I discovered that the owner had just opened a new restaurant down the road called... Phoenix - Phuong Hoang Restaurant. So, it seems like we weren't duped last weekend after all!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sweet tooth

Tonight we headed out to Wonton Bar on Russell Street, Melbourne City for an array of Chinese dumplings and yummy barbeque pork buns (these ones actually had non-fatty meat in it). We ordered only 4 different types of dumplings for a total of $30 which surprisingly filled us up. It was nice to eat some freshly cooked dumplings for a change as we often eat frozen pre-packaged dumplings from the Asian grocers.

The culinary highlight of the night, however, was the ice cream we had at Passionflower (168 Bourke Street, Melbourne). Olivier had red bean and green tea ice cream. I had green tea and taro ice cream which took me back to my days in Taiwan when I first tasted taro ice cream (which seemed to be more common than vanilla ice cream). The decor is modern and funky and the waitresses look like cute Japanese anime characters.

Passionflower has the usual ice cream flavours that you would find in any ice cream parlour but what sets them aside is their wide range of Eastern flavours including black sesame, durian, lychee, sticky rice etc. The ice cream is a bit more expensive if you "dine in" at $6 a scoop so if you are not after one of their fancy desserts and just want ice cream on the go, it is probably best to just grab the ice cream and take it away.

I will definitely be taking my sister here next time she comes to visit. I think she will really appreciate this place. :)

Their menu is worth checking out. See:

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We set out to visit Richmond earlier tonight tossing up between Pho Chu The and I Love Pho 264. We had narrowed our options down as a result of trawling through online reviews. Our mistake was that we turned off our GPS as soon as we hit Victoria Street. We entered a restaurant with a sign saying "I Love Pho" out the front assuming that it was I Love Pho 264 but only realised we had entered the wrong restaurant when we were handed menus with the "Phoenix" logo on the front and when we looked around and saw only 3 other tables. Anyhow, we decided to stay and give the Phoenix - Phuong Hoang Restaurant a go.

For entree, we ordered san choi bow ($8) which was lovely even though it was missing the essential ingredient of Chinese sausage.

Of course for our mains, we ordered pho bo ($9). I was instantly chuffed that on the plate of condiments, they had generously given me 3 pieces of lemon (most Vietnamese restaurants only give you one piece of lemon).

Unfortunately, the pho broth was a let down. It was quite bland which meant that I had to reach for the fish sauce, hoisin sauce and chilli sauce on a number of occasions to spice up the broth. All in all, the pho was below average. I was disappointed because on a cool Autumn evening, I wanted some superb pho to warm me up and hit the spot but unfortunately this pho just didn't do that for me. Ah well, next time, we will keep the GPS on and head to I Love Pho 264 on 264 Victoria Street!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Visiting Footscray

Stepping into Footscray feels like stepping back into Saigon (except that the streets in Footscray are wider and the place is a bit cleaner). The streets are packed with Vietnamese families and all the shop fronts display Vietnamese signs. I really do like visiting Footscray as it is nice to hear the familiar sounds of the Vietnamese language and I always imagine how my Grandma would love to walk around from shop to shop talking and gossiping with other old Vietnamese ladies.

We entered Little Saigon Supermaket to buy our groceries at around midday. There were hordes of people scrambling about and the supermarket was buzzing with noise and activity. It seemed like we were the odd ones out sporting our green cloth grocery bags rather than tartan shopping caddies.

The price of meat, fresh fruit and vegies are certainly much cheaper here in comparison to those at the standard Australian supermarkets. The complex also harbours smaller businesses including a handful of takeaway restaurants and bakeries selling the usual Vietnames pork rolls, sticky rice with meat/red bean wrapped in banana leaves and various Vietnamese desserts. Yum!

For lunch, we ventured outside to Hopkins Street to find a good pho restaurant and stumbled across Pho Hung Vuong Saigon. What attracted me to Pho Hung Vuong Saigon was not only the fact that the restaurant was full to the brim but also because of the good Vietanamese/Australian ratio (80% Vietnamese and 20% Australian customers). I figured that if there were a lot of Vietnamese in the restaurant, it must be cheap and good pho and if there was still a decent proportion of Aussies in the restaurant, it must be relatively safe to eat there! When we walked in, the whole place was packed and we had to wait in line for a table but not for very long.  As the place was so busy, we ended up sharing a table with two other customers.

As usual, we ordered pho tai (beef noodle soup with rare beef) which came out within 10 minutes of us sitting down. The broth was clean and quite nice. A medium bowl of pho goes for $9 there ($8 for a small bowl and $10 for a large bowl). It wasn't the best pho I have had but not the worst either. I always measure how good the pho is by just tasting the broth without adding any condiments first. I wouldn't go as far as saying that the broth was bland but it was just missing a bit of a punch - which, however, was soon fixed when I added some lemon, hoisin sauce and chilli sauce. I would definitely go back to Pho Hung Vung Saigon again and can certainly see why the place is so popular. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

iDo Kitchen - Albert Park

Yesterday, we ventured out to Albert Park to try some pho bo (beef noodle soup) at iDo Kitchen. iDo Kitchen is a little more 'upmarket' than most other Vietnamese restaurants. The decor was simple and tasteful - very different from the usual Vietnamese eateries packed with plastic tables and stools and bright lighting.

This Hanoi-style pho was by far the best I have had in a few years (but this may be because I was comparing it to the pho I have been eating in Brisbane for the last 5 years). The broth was quite dark but surprisingly not overly salty nor oily. The broth was well-balanced and had a tinge of bitterness to it.

It was served without the usual bean shoots and herbs but I believe that with all excellent pho, if the broth is good enough, no extra condiments are needed. 

While the pho was a little more expensive than most ($13.50), it was well worth it.

We will definitely be returning for their dinner menu which includes one of my all time favourite Vietnamese dishes, a home dish which very rarely makes it on to a restaurant menu - thit heo kho (caramelised pork and egg)!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Graduating 7 months late

This week has been pretty full on but I guess it has been like that ever since October last year.
It was nice to have the day off for my belated graduation at UQ but it felt kind of bizarre attending a ceremony so long after having already finished my degree. I wore my Vietnamese "ao dai" that I got made specifically for my grad a few years ago. Well, here's another one to add to my mum's wall of degrees at home! With 5 kids in the family, I think she'll be running out of wall space. I won't be in a hurry to attend another one though - all the pompous crap gets kinda boring after a while. Two is more than enough! Though my admissions ceremony this year will be the one to look out for.

Lately, I feel like I'm constantly rushing from place to place. I suppose it doesn't help that I'm always in Brisbane every weekend and it's such a shame that I haven't been able to enjoy my new place on the GC. I'm also stoked that I can now walk across the bridge to work. I rarely use my car now. Full time work is great but it's hard trying to fit everything and everyone in. So far, I have really enjoyed it - I guess I owe that to the fact that I love my job.
Mum has also just flown to Germany so I will have to try and drive back to Caloundra for most weekends after my Saturday lesson to check up on my Grandma and brothers.
Grace and I have already bought our flights (on an impulse) and insurance to Vanuatu for New Years Eve - can't wait. Hopefully, the fact that it is cyclone season won't hamper our fun!

Big sis, little bros and I

Grandma, Mum, and us 5

Dad & I

My 'little' bro Dorian and Mum
Phone cam view from my new place

Thursday, May 24, 2007

At Glenelg

My 3 not-so-little brothers: Quinn, Dorian and Justin

Justin and Dorian

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Still alive and kicking

Sorry for the lack of news. Work has been busy as usual but luckily for me I still really enjoy it.

I went to visit Grace and Jon in Adelaide earlier in the month. I can't understand why some people think it's a hole. I really enjoyed my stay there - great shops, beautiful parks and architecture, good restaurants and cafes and very up-to-date with all the foreign films. I guess as the "festival state", they have to be. We saw "Paris, je t'aime" - a movie full of short films. There were a few weird and wacky ones but some were quite good and pretty funny. Grace and I had a great time though my stay was way too short (only the weekend). On my last day, Grace and Jon took me to Glenelg for breakfast.

Since then I have just been getting stuck into work. I'm really behind with my PLT course but will have to do some quick catching up as my two weeks onsite participation/exams are on in the first two weeks of June... It will be great to be back in Brisbane - very exciting!

It seems like I'm still spending every spare minute in Brisbane. I'm in Brissie right now and next week will be here again for a migration conference and also for Kat's birthday.

The year has gone by pretty quickly which I'm happy about. Things are finally starting to happen.

Friday, February 23, 2007

New Developments

Me & Grace

Since moving to the Gold Coast three weeks ago, I haven't had a chance to settle down and discover the town.

I've been busy driving back to Brisbane and Caloundra to catch up with family and my good old uni mates every weekend.

Grace and Jon also came back for Grace's birthday weekend on the 9 February. We all had a brilliant weekend celebrating Grace's 25th and the end of my uni years with a BBQ at Moffat beach with lots of yummy food, 2 cakes and going for a frolick in the ocean.

I started my PLT course through College of Law on 12 February. I'm doing the course part-time while working full-time. I'm glad it's mainly online based. It's doing a great job with combining what I've learnt at uni together with the practical experience that I'm gaining at work. I should be finished in September and will be admitted some time after that. I will then also be eligible to apply for registration under the MARA. Very exciting.
Us 5 kids & Mum

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Back to Paris

23 - 25 janvier 2007

I happily returned to Paris for the last leg of my trip.

I ended up staying in "Peace & Love Hostel" directly across Metro Jaurès - yes I was a little hesitant about booking here because of the dodgy name! I'm so glad I did though as I met a fabulous bunch of people. The layout of the place made it ideal for meeting new people. Ground floor was a bar and that's where you check-in!

I was staying in a room on the top floor. Unfortunately, there was no elevator so I had to lug all of my gear up the never-ending staircase (But as la patronne said: "It's very good for your bum!"). I nearly died on the fifth floor when I realised I still had a few more floors to go.

My first night was spent in the hostel's bar drinking with my new dorm mate, Ian - who happens to be a young English director/animator with a genius mind travelling around as he had been invited to show his work at some film festivals :) - who then introduced me to another troupe of people including brothers Zac and Tyler from Wyoming, Megan from New York and Todd from Brighton, Oz.

Zac promised us a night at this awesome club underneath some bridge somewhere in Paris called "Showcase". We eventually found the place but it was closed.

Headed to Champs-Élysées to find a club but believe it or not, we had huge difficulties doing so.

The rest of our time in Paris unfolded like this:
  • Ended up in a pub called Dogstar with drinks that were way to expensive (Good Pastis though)!
  • Met three random French guys - one of which was really scruffy/dodgy-looking.
  • Scruffy French guy tries to lead us under the Arc deTriomphe and causes a bit of trouble with the French police who pull out batons.
  • Found another club but just when we are about to get let in, they stop us because of the moronic French guy.
  • Todd and I try to concoct a plan to somehow do a runner to ditch the French guys.
  • Finally, a good samaritan arrives. This lady knew the bouncer at another club and got us in (including the dodgy French guy) without paying a cover charge.
  • Drinking and dancing ensues with Ian doing his famous robot moves.
  • I have a mini-regrettable moment with a random French-Arab guy.
  • Todd and I catch a taxi back to the hostel at 4h30 am as the metro had stopped running while the others decided to brave it and walk home (unsuccessfully).

The next morning it snowed very briefly but stopped by the time we got outside. Megan, Zac, Tyler and I wearily trundled off to the Louvre, stopping in for a late breakfast of crepes. It's a great place with amazing works in it but by 5pm we were all walking around like zombies due to lack of sleep.

However, we hit the town again that night at Ian's suggestion who was meeting a friend there. It was a gig on the outskirts of Paris in Montreuil at a place called Instants Chavirés. There was a bit of a confusion about its location but we finally found out that there are two streets - both called rue Richard Lenoir. We finally found it after a few train rides. The place was located along a dark alleyway in a shed-like place.

There were a few line-ups. Jack Rose was absolutely brilliant. The artist before him was pretty okay as well. But for me, the last artist was so unbearable. I could only stand there for half an hour before I exited the building. I felt like I was going to pass out from the warmth, the overly smokey room and the terrible "music" which was for one, way too loud and just plain bizarre. The guy certainly had a unique style but it was as if he was making out with the machine in front of him the whole time. Strange. Found out when I got home that he is from New Zealand! I assumed he was some Euro-techno head.

Afterwards, we all headed back to the hostel pub to hang out until about 2am and I said my goodbyes to the crew as my flight back home was in a few more hours that morning.

Now, it's back to reality...