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Twenty Pho Seven

As a little girl, I absolutely adored Nikki Webster. I didn’t care that none of my friends thought she was cool; I just couldn’t get enough of her strawberry-sweet pop tunes (see what I did there?). In fact, hers was the very first CD I ever bought, and I remember listening to it on repeat every night before bed. There was a song on that album called 24/7 (Crazy ‘bout Your Smile), and it was my absolute favourite. I will even go as far as to admit that I still nurse a soft spot for that song to this day, and when I heard of the restaurant called Twenty-Pho Seven, Nikki Webster became stuck in my head once more, just…

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Uncle Collins St

I’m not a big fan of heading out to the St Kilda area. Not only is parking expensive and scarce, the only public transport option is the temperamental tram network that often results in waits of upwards of 20 minutes after 8pm. Luckily, there’s only a few restaurants out that way that I’m extremely keen on trying, so I don’t have to brave the trip out too often. Uncle is one of the restaurants on that short St Kilda to-visit list, but before I could make my way out there, they’ve done everyone a solid and opened up a second branch on Collins Street in the CBD.

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Hochi Mama

You know what’s clever? Discovering vaccinations is clever. Making cereal out of Milo is clever. And opening Hochi Mama right next door to Rice Paper Scissors is clever. So why is Hochi Mama being where it is such a clever move? Well, when Rice Paper Scissors first opened, its concept of building your own banquet from a selection of dishes for a set price caught Melbourne by storm. These days, you’d be lucky to get a seat there even if you waited right outside for it to open. And that’s where Hochi Mama comes in. Boasting a style of dining very similar to Rice Paper Scissors, it’s perfectly positioned to catch the overflow from next door. Whether this was planned…

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Rice Queen

The funny thing about being a food blogger is, you get to know a lot of restaurants very well by name and the food they serve, but only have the vaguest idea of where the restaurant is and what it looks like. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve walked past a restaurant, glanced at the menu on the window, and said Oh that’s where so-and-so is! Rice Queen is one of the many restaurants in that list; I know of the restaurant, and I know of the dark building on Brunswick Street festooned with garlands of flowers, but I’ve never put two and two together.

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Has anyone ever heard of the term Fob Rolls? When I first heard this alternative name for the Vietnamese banh mi, I honestly felt as if someone was going to come along and scrub my mouth out with soap for saying it. But turns out the term is so ubiquitous that there’s even a banh mi restaurant named after it. So, whatever – as long as I get my sandwich (and if you ask me, the banh mi/fob roll is the best cold sandwich in existence), I’m happy. Go into any suburb with a decent Asian population, and there will likely be a Vietnamese bakery making these up to order. The CBD dwellers are less fortunate, at least until the…

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Xuan Banh Cuon

Coriander is one of the most polarising foods out there; there’s even a Facebook page dedicated solely to denouncing this particular herb. As it turns out, there are genetic variants affecting somewhere between 4% and 33% (depending on which article you read) of people that cause coriander to taste like soap. I personally love coriander, but Chris can sense the stuff a mile off, and not in the good way either. This makes eating Vietnamese food somewhat of a problematic and one-sided affair. Every now and then however, I manage to convince Chris to have Vietnamese food for dinner, on the proviso that there is something on the menu that isn’t laced with coriander. That’s just as well, because after…

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