It has been 8 days since I had arrived in Melbourne and all I wanna do is eat fruit and veggies! Ha. Just for a bit.
I am literally towards the end of my trip and it’s been so great to have home cooked meals by my auntie. The thing is, I never met my cousins from Melbourne until I arrived at the house. I was going to stay in a hostel in the CBD; however, to my surprise I had family in Australia.
My mom had asked if I could stay and fortunately they were able to accommodate me. Although it is about 40 minutes away by tram from the city, I was able to do everything I wanted and more. The family consisted of my uncle, aunt, and three sons. My dad’s grandfather and my uncle’s grandfather are brothers which makes me 3rd generation cousins. In addition, I learned that my uncle was on the same boat that my dad had organized to come to the States/Australia.
I have been eating out so much prior to coming to the house from Asia and just wanted my mom’s food in front of me. Of course, when I had walked into my cousin’s house, there was a familiar smell of home. My aunt had made pho. Yum! It was perfect because I went from 100 degree weather with 60% humidity to 4 seasons in one day in Melbourne. The weather was cloudy, cold, and around 50 degrees. Great night to have my big bowl of pho.
The next day, Rorky and his girl friend took me to see the Great Ocean road and the Twelve Apostles.
This is from Wikipedia:
The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. The road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932, and is the world’s largest war memorial; dedicated to casualties of World War I. It is an important tourist attraction in the region, which winds through varying terrain alongside the coast, and provides access to several prominent landmarks; including the nationally significant Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations.
The drive took us about 7 1/2 hours total. I would recommend doing a camping trip and staying a bit longer especially when the weather is nice outside. Thankfully, it was for us! No rain in sight.
Got home and of course my aunt made us Ca Kho, caramelized fish simmered with onions and tomatoes. Delicious.
The next morning, I had decided to do a free walking tour in the CBD of Melbourne. Basically the city centre. I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be like since it could be unpredictable but let’s just say I wish I had brought my rain jacket since it did rain and was windy later on towards the night.
I took the tram on my own and was able to find the tour guide easily. Most big cities usually offer free walking tours and they are normally pretty good and you can cover pretty much the entire city in one day if you are short on time.
We had met at the State Library of Victoria and it was impressive. When I was a little girl, I was obsess with my home town’s library and this was very pretty. Not sure what this means but Melbourne, Victoria, Australia is UNSECO second City of Literature.
From there, we did a 3 hour walking tour around the CBD.
During my walk, I had made friends with David and Oli. I was on a mission to find the best Banh Mi (a Vietnamese baguette sandwich); however, I figured, I can do that some other time (Never got the chance). They had invited me to hang out with them and meet up with their friend Lydia and explore the city some more.
We first went to a side alley where you can find cafes back to back and people sitting outside drinking their espresso and eating light snacks. Afterwards, we went to go the Sofitel Hotel to have a cocktail on the 53rd floor so that we can see the view of Melbourne. Unfortunately, the bar was not open but the bathrooms had a nice view! 🙂
Walked around the city more and decided to get a beer at the Workshop Bar.
I had to leave early to catch the tram because I was having dinner at Phan’s house that night. My cousin’s girlfriend. It was a week full of Vietnamese dishes all crammed in the last 7 days.
This evening, I had Ca Hap (Steamed Fish with Ginger Sauce) and Bun Bo Ko (Noodle Beef Stew). These are basically some of my favorite Vietnamese dishes. It was yummy!
I shouldn’t have eaten that much because when I had gone home, my aunt had made dinner and wanted me to eat. It’s kind of hard to say no to someone when they had cooked for you and in my culture, it is a bit rude to not eat. She had made, salmon with grilled onions, beef stir fry with snap peas and green beans, and Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce.
The next day, my uncle had time off and after the gym (yes, I actually went to the gym) he took me out for lunch. Honestly, at this point, I just can’t eat any more and although I said I was not hungry, he took me any ways. There is a small Vietnamese community around the corner and he wanted to show it to me. Before we had lunch, we went to a salon near by where his cousins were working to introduce me. For lunch, I had Bun Thit Nuong (Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Pork) with an Avocado Shake. I haven’t had these two meals in a while and it was pretty good, especially the shake. I must make that when I get back to the states. Very refreshing!
It was a chill day and later on that night, I finally got my Banh Mi – however, it was okay
The next morning, my aunt had a day off and we took the day to go to a bigger Vietnamese community where we had lunch (Roasted Duck with Veggies) and shopped for fresh fish and produce for dinner that night.. But before we go, she made me a bowl of porridge with prawns and bacon. Yum It’s basically hot pot with whatever you want in. I will have to say, sorry mom, but my aunt makes a great hot pot full of fish, tofu, and veggies.
I actually didn’t end up eating the dinner partially because I was super full from all the eating throughout the day and I was going out that night with Phan and her girl friends.
Love the city atmosphere and the quirky speakeasy bars around town. I forgot that the drinks here in Australia are weak compared to the State and the Black Russians that I was ordering had coke in it! It was not done properly. Once again, I was disappointed in the drinks and wish I had beers or wine instead.
Again, Pie Face disappoints me. I thought I give it a try again that night and it was gross. I was craving a cookie but got tricked into the chocolate croissant and that was disappointed with no chocolate in it! The manager gave me a chocolate cookie to make up for it but it was hard as a brick. Learned my lesson, tried it 2x, never again!
The next morning, Phan treated us to dim sum! I tried my first chicken feet and was grossed out! This is actually my third time trying dim sum in my entire life. I just wished I knew we were going to the restaurant because a couple hours before, I had a big breakfast. Honestly, at this point, I don’t know how I have been consuming so much food.
That evening, Phan and my cousin took me out to a footy game. The ultimate Aussie experience was to have a beer in one hand and a meat pie in the other! I even wore a jersey but of course my team Richmond lost.
On Sunday, Phan and her girlfriends took me to the Victoria Market. I wanted to go here because I think I had saw it on one of my favorite Australian TV shows; My Kitchen Rules. Ah, it was a lovely lunch. Got myself a burrito of course. This place La Cantina had a local band playing South American tunes and it seriously brought me back to South America.
Afterwards, they all wanted me to try a hot jam donut. Honestly, I am not sure if this is an Aussie thing but I haven’t had donuts in forever and well, why the heck not. It was delicious.
Stuffed, we all decided to do the 1,000 steps that was about an 1 1/2 hour drive away 🙂 You would think I would puke.
Once that was done, we went for some tea and scones. These are scones (they seem like biscuits to me), were the best! So moist and flaky on the outside. Their jam and whipped butter just topped it off.
Remember my aunt and I shopping for all the fresh ingredients for the hot pot? Had it again on a cold night and it was yummy.
Overall, I had a great time in Melbourne exploring the town and mainly eating away!