A clean and famous Chinese restaurant located in Melbourne’s CBD and close to China Town, Hutong Dumpling Bar is one of the few Chinese restaurants my friend and I have visited, since we usually have some reserves about going to a Chinese restaurant in areas that aren’t very, well, Chinese. Even though we prefer flavors that are more authentic (and we feel that Hutong Dumpling Bar offers dishes that have adapted slightly to suit local tastes), it’s one of the more renowned Chinese restaurant in town, so we decided to give it a try anyway. Although I’m certain there is better and cheaper Chinese food out there, I was pleased by the level of cleanliness, the quiet and comfortable atmosphere of the restaurant, as well as the friendly staff we met.
I’ve tried Big Mama almost three years ago and thought the food here was pretty good. Came here again recently and I found myself unexpectedly disappointed. Not sure if the quality has gone downhill since the last time I was here, or if it just so happened to be that way that particular day, or I didn’t order the ‘right’ stuff, but I’m not sure if I’ll want to come back again. Perhaps one of the only redeeming factors is its convenient and accessible location, especially since it’s a short walking distance to both RMIT University and University of Melbourne, and it’s close to the Swanston Street/Queensberry Street tram stop.
Oishi Kitchen offers pretty good quality Korean and Japanese food at reasonable prices, and it opens seven days a week for both lunch and dinner. It’s another one of those restaurants where you’re assured to be served decent meals when you’re unsure of what or where to eat. While walking around Prahran, my family and I weren’t sure of what to have for lunch and we decided on Oishi Kitchen in the end. Although there are other restaurants that may serve better quality meals or cheaper prices, Oishi Kitchen offers a wide selection of both Japanese and Korean food at pretty good values. We didn’t get to try any of the Lunch Specials or BBQ Sizzle this time, but we were quite satisfied with what we’ve ordered.
Palsaik BBQ Korean Restaurant, a sister restaurant to ChangGo, is a popular Korean restaurant located on Chinatown between Russell Street and Exhibition Street. It is highly accessible – within the Melbourne city center – and operates seven days a week. It’s famous for its Korean BBQ, especially the eight flavors of pork belly, and is a safe bet especially if you’re unsure of where to go. Walk up a flight of stairs when you reach the building, and you don’t usually have to wait for a long time to get seated, especially if you get there early. For those who love pork belly, make sure to try out Palsaik!
Peko Peko is a popular restaurant that’s popular for its homestyle Taiwanese food and also Japanese dishes, and is normally bustling with customers during lunch and dinner times. The restaurant/cafe is located on a quiet area in South Melbourne, and not too far from the Shrine of Remembrance and St. Kilda Road. There are plenty of trams you can take to get to Peko Peko including 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, and 72, and it’s a few minutes’ walk after alighting at either the Domain Interchange/St. Kilda Road or Shrine of Remembrance/St. Kilda Road stop.
If you’d ever taken tram 109 from the city towards Box Hill, you’d notice that there is an area full of Vietnamese restaurants and shops on both sides of the street in Richmond. One of the restaurants here that I’ve been to is Pho Dzung Tan Dinh, which serves both cheap yet delicious Vietnamese food. The closest train station is the North Richmond Station, and you’ll have to walk a few blocks along Victoria Street to get here, or take the 109 tram and alight at the Lennox Street or Victoria St/Church St stop. The restaurant is also within walking distance of the IKEA in Richmond, and is opened every day with long operating hours. If you’re ever confused about choosing from the array of restaurants to eat at, this might be a place to start.
My usual food buddy and I decided to try Little Ramen Bar, a small but popular Japanese ramen store located on Little Bourke and Elizabeth Street. It is also close to Hardware Lane, within an area normally bustling with people due to the array of popular restaurants and cafes including Manchester Press. We were expecting quite a lot from this restaurant since people even queue up to get a seat here and thus it looked promising, but we left feeling disappointed. Although the prices were relatively cheap, the portion of the food we ordered were small and the quality was only decent.