Tag Archives: hoa tran

Asian Cheap Eats

Let’s admit it, there will always be a time when you crave cheap Asian food. I recently got to meet Kenny from the popular Western suburbs’ blog, Consider the Sauce, and we discussed how many people review the same popular places in the CBD etc, whilst he tends to go for the ‘ghetto’ places.

He makes a good point, and I enjoy weaving in and out of both worlds, or simply anywhere. My love of roadtrips leads me all over Melbourne and I love being able to have readers say, “That’s just near me, I’ll drop by and give it a try” whether it’s in the western or south-eastern suburbs (neither of which are my areas)!

So, here’s a few cheap Asian finds that I’ve stopped by in the various suburbs of Melbourne in the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Basil House: 461 High St, Preston
A mix of Vietnamese and Thai food, Basil House likes to provide a bit of variety. Due to the offering of both cuisines though, I feel like they lose a bit of authenticity in both areas.20140610_191050

But it satisfies the tummy and the craving, so most of the time it will do. The table settings are like any other Asian restaurant with cutlery and condiments on the table ready to go.

Decor is nothing special but at least this place isn’t cramped like some fast restaurants. It’s a little less hectic and more relaxed, but your food still comes out quickly.

20140610_191959High St is the busy, fast-ethnic-food-place-to-be in Preston. With a few other Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants on the little strip, you might pass by Basil House due to its split between two cuisines, which usually indicates it is catering too much to Western crowds by serving Asian dishes in general.
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We ordered some Vietnamese entrees including nem nuong (grilled pork, top picture) and bo la lot (beef wrapped in betel leaf, above) to start. The serves are suitable for sharing but I found the meat in both dishes a little dry.

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I think when you go to a cheap Asian restaurant, it’s all about ordering that one, complete, cheap meal and leaving satisfied. Com tam or broken rice (above) is a popular Vietnamese meal with grilled pork, shredded pork skin, egg and a sort of meatloaf with egg. It’s not pretty, but it is a staple meal at Vietnamese restaurants.

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We also ordered a large tom yum soup, although a little oily, it was surprisingly not bad. It was pretty warming and spicy for a winter night’s meal.

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My friend ordered one of the stir-fried chicken dishes, but I’m not sure which one. The chicken had a nice, light sauce whilst the vegies were cut in large chunks like most Asian restaurants.

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I chose the pad thai, which was better than my expectations and quite filling. I think they went a little overboard with the peanuts and towards the end, the flavour does feel a bit repetitive and bland, but I still managed to down it all.

Basil House is open everyday 10.30am-10.30pm. You can find an old version of their menu here as their website seems to be expired.

Basil House on Urbanspoon

Tra Vinh: 70 Nicholson St, Footscray
There are plenty of places to eat in the west, so a lot of people tend to overlook Tra Vinh. This visit actually made us realise that they don’t even have pho on the menu.

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But that’s not what this place is good for! To start off we ordered some classic Vietnamese drinks, a Vietnamese iced coffee and an avocado smoothie ($3 each). My iced coffee was a little small, but considering how strong Vietnamese coffees are, it was probably for the better at night time!

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What my friend loves this place for is their hu tieu mi kho dac biet, special dry Vietnamese pork noodles (apologies for blurry photo above). The noodles and various fillings are hiding underneath those beanshoots, which you can mix altogether with the sweet chilli sauce throughout to help flavour the dry noodles. It was so addictive, my friend ordered another bowl – and why not when it’s only $9.50.

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Hu tieu can also come in a soup base, so I went with the same dish but in a soup version. It has both clear noodles and egg noodles. The broth was welcoming, tasting like a great homemade soup. They have plenty of other dishes too, but they seem to mostly be known for their hu tieu dishes.

Tra Vinh is open daily 9am-8pm. Check out their menu on Urbanspoon.

Tra Vinh on Urbanspoon

Hoa Tran: 246A Springvale Rd, Springvale
This place is always busy and boasts a large menu. Another bustling Vietnamese suburban area, Springvale is home to many restaurants and shops to embrace your inner Asian. It has everything from bubble tea to pho, so whilst you’re there, don’t forget to check out Hoa Tran. Click the picture below for full article.

Hoa Tran is open daily from 9am-9pm. Check out their menu here.

Hoa Tran on Urbanspoon

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Insiders & Adventures!

Insiders of the month: June
If you haven’t noticed my Insiders on the right hand side this month, then you better check them out now! Recommendations include my sister’s friend’s new joint in Thornbury, Jerry Joy. She also used to own the Foodrinkery in Burwood.

Something else that seems to be all the rage is the new burger joint in Footscray – Eat8bit. I’ve heard mixed things about this place, that the burgers and buns are amazing but the waiting times are a bit ridiculous, so who knows when I’ll finally decide to make the trip over. Let me know if you’ve tried it in the comments!

Anyway, most of you know I write for a few other websites. If this blog becomes a bit quiet, I’m probably busy with other articles, so here’s a roundup of the articles I’ve churned out recently.

Fitzrovia
You may have read my previous post on this place down by my work and noticed I wasn’t a big fan. However, another trip to this place provided a different experience and some quality food. Read more here.

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Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

Hoa Tran
A popular place in Springvale, this spot is always busy. They serve a wide range of Asian food but of course specialise in Vietnamese food. The food will come out extremely quickly, so read more here and drop by!

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Hoa Tran on Urbanspoon

A Day in in Ballarat
You may not have seen my recent post on food in Ballarat, but I also did a few other things in this lovely, peaceful town. For a list of things you can do in Ballarat, click here!

Yan Yean Reservoir Park
This place is not too far if you live in the northern suburbs. I was surprised that I had not heard of it before. It’s a lovely place for a picnic, a walk or to take your dogs. Take in the refreshing scenery at Melbourne’s first ever reservoir. Read more.

Altona Dog Beach
Speaking of dogs, if you have some canine friends, the perfect place for them is Altona Dog Beach. It’s enormous and so spacious for dogs to play in, the water is so clear and the views provide a calm atmosphere – until the dogs start wrestling! Read more on Livlicious here.

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Winter Fireworks
What else to do in winter, but enjoy the fireworks by Docklands during July and August. Even better, take a cruise by the Melbourne skylines and get the best view of the show! Read more here.

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Fort Nepean
Last but not least, a second trip to Point Nepean National Park left me just as amazed as the last. It proved there was still so much more for me to explore, so share the experience with me here.

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