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Cuisines for Every Tastebud

20 Feb 2018

From Chinese immigration during the 1850s gold rush, through to the Italian, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern communities that have blossomed throughout the suburbs since the end of World War Two, it’s well-known that Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures.

The best place to experience this multiculturalism is at the dinner table, and it won’t take long to tantalise your tastebuds. Getting around Melbourne is so easy that you can almost take a train or tram in any direction and find something delicious; however, use this list as inspiration for destinations to treat yourself and your travelling companions with a delicious meal, sweet treat or both. Whether you’re in Melbourne for a special occasion, a family break or for no particular reason at all you’ll find something to keep everyone happy.

Chinese

With 31% of Australia’s Chinese-born population living in Greater Melbourne, unsurprisingly you don’t need to travel too far to find authentic, delicious Chinese food. You’ll find everything from cheap dumplings and fine Chinese cuisine in Chinatown [Little Bourke Street between Exhibition and Swanston Streets], but head further out to Box Hill and dive into its authentic and vibrant Chinese food scene. One of the best is Roast Duck Inn [29-31 Carrington Street, Box Hill], where fresh, fragrant roast meats form the restaurant’s signature dishes. Their food is priced well, it’s delicious, and you will leave counting the days until your next visit to Box Hill.

Tram: Route 109 to stop 58, Box Hill Central / Whitehorse Road (then walk 250 metres)
Train:
Belgrave or Lilydale lines to Box Hill Station

Food Trucks

Food Trucks have become so popular with Melburnians that ‘food truck parks’ are popping up all over the city and inner suburbs. While Welcome to Thornbury [518 High Street, Preston] is a reliable option every day of the week, with a well-stocked bar and up to seven trucks onsite, a little further north at The Food Truck Park – Preston an ever-changing festival atmosphere prevails. Spread out over 3000 square metres, incorporating an indoor warehouse for those inclement days (it is Melbourne, after all), their weekend offerings span themed line-ups like All American Feast, Greek Food Festival and a tantalising Ice Cream Festival

Tram: Route 86 to stop 51, Wood Street / Plenty Road (then walk 850 metres)
Train:
South Morang line to Preston Station (then walk 800 metres)

Italian

Lygon Street, Carlton is the traditional home of Italian food; however great Italian cuisine can be found all throughout Greater Melbourne. A recent – and tiny – addition to the scene is Cucinetta [4/3 Murphy Street, South Yarra], just off the bustling and beautiful Toorak Road, South Yarra. The restaurant seats only 21 people so bookings are recommended, and the space is so small there’s no refrigeration required; the meat, fish and produce are delivered before service each day and once it’s been served, that’s it! Pasta and bread are made in-house daily, and the approach means that no two nights at Cucinetta are the same (so you should probably just come back again!)

Tram: Route 58 to stop 126, Myrtle Street / Toorak Road (then walk 130 metres)
Train:
Sandringham, Frankston, Cranbourne or Pakenham lines to South Yarra Station (then walk 220 metres)

Middle Eastern

With quality Middle Eastern restaurants scattered throughout the suburbs – from Rumi in East Brunswick with their delicious banquets to Coburg’s cheap and satisfying Zaatar – you’ll never be too far from a fragrant, spicy and adventurous meal. Deep in the heart of the city centre, though, is Maha [21 Bond Street, Melbourne], the perfect spot for a special occasion or celebration. Descend the unassuming stairwell and dive into a set-course menu that will take your tastebuds on a tour through the flavours of the Middle East. Head chef Shane Delia has crafted a menu that easily caters for vegetarians, to be paired by a decadent cocktail list.

Tram: Route 35, 70 or 75 to stop 4, Flinders Street Station / Flinders Street (then walk 300 metres)
Train:
Any train to Flinders Street Station (then walk 300 metres)

Vietnamese

There are more than 100,000 Vietnam-born Melburnians, so you don’t have to go far to find a bowl of pho or something equally as tantalising. Head into Melbourne’s west – think suburbs like Footscray, Sunshine and St Albans – and more than one in ten residents were born in Vietnam (in St Albans 19% of the population were born in Vietnam). Take a stroll down Alfrieda Street, St Albans and let your nose lead you into one of the many restaurants that line the street. Relatively cheap, ridiculously tasty, and unapologetically authentic, you’ll be thrilled you made the trip to the west.

Train: Sunbury line to St Albans Station

Greek

One of Melbourne’s most prominent Greek communities can be found in the south-eastern suburb of Oakleigh. Eaton Mall is a focal point and the heart of the suburb. Settle in by pulling up a seat at Vanilla Lounge [17-21 Eaton Street, Oakleigh] and ordering yourself a deep, dark barista made coffee. You might not be able to understand much of the Greek language that is being spoken around you, but the atmosphere will have you on a high – if the caffeine doesn’t. You can arrive early as they open from 7am, however if you’re a late riser – or prefer an afternoon, evening or late-night baklava or mezze plate – they’re open until 1am, seven days.

Train: Pakenham or Cranbourne line to Oakleigh Station

getting around

Need some help getting from A to B so you can discover Melbourne?

Just pop your starting point and where you want to go into the PTV Journey Planner, as well as your ideal departure or arrival time.

The Planner will find the easiest way for you to get where you want to go, plus give you easy-to-follow instructions on how to get there.

For more information, visit ptv.vic.gov.au