for all new international students

Month: May, 2012

Australian cuisine and why I’m looking forward to this year’s show.

Australia has a wide range of different cuisines and some of them are fusion cuisines. We love our pork chops, lamb, asparagus etc.
For me I love trying out different things when I’m in a new country such as new sauces, jams etc. I’ve found that sauced the preservatives at the Market sells and samples a few different jams and sauces. My favourite one is the chilli one.
I’ve always loved coffee here in Melbourne and here in Melbourne we have many types. It is nothing like the HK styles. More towards the American and European style coffees, such as Doppio, americano, espresso. And I love piccolo. I’ve never tried these until I reached Melbourne. In HK it was just the standard black instant espresso. The first cupping class I attended was at Market lane in Prahran.
Prahran market is a foodies heaven. Here you can find all of your gourmet goodies and lovely macaroons. And there are heaps of samples for everyone to try.

And I’ve also loved the tea varieties here. We have many varieties.
I’ve always loved pasta and noodles. Lygon st is known as Little Italy in Melbourne. Here they make their own pastas and cakes etc. I love a good pizza and a pasta.
And I love a good bratwurst.
We love our wines, but I’m not much of a big drinker.
There are different varieties of cheeses here such as Brie and Camembert. I’ve always loved the Brie on crackers. Quite simply divine!!!! And stunning!!!
Just this year, I just had the chance to try Latin American food. And Sonido does really great food so far.
Love the Spanish churros they are divine! There is a churro truck at Queen Victoria Market. But I’ve never tried it.
I also Mexican food. Tacos, burritos are all yummy. Mad Mex in Melbourne central is the best Mexican place by far.
And I love good dumplings in soup with noodles. Yummy. Although there are some really bad places in Melbourne, there some excellent ones too in the heart of the city that doesn’t cost a fortune.


Melbourne Central Shopping day and Gumbo Kitchen

Melbourne central has a VIP shopping day once in a while and it is always full of sales and people. This year they advertised their sales one day before the event. But many people still came for the live bands and stuff.This year’s theme was winter fashion and so Melbourne Central had many free fashion workshops and makeovers. They even had a beuaty bar where people were styled for free. There was heaps of free alcohol after 5pm. Here’s what happened throughout the day.
1) Masterfoods stall
Here they were offering free samples of food for All to try. They have their new sauces in stock which is Chilli Con carne and Tandoori. You can purcahse them at Coles for $2.50 a pop. They were both salty. But I liked the Chilli Con carne one better.

2) Gumbo Kitchen
The Gumbo Kitchen was a pop up truck in Knox Lane. They are based in Northcote and are usually around during dinner time, hence I did not get the chance to try it until now. They were really busy at 12pm when I got there. I think everyone was sick of the Melbourne Central food court and decided to try something different after reading many good things about the truck. Here they did massive meals for $11-$15 and I loved their Po Boy. The Po Boy is a big New Orleans style sandwich. Here they have pickles, sauce, cheese, lettuce and a big serving of seafood or meat. Its just like a hamburger except its more fancy and American.  They should be around Melbourne’s CBD more often as I think people would really enjoy this, rather than the stodgy food that is offered in the city. I think Big Fil did try this before in Brunswick and I can why he enjoyed it. I was a bit too full to try their dessert though and I wanted some room to try some other things offered at the Centre.

3) Bits and bobs.
After lunch I walked around and saw many things such as cute dogs and signs. I also tried the tea at Oriental House and T2 for free.
They did offer showbags, but they ran out early on and I didn’t get one.
There was free fariy floss at Glue but I wasn’t in the mood.
4) Snag stand
You can read about my previous visits here. There was a free barbecue going on. But here I got to sample some of the currywurst sausages for free and loved the flavour. But it was a bit cold from being out for too long. Yum!!!
5) Coffee Masterclass.
We got to try out lots of coffee here and it ran from 5:30pm-6:30pm. I wasn’t really wowed by the coffee and besides I’m a morning person who loves their coffees in the morning and not at night. Sigh. But I did get a 50c off the purchase of a regular coffee voucher for Melbourne Central.

Thanks Melbourne central for putting on such a great day. Hope to see you soon. How about a week for the new international students in July, called O’week?

Gumbo Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Coffee at STREAT

There is a new STREAT shop opened up near my neighbourhood in Newmarket. It is outside the tram stop and about 1kms walk from the train station. It used to be the old Social Roasting Company but I think they moved into the city. They were opened for a few months but I keep passing it and haven’t had a chance to visit until today.
It has the same aims as the STREAT cart and you can read about it here. All the money goes towards the homeless.
But unlike the STREAT cart there aren’t a lot of pastries here. Instead they sell meals and coffee and little treats. They sell mainly breakfast meals and they sure look gorgeous. The atmosphere is lovely and cozy and very relaxing with indoor and outdoor seating.

But I wasn’t here for the breakfasts, mainly for the coffees and snacks since they did a pretty good job at the cart. The coffee ($3.50) is stellar.I love the artwork. (Bryan from Lets Get Fat together would love this).
The vegetarian savory muffin was flavoursome, but I would have liked it to be toasted. And with butter would be nice as I saw some other people’s had butter with theirs.
I would definately return and I’d like to see what Bryan thinks seeing he is a coffee addict.

Has Your thai gone downhill?

It probably has, or otherwise I caught you on a bad day. I should have heeded Big Fil’s advice and not go down that pathway.
But instead I did :(. I remember coming here in my early uni days and liking the place for its good food and cheap price. Back then I also liked its authentic food. It is a Thai place with Vietnamese influences. And supposedly a student cheap eat along Swanston st
There was no service and no smiles and the place was fairly quiet 2pm. I think all the people must have heeded Fils advice.
But nowadays the food is fairly expensive and gone downhill. Although the Age still ranks it as a cheap eat I don’t really think so, having to pay the $18.30 bill for the mediocre food and drink. I ordered a spring roll with vermicelli dish, deep fried tofu and coconut drink. The coconut drink was too sweet for my liking and didn’t have a lot of jelly in it.
The deep fried tofu was just ok… it was a bit too oily for my liking.
The vermicelli dish really disappointed me. WHERE’S THE SAUCE FOR THE DISH???? Why the steamed vegetables for the dish???? It ruins the dish for me. Its supposed to be light with salad, vermicelli and spring rolls, NOT LADEN WITH VEGETABLES!!! Its supposed to have some sort of fish sauce in a little bowl. The spring rolls were soggy. Why is it classified  a cheap eat when it isn’t???
Never ever again. There are so many better places.

Your Thai Rice and Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

The Wharf Hotel= not a fan of long waits

The Wharf Hotel is a place along the Riverside in the city. It is a short walk from Southern Cross Station. It is across the road from Crown Casino where you can see the nightly flames.
Here it was really bustling on a Tuesday night and I came with my library group of 30 people.I also had the Entertainment book voucher of 25% off the bill. Hence my meal was free.
They also have free memberships and it is the same as Campari House except $2.50 coffees.
They were really understaffed on a Tuesday night hence the wait was very long. I didn’t stick around for dessert. The meal for me took about two hours, mainly waiting around for it whilst other tables who came in late were served first. This wasn’t fair.

 Very dark ambience. Love the mysterious atmosphere

Here  you can see the river at night

 The menu- but it is a bit blurry in the dark

They do have lots of yummy $14 pizzas and a $15 steak special on Tuesdays. But I wasn’t in the mood for steak. Their meals are big and everybody on my table loved their meals, but hated the wait.
But there was one lovely blonde waitress, but the others were just terrible. Took a while to get service at the bar just for lemonade.
I loved my pizza which was small, but yummy. I loved the thin crust on it as well as the pumpkins and pinenuts.
But if you love the one hour long wait then this place is for you.

The Wharf Hotel on Urbanspoon

Members party at Campari House

This place was packed last Thursday night with the members party going on. About 180 and more people attended. It was from 5:30pm-6:30pm in the members lounge and there was free drinks and pizzas for all to eat and sample. It was free drinks for all so the champagnes were flowing and the soft drinks were to be had by those that don’t drink.
The lounge was one really noisy place…but it was cozy. It was a party atmosphere, much like the missed “Drinks with friends” event in RMIT. There was limited seating so people stood, or sat downstairs in the restaurant and had a meal like I did or they went to the uber cool upstairs bar. The upstairs bar serves not much food, but more like drinks and cocktails. It is on a rooftop.

What can I get as a Member?
Membership is free- all you do is fill in a form at the restaurant and they’ll give you a card which entitles you to $4 wines, $3 coffees, $200 voucher for every food and beverage package booked, complementary dessert which I received when I ordered dinner and on your birthday you can have a free main meal. You also accrue points which you can spend in the restaurant and much more.
What say I? Go for it and there are always free members parties once in a while. It will save you money and you can still have a fabulous time there

Fair trade festival

Freebies- who doesn’t love em

Free lentil meal- yum

Free toothpaste

The Fair trade fortnight is something that happens every year in May for two weeks. It is there to promote Fair trade products and an environmentally sustainable lifestyle for everyone. There are a few events and many more that happen during this fortnight. But here are some of the ones that happened in Melbourne that I went to:
1) Fair trade at Melbourne Uni
It was a nice sunny day on the north court of Melbourne Uni.
Here they had an array of free chocolates, luncheons and stuff for sale. It attracted about 1000 uni students all wanting a free fix.
The live below the line guys were there handing out free vegetarian goodness. It was yummy goodness. You can do the live below the poverty line project for a week. You only have $10 to spend on food.
Some of the other stalls encouraged people to donate money in which I did.

2) Fair trade at RMIT
This was a lot smaller and they only had a bbq and some stalls. It was a little disorganised, but then again everyone had assignments due and couldn’t help out. Got a few freebies from this such as a toothpaste and other things. can’t wait for tomorrow though.
For the Bundoora students Latrobe University had one as well but it is just like the RMIT one, hence no pictures of this event.

3) Fair trade at Fed Square
This was really hard to find as it is in an attrium and not outside. But still they had all the free samples and chocolate goodies for us to try.
They also had cute things on offer to buy and I bought some chocolates.

4) Free coffee @Starbucks= enjoy
Yay!!! More free goodies for us to enjoy. I had a short black. It was rather busy at the Bourke St mall as many students rocked up for their free caffeine fix. Not everyone knew that the coffees were free and some people actually tried to pay but the guy refused their money. The guy there was really lovely.
The Starbucks coffee is actually fair trade.
Oh I just  wished that their offer would be longer as some people don’t have coffee until after 10am. 

Coffee at be-hive

Be-hive is a little cafe in a part of town that I don’t frequent very often. I only went there with a friend today just for coffee. We had to hand in something to the Victoria Ombudsman and it was just on the ground floor of 459 Collins st.
459 Collins st is where all the offices are, hence I do not go there that often.
You order and pay at the counter.

My hot chocolate- see how nice all the artwork is.

There is a whole range of salads there as well as hot meals for $9.90. Since it was only 11.30am I wasn’t in the mood for lunch. And I wasn’t too hungry.
It was a little quiet as well but the hot chocolate was really good. It was sweet but not too sweet and I didn’t need all the sugar.
My friend picked up the tab and also got herself a cappucino. I didn’t have the chance to ask her, but she said that she really liked the place.
Will return one day soon

Be-Hive Café Bar on Urbanspoon

Loving Verona and all things Italy

Cafe Verona is a little Italian cafe in Vic Market. It always has yummy food and I have been there on a number of occasions whilst buying goodies at the Market.
It has yummy proffetjies (tiny dutch pancakes which taste like normal pancakes except smaller) for $8.50. It includes cream and ice cream and you can choose from berries, lemon, maple syrup, jam, strawberry and chocolate.  I usually go during breakfast time.
I usually go for the berries just because they are healthy and yummy! It failed to disappoint me. But the only thing is the cream melted a bit seeing as it was on top of the pancakes.
But they are made freshly straight after you order it.
The cutlery is on the shelves and you get it yourself. They don’t give it to you.
Some of the things here are vegan and vegetarian. They do have pizzas, soups, sandwiches etc.  I haven’t had a chance to try them. They are only open at the times that the market is opened.

Sicilian donuts with fig paste inside. These are authentic Italian donuts, just like your average jam donut, except its fig paste. One of these at the market is $0.80 

Café Verona on Urbanspoon

Yoyogi= doesn’t like it.

Yoyogi is a Japanese place along Swanston st in the part where all the Asian eateries are. They have been opened for many years now and is always popular with students and workers. I seriously don’t know why so many liked it on Urbanspoon. In the first few times I went I always liked it, but now why have you gone downhill? Why is it that the rice is really warm now; it used to be great. I used to want to pay the price of $17.30 for chirashi sushi, miso soup, agedashi tofu and tea. Now I don’t think that it is worth price seeing as the quality went downhill.
It was really quiet at 2:30pm when I came. The service is a bit meh to my liking. I thought you had to wait to be seated. But instead you seat yourself?And how come when a lady went to pay $14.40 on her EFT card, you let her when it said no EFTPOS payments for purchases under $30?????  The waitress was really confused when I ordered the chirashi, tofu and tea. And she was really confused when I asked her whether or not the soup comes with the meal as stated on the menu. And at the end when I went to pay I asked for the receipt. Again they were confused!!! Argh!!!! Is it really hard for a receipt.

The table was still a little bit dirty and still messy.
They do sushi and other Japanese meals
To my surprise the soup came with the chirashi and I really did like it. But the fish on the chirashi was really bland and not all fresh even though I could see them making it. Too much rice in the bowl and not enough other ingredients. And on the table next to me a guy ordered a yaki soba and it looked nothing like the plastic model. In fact it looked like two minute noodles.
But I loved the tofu. $5.50 what a bargain for 4 big fresh and yummy tofu. Agedashi tofu is deep fried tofu (like tempura) with sauce and bonito flakes (Japanese edible decorations) and spring onion.
So not worth the $17.30. I should have walked out without paying, but the cashier caught my eye and I had to pay. GODDAMMIT!!!! Not a happy jan!!!! I’d really like to see what Big Fil thinks of the place seeing as he probably visits.

Yoyogi on Urbanspoon

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