Before I moved to Melbourne I had visions of where I wanted to live, St Kilda, Fitzroy, South Yarra; all suburbs that to be honest, I love, they’re amazing, each and everyone of them has their own unique charm and enough going on to keep you busy for months. The one place I hadn’t pictured myself living however was in West Footscray. Approximately 21km West of Melbourne’s amazing CBD, fifteen minutes from the city by train and about a million miles away in noise pollution, hipsters and bar culture.
I ended up living in ‘the bush’ as I fondly called it, out of the city as I had been offered an amazing opportunity to housesit this absolutely gorgeous apartment in West Footscray that offered an apartment so good I couldn’t turn it down. To be honest, I am so happy that I didn’t, yes it meant that I was in Melbourne much longer after I had previously planned, but what can I say, I love it there, I hold no shame in staying in one city for longer than anticipated that’s part of the joy of travelling solo.
I always knew I was going to love Melbourne, it has been the city where I’ve wanted to live for years, back when Australia was all just a pinterest dream, but what I didn’t count on is that I’d end up really quite liking Footscray quite as much as I did, despite the lack of bars, weird clubs, hot yoga, hipster cafes and close proximity to beaches. You see, it brings something much better to the table, and I mean that literally, Footscray is well known for its food, more specifically Vietnamese food. Footscray has been hailed “Little Vietnam” and for good reason, the suburb is teaming with Vietnamese restaurants, Asian cafes, specialist supermarkets and more Pho places than you can shake a spoon at, but best of all all of the food is absolutely outstanding; in fact the pho round these parts is famous and rightly so, cooked fresh and steaming it is one of the best meals you can grab for some of the best prices in the city.
Imagine, if you will, a plate piled high full of freshly steamed dumplings, full of fresh vegetables, hot and ready to dunk into a Chilli and Soy Sauce combo, or a plate of freshly fried dumplings, meat filled, with a sizzling hot chilli oil lavishly drizzled over the top? Now, imagine that for these two huge plates of dumplings which filled both me and my foodie friend up to the brim cost us both less than $20AUD, that’s pretty much unheard of in Melbourne, at least it is for food *that* good.
Think it was just a lucky fluke? A few weeks later I was walking down Geelong Road, the main place for all of your foodie feasts when I stumbled upon a vegetarian restaurant, sitting inside were six monks, all draped in burnt orange robes, “well” I thought, “if it’s good enough for monks” and I walked in. Upon walking into the restaurant I was treated to one of the very best meals I’ve had, chilli vegetarian ‘chicken’ piled on top of fluffy rice and served with a lemongrass and ginger sauce with lashings of my favourite Asian chilli jam on top… the price? $10AUD for a meal so good they could they could have easily have charged double.
Footscray might not have a ton of bars or nightclubs, but honestly, after eating your way through some of the best Asian food you can get outside Asia you won’t find yourself missing them, and if you do, then the city is only a short hop, skip and train ride away, don’t miss out on this amazing side of the city when you’re visiting Melbourne… come hungry.