Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dumplings in West Footscray and more tasty tidbits from around the traps

Sorry for the super long time between drinks, folks!  I have been really busy, and there are only so many things a girl can eat.  Although I did have a chuckle at this - it's pretty much my life!


Heh heh heh!


Anyway, I thought I'd make you a nice concentrated missal of all the goodies I've been chowing down on in the last couple of months.  Firstly, a shoutout to Tien, proprietor of Dong Que, hands down one of my all-time Footscray faves.


Dong Que do awesome coleslaws, from a prawn and pork with lotus root to this 'un, beef jerky with green papaya.


Their signature dish is bun ca thang long or turmeric-marinated fish served with lots of dill.  It's a northern Vietnamese specialty, related to bun cha Ha Noi (more on that later).  It's so popular that when you step into Dong Que, the air is redolent with gorgeous floral dill almost all the time.  To eat, you make a little DIY salad with noodles, herbs and fish.  If the supplied stinky anchovy sauce is too much, don't be shy to ask for the standard nuoc cham mam!


Dong Que were one of the stops on this year's Rickshaw Run.  I volunteered over a few sessions, as did the indomitable Kenny and Bennie from Consider the Sauce, as well as a number of FFB readers (big shoutouts to Chris, Mark, Jenny, Carolyn and Eve!)  We even had an awesome couple who had moved into Footscray barely a week before and liked what they saw so much that they signed up to volunteer too.


This is Eve who writes Conversation with Jenny who, despite her sylphic frame, managed to haul my ever-expanding person around one evening.  Thanks Eve!!  Footscray got some star power that night too with HaiHa Lee (next to me in the rickshaw), a long-time local resident and actor with many credits including Bed of Roses and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  Her and partner Pier's go-to Footscray joint?  Not usual suspects Hao Phong or Sapa Hills - it's Tra Vinh!  Instant cred!


In other news, one day whilst roaming about, I found this little gem on the "other" side of Sunshine (near Dragon Express).


They sell gorgeous Polish cakes (I think by the slice) and plum jam donuts, plus take-home meals just like Babcia used to make.  (I had a Polish friend at school and I remember her mother pinching the skin on my forehead and saying, "STILL ROOM FOR MORE PIEROGIS!"  I think that's where my problems started.)  You can read more about Roli Poli over here at Pretty Wak by Amie Batalibasi, founder of Footscray's Colour Box Studio.


And while we're on the subject of dumplings, West Footscray's newest eatery opened just a few days ago!  It's called Magic Momo Kafe and it's the baby of Ravi (above).  Given the name, the four momo varieties are only a tiny part of the menu, which ranges from a big breakfast, to burgers or calamari and chips.  Everything is well priced, especially kids' options - from memory, pancakes with ice cream are about $4.


These chicken momos were yummy, the mince inside juicy and spiked with herbs, ginger and onion.  They can come simmered, steamed or fried, and Ravi said the steamed option is the most traditional.  We didn't get so lucky with the vegie version, which had collapsed somewhat.  Kenny and Bennie had better luck - theirs looked a bit plumper.  But surely all sins should be forgiven in the first week of opening!  (Magic Momo are at 588 Barkly St, West Footscray.)


What Magic Momo Kafe also have is a dizzying display of Indian sweets including four varieties of one of my faves, cham cham, which is almost like an eclair with a lightly-cooked gulab jamun-like exterior and a fudgy filling.  (It's the pink one above.)  They're all $2 each.


In other West Footscray news, Rino at Vari's Fruit & Veg has started offering seasonal organic fruit and veg boxes.  There are two sizes, $35 and $60, and you need to order by Wednesday for Saturday pickup.  He read me what was in both sizes and it's a very impressive amount of fresh organic produce.  You can also get eggs, and while I was there, Josh (aka, "the boss") and mum from Seven Hills Organic Farm came to drop off that week's order.  Boxes can also include Sourdough Kitchen bread (which Vari's actually sell fresh every day) and organic juice.  Call 9689 1491 for more deets.


West Footscray was pretty devvo that Andres and Shannon of Besito decided to hang up the arepa press, for family reasons.  The old site of Besito is currently under construction and is going to be the third Melbourne branch of Chawla's Indian.  According to their website, "Chawla's cream chicken was born not to die".  Yum, I think?!


  1. Oh no I never got to Besito. Had been meaning to for ages. What a shame :(

    1. Bummer!! Los Latinos in Maidstone and Ascot Vale do arepas, but I would recommend Sonido as they specialise in them. They're in Gertrude St, Fitzroy.

  2. Roli Poli is awesome! I haven't been in a long time since some dietary changes but those donuts were divine. My neighbours used to make them when I was little :)

    1. Aren't they delicious! With the thick plum jam, they taste almost healthy. Or maybe that's just some serious justification going on on my part!

  3. nice mention of Vari's - the organic produce really has been fantastic value. Happy customer :)

    1. Great to hear Tania! When I moved here Vince (Rino's dad) was in charge, and now Rino is. Lovely to see an intergenerational local family business going strong.

  4. I haven't eaten in Footscray in so long!! Will have to try out Dong Que. Thanks for the post!

    The Urban Diet

  5. I may be wrong - but can Barkly St really support another Indian restaurant? The last few have opened and closed very quickly.

    1. There aren't any new Indian restaurants, Magic MoMo cafe is apparently nepalese but their menu seems limited to burgers, chips, parmas etc. The food isn't bad but would be miles better with a few small changes.

      I agree though with such a large Indian population here there really isn't an excuse for the lack of well priced good indian food. funky curry on Gordon St isn't bad Dosa Hut and Taj Palace are great! sweets and spice on barkly for their Pakistani kebabs- everything else there is below avg unfortunately.

    2. Isabel, I think phoebs is referring to the soon-to-open Chawla's that I mentioned above (on the old site of Besito).

      I really like Dosa Hut. We have been ardent Aangan fans but sometimes I reckon they rest on their laurels... We have regularly gotten the same items takeaway for many years and often they come out so different, it's hard to believe it's the same dish.

      Have you tried Hyderabad Inn? They are trying really hard. Got to get there myself.

    3. Hyderabad Inn has just reopened after a revamp. Looks more inviting than the previous canteen-like vibe. Haven't tried Funky Curry yet. And don't forget Vanakkam for the best biryani, $12 and $10 on Tuesday nights! MMMmmmmm ...

    4. I agree with Phoebs. There are enough Indian restaurants on Barkly Street. I think the best in the area is Mishra's Kitchen anyway, and that's in Yarraville.

  6. Oh! so yummy! I would love to taste that Dong Que do.. That looks yummy Lauren! I'm starving


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