Got a hankering for an authentic Southeast Asian feed? Our city’s got you covered. Melbourne’s streets are crawling with the delicious flavours of Vietnam, the trick is knowing exactly where to lay your chopsticks. And we’ve scoured the city to find exactly which tables are worth pulling up a pew at. (If you're after Melbourne's best banh mi or pho, we've got you covered there too).
Here are the eight best Vietnamese restaurants in Melbourne.
Adored for its Hawker-style food, Hanoi Hannah has been feeding hungry patrons on High Street for years. Their delicious menu includes piping hot pho, Peking duck, curry chicken, rice paper rolls and a loooooong list of delicious beers, wines and cocktails to help you ease it all down your gullet. Plus, there’s an off-the-menu hack you should know too: you can order half-phos, which leaves more room in your tum for fresh spring rolls.
In the heart of the city is another Vietnamese favourite. Paperboy Kitchen not only lives up to authentic Southeast Asian standards, but it goes above and beyond the traditional Melbourne standard for cultural dining. Inconspicuously tucked away on Little Lonsdale Street, this little food haven is decked out in industrial furniture, leafy plants and mouthwatering Bánh mì and rice-noodle bowls. We also can’t talk about this Vietnamese institution without making mention of its fried chicken and Sriracha mayo— THIS is something worth phoning home about.
Coda is tucked down Flinders Lane, and it's hard to tell exactly what it does. Modern Asian fusion? French-Vietnamese? Proto-deliciousness? You know what, it doesn't matter. It's god damn delicious. Settle down for a fancy date night with Hà Nội-style fried rice paper rolls, stuffed with pork, truffle and nước chấm, or O’Connor’s Black Angus strip loin, served with gribiche and spicy green peppercorn sauce. If you’re not being rolled out of there already, don’t skip past the desserts—rum-roasted pineapple, Thai basil sorbet, whipped mascarpone cream and sable Breton are the standouts.
We didn't think we could love anything of Jerry Mai's more than the crispy chicken banh mi at Pho Nom...but then she went and created Annam. You'll find this one past Chinatown, up the Spring St end of Little Bourke (a highly underrated strip, in our humble opinion—Punch Lane and Liverpool Place are out of control). The menu here picks up influences from all over: Delicate pork & prawn siu mai from China. An insane spices Wagyu tartare, served with roasted marrow and Chinese doughnuts. Little sprinkles of Laos, Cambodia, even Japan. Want our advice? Skip straight to dessert. The fried ice-cream at Annam is one of the best dishes we ate in 2017.
CBD & St Kilda
Uncle has a lengthy and delicious menu ripe for tasting. While it’s a little less traditional than other eateries on this list, it isn’t any less delicious. You can opt for a mix of dishes from the a la carte menu, or you can place your trust in the venue and put your hand up for the ‘feed me’ option. Particular menu items to wrap your lips around include the soft shell crab Bánh mì, pho ga and wok tossed zucchini and steamed rice rolls.
Rice Paper Scissors
CBD & Fitzroy
Speaking of modern grazing hotspots, Rice Paper Scissors is another name that should be nearing the top of your must-eat list. Boasting a modern Vietnamese street food menu with a Thai twist, this joint is perfect for big eaters, and also big vegans, thanks to its plethora of vegan-friendly options. Dishes of note include the fried chicken, banh bao, tempura prawn buns and the Vietnamese espresso martini (of course).
In terms of Vietnamese authenticity, it doesn’t get much better than quaint little Hem 27 near the Flemington Racecourse. This local setup boasts hawker style alley cuisines including noodle soups, steamed rice, spring rolls, rice pancakes, butter sauteed quail, Vietnamese salad and the staple rice paper rolls. There’s also a long list of desserts, fruit drinks and authentic Vietnamese drip filter coffee. While it’s not nearly as swanky as anything you’d find on Brunswick Street, it’s cheap, cheerful and loaded with fresh ingredients.
How does six classic Vietnamese spring rolls for $8.90 sound? Or $5 miniature pho cups? Or two soft shell crab baos for $13? Yeah, we bloody thought so. Located on the delicious end of Chapel Street, Kin has taken Vietnamese cuisine back to its roots with tasty fare that won’t break the bank or your diet. They offer all of the classics, including fresh pho, melt-in-your-mouth rice dishes and good old-fashioned green tea ice cream, and all at prices that won’t have you eating Cruskits and Vegemite for a fortnight.
Hungry pho more? Here are the best spots to get pho in Melbourne as well.
Image credit: Griffin Simm