Diverse dining: Melbourne’s suburbs are where it’s at for authentic cultural cuisines

THE city might have plenty of multicultural food options available but any true Melbourne foodie will tell you the suburbs are where you should go for an authentic ethnic experience. Trinity College Foundation Studies students Luna Manee, Tingyi Wang and Gloria Xiao offer their recommendations on where to go for diverse dining.


Most international students live in the city and as such their options for food aren’t so limited. Indeed Melbourne’s CBD offers a diverse range of places to visit for food, from Chinatown in Little Bourke St to Lonsdale St’s Greek precinct a block over, but outside the city, there are entire suburbs known entirely for a particular types of cuisines.

Carlton, for example, is predominately known for its Italian eateries situated all across Lygon St but it is not alone. Below you’ll find some suburbs famous for delivering dishes unique to the cultural makeup of the people who inhabit the suburb.

Vietnamese food in Richmond and Footscray


Due to the wave of Vietnamese immigrants who came to Australia during the ’70s,  Melbourne has become one of the best cities to try Vietnamese cuisine outside of Vietnam.

Within Melbourne, the Vietnamese community is predominately concentrated across four suburbs: St Alban’s, Springvale, Footscray and Richmond. The latter two, however, are probably the best places to go to for an amazing Vietnamese dining experience.

In Richmond, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from that offer affordable prices for food. The average price for for a medium-sized pho noodle soup costs around $10 and the portions are extremely generous. Restaurants to check out in Richmond include Loving Hut (if you’re a vegan) and Super Bowl Pho & Bun Bo Hue – both located in Victoria St.

Footscray meanwhile is home to Dong Ba, which has several shopfronts in Melbourne and Sydney (the first of which opened in Cabramatta, Sydney which also has a large Vietnamese community). At Dong Ba, we recommend the Bun Bo Hue; a spicy noodle soup from the Hue region of Vietnam; Hu Tieu (a type of rice noodle soup) and Bun Thit Nuong (rice vermicelli with grilled pork and dipping sauce).

Chinese cuisines in Box Hill

There is no doubt that there is a large number of Chinese students within the international student community but where can they go to for food from their hometown when they’re feeling a little homesick?

Other than Chinatown in the city, Box Hill is also home to a great many Chinese restaurants and also has a large Chinese community living in the suburb.

For a Shanghai cuisine, Shanghai 1930 on Whitehorse Rd is the place to go, especially if you want to impress someone on a night out.

If you want to try Cantonese cuisine, visit Canton Lake Restaurant on Station St to try some of the best Cantonese food that Melbourne has to offer.

And what’s Chinese food without a bit of spice? Dainty Sichuan, which also has locales in South Yarra and within the CBD, is another popular choice for those who love the tastes of Sichuan province.

Modern Australian brunch in Fitzroy


The joys of living abroad include experiencing new things. For international students in Melbourne, experiencing a modern Australian brunch has its own charm and the best place to go for that is in Fitzroy, which isn’t so far away from the CBD.

Breakfast Thieves is one place to go for new overseas students who’ll no doubt find it to be unforgettable experience. With seating available indoors and outdoors, the aesthetic of Breakfast Thieves — and other eateries like it in Fitzroy — provide a completely different vibe than those found in the city.

Aside from enjoying brunch in Fitzroy and experiencing Australia’s own laidback lifestyle, there are plenty of markets, art galleries, op-shops and other niche stores located all around the suburb,. Creative street art can be found everywhere too, offering great opportunities for a photo-op everywhere you go.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via meld@meldmagazine.com.au.

There are 2 comments

  1. Katherine

    You better mention which lines and which trams/trains/buses gets us to each place. Otherwise people will get lost. And please include the all day price of $7.80 of getting there.

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