Steeped in rich culinary tradition, Vietnamese Restaurants in Northcote bring a taste of Southeast Asia right to the Melbourne shores. Many Vietnamese-Aussies have persevered through tragically hard times to make a new life in the Outback. We’re just glad they made it safely – and brought their secret pho recipes with them!
Pho: A Culinary Gem
The main culinary attraction from Vietnamese restaurants in Northcote, every bowl of Pho brings the hope of another day. Pho is not just some common Campbells’ soup; it is a steaming hot, savory, satisfying meal - complete with your choice of meat, noodles, veggies and aromatics on top.
The bone broth is made by simmering animal bones and tendons for hours, until every last bit of flavorful marrow is extracted from the ingredients. Cooked with onion, garlic, and other aromatics for deeper flavor, you know pho broth is perfect when it maintains a deep brown, rich color. There is a perfect balance between a savory saltiness and a mild sweetness (from cinnamon) that makes each bite an absolute feast.
Aside from incredibly rich broth, Pho has the unique method of slicing your choice of meat so thin, it actually cooks in the piping-hot broth. That way, you know the meat is at its freshest; it cooks before your eyes, going from a raw red to a tasty, scrumptious pink. Topping off the dish is a variety of aromatics and veggies like basil, bean sprouts, lime juice, and even mushrooms or snow peas for adventurous eaters!
The Pho bone broth soups pair beautifully with spring rolls, so picking up a few prawn spring rolls on the side would make for the ultimate lunch or dinner. All these options and more are available right at your local Vietnamese restaurants in Northcote – check the descriptions of QIKI Cuisine’s favorite local dishes below!
1. Chicken or Beef Pho
Rice-flour noodles and thinly sliced meats of your choice cook right in this savory bone broth. Simmered for hours and flavored with onion, garlic, cinnamon, and more, the aroma of pho is enough to get you through the winter blues. Topped with bean sprouts, pho is perfect for any day you are feeling under the weather.
2. Prawn Spring Rolls
These guys are the perfect complement to a bowl of piping-hot pho. The prawn is bought fresh from the Melbourne seafood market, and they are wrapped up in an incredibly chewy, delectable rice paper. This rice paper is very thin, but its flavor and structural integrity hold the entire dish together. They can be made fresh, boiled, or fried for your preference. Flavored with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, or oyster sauce. All add a wonderful punch of umami.
3. Banh Xeo
Crispy savory crepe with prawn, pork, mung bean, and bean sprouts. Served with a side of fresh salad. Entire dish is mixed with herbs and drizzled in a rich fish sauce that brings out the ultimate “umami” flavor - meaty deliciousness.
4. Pan-Fried Dumplings (prawn, pork & chives, or veggie)
Vietnamese dumplings are like their Chinese cousins or Japanese gyoza – little wrapped bundles of joy. Your choice of meat and veggies layer the inside of the dumpling, while they are seared to crispy perfection on the outside. Highly recommended from the Vietnamese restaurants in Northcote.
5. Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
A very flavorful veggie dish, Chinese broccoli achieves a very nice texture and consistency when fried Vietnamese-style. The punch of savory “umami” from the oyster sauce will keep you coming back for bite after bite after bite.
Although it is beautifully delicious now, the history of Pho comes from the struggle of the Vietnamese people. The origins of food like pho start with French imperialism, where the French colonists would take all the expensive cuts, just leaving tendons and animal bones to the Vietnamese locals.
Herein lies the culinary magic: these communities took seemingly nothing and turned it into something exquisite, rich, and arguably more delicious than anything the French made with costlier ingredients. From this struggle, dishes like pho were born.
To get a sense of the gratitude the owners of Vietnamese restaurants in Northcote have for Australia, check out the story of Hien Vo here. It chronicles how many times Vietnamese-Aussie citizens strove for freedom before they finally broke through. It is a powerful message of perseverance. Now, Vietnamese restaurants in Northcote can share their delicious food and life story with us, enriching the entire Melbourne community as a whole. It is just another thread of life tied into our lovely city.
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