Melbourne is widely known as Australia’s food capital – and for good reason.
Both local and international students will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out, with Melbourne boasting a proud reputation as a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, from Indian and Italian to Greek and Chinese.
Here are Victoria University’s top five destinations for an international feed:
1. Chinatown, central business district (Chinese)
Located just a short walk from VU’s City Flinders Campus, at the eastern end of Little Bourke St, Chinatown is notable for being the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world, and one of the oldest Chinatowns in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, Melbourne's Chinatown is a major tourist attraction that is home to a variety of restaurants offering cuisines from not only China but Thailand, Japan, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Korea. As a student, chances are you’ll be on a budget. For one of the best budget-friendly Chinese feeds, head to Shanghai Dumpling House in Tattersalls Lane, just off Little Bourke St. For less than $15 a head, you’ll dine from the “eat all you can eat” menu – just be prepared to join the queue!
2. Lygon Street, Carlton (Italian)
Otherwise known as Little Italy, this renowned Italian dining district is a short tram ride from Melbourne’s CBD. As Melbourne’s original restaurant precinct, Lygon St is known worldwide for its Italian restaurants and pizza parlours. With more 100 restaurants, bars and cafes lining the street, serving everything from pizza and pasta to gelato and cassata, Little Italy has something to appeal to all tastebuds.
3. Lonsdale Street (Greek)
For Greek-style cakes, pastries, tarts and slices, plus other popular desserts, head to International Diethnes Cakes on Lonsdale Street, in Melbourne’s Greek precinct. You’ll find all the Greek specialities, from pastel and nougat to halva and loukoumi, plus tiramisu and a mouth-watering selection of cakes.
4. Victoria Street, Abbotsford (Vietnamese)
Victoria Street, in Abbotsford, is an area fondly known as Little Saigon, and is the heart of Melbourne's Vietnamese community. A 20-minute tram ride from VU’s City Flinders Campus, Victoria Street is a bustling stretch of traditional Vietnamese eateries, bakers, butchers, fishmongers and grocers, making it an ideal place to go for a Vietnamese meal.
5. Foster Street, Dandenong (Indian)
Located 30km from Melbourne's CBD, Little India, in and around Foster Street Dandenong, is Melbourne's only recognised Indian precinct. Dandenong train station and bus interchange is right on the doorstep of Little India. There are approximately 30 shops in Little India, featuring speciality goods from India, Pakistan, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Be dazzled by the beaded saris, beautiful clothing and unique jewellery from the precinct’s numerous fashion outlets, or be tempted by a colourful array of Punjabi sweets and authentic spices.
Footscray is home to a thriving Chinese, Vietnamese and, increasingly, North African community.
Beyond the butchers, fishmongers and delis of the Footscray Market, the surrounding streets are filled with Indian food stores, Italian bakeries and Asian grocers.
So whether you're in the mood for an Ethiopian coffee experience, South East Asian market shopping, fresh Italian cannoli or a bowl of yum cha, Melbourne has you covered!