St Albans is my favourite place to visit for great Vietnamese food. There are dozens of restaurants, bakeries, fresh and cheap groceries.
This is Vietnamese food heaven. Trust me, I've been to Victoria Street in Richmond and Footscray and this is still my number one preference. The main shopping strip is Alfrieda Street. You can easily get here by train.
St Albans is one of the most culturally diverse areas of Melbourne and the variety of accents and languages you hear on the streets is testament to that.
The local IGA supplies a great range of ingredients from the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe (check out the range of pickles), as well as many Vietnamese grocery shops a few Indian ones too.
Aside from Vietnamese restaurants, there are a couple of Indian ones, some Turkish kebab shops, a great Slovenian deli, and a halal butcher on Main Road West.
This deli has an unassuming exterior, but inside, it's full of delightful treats. I particularly recommend their boreks and poppyseed rolls. Closes around 2pm so make sure you get there early.
Spices, sauces, pickles, herbs, snacks, pots, pans - everything you need to make a delicious Indian meal. Next door's restaurant is simple and tasty, though service can be a bit leisurely.
Hanna opened this coffee shop maybe 4 years ago. It's a busy place stocked with nuts, interesting biscuits, sweets and magazines. Regular patrons are the older fellas from the former Yugoslavia.
This shop has a fine display in the window. Filled with cakes, rolls and a few Vietnamese buns, it's always a good place to stop to check out what's on offer.
There are all sorts of mysterious and delicious food items here. Some are sweet, some savoury, some both sweet AND savoury! I don't quite remember what they're called so I just point at what I want.
Tucked in a laneway is my favourite Vietnamese restaurant. The owner Dao is lovely and hospitable. The pho is terrific. My favourite dish is lemongrass beef wrapped in vine leaves.
If you loiter long enough, you might learn how to play Chinese chess from one of the locals. A popular pastime for the blokes visiting Alfrieda Street.
I usually have an egg and salad roll from here, though there are many variations to choose from. There is a short wait as this is probably the most popular place for Vietnamese rolls in the area.
There are a couple of fishmongers on this side. I try to pick sustainable fish from Australia (snapper is always yummy).
This is one of many Vietnamese grocery stores in the area. I like checking out the aisles of cans and bottles from different places. There's plenty of fresh veg that I've never seen elsewhere too.
Take a seat here and stop to watch the crowds go by.
St Albans market has cheap and fresh fruit and veg. Unfortunately there was a fire recently. I hope it's open again soon!