culture shock – food

FoodYes, the food is similar. We have fish’n’ chips, meat pies and pasties, takeaway pizza, sausages on the barbie. So far, nothing spectacularly different. But on top of that there are so many new things. Melbourne is a gastronome’s paradise: there is even a permanent newspaper segment called Epicure dedicated to all things gourmet.


There is an infinite number of places to have breakfast in Melbourne, even out in the suburbs. Whilst now and again we miss the honest fare of a good London-Greek caff or a full Irish breakfast (aah, how I miss Irish sausages and decent brown bread), even close to work I can sample divine French toast, fruit-laden raisin breads, omelettes, eggs benedict, home-made muesli, porridge with banana, and of course good coffee.

Melburnians take their coffee extremely seriously. Not for them a Starbucks at every corner: the local cafes and even train stations serve the very best espressos, macchiatos and café lattes. Starbucks is here, but tolerated rather than revered.

Good delis and markets are never far away. Footscray Market is our local, dominated by Vietnamese and Chinese food but boasting the very best fishmongers and butchers not to mention fresh fruit and vegetables. It is mentioned in Rick Stein’s “Food Heroes” book as an excellent source of fresh produce. Victoria, Prahran and South Melbourne Markets are just as good, with famous dim sims at one (larger versions of Chinese dumplings) and a great organic produce section at another. 

Melbourne also has a burgeoning Slow Food culture too. The state of Victoria alone has five Slow Food convivia, and coming up soon is A Taste of Slow, two full weeks of quality food and wine, with a focus on seasonal, regional and traditional foods and boutique wineries.

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