Footscray Rickshaw Run 2014
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to this event
I’ll have to say this event was one of the more unique ‘catch-up’ sessions I’ve had. Friend and fellow blogger Lauren (of Footscray Food Blog) is this year’s Footscray Rickshaw Run coordinator and she extended complimentary tickets to me. You can read more about the event here.
Funnier still, I asked Fakegf if she’d like to be my plus one, and she replied saying she’d actually volunteered to be one of the rickshaw pullers. So my plus one ended up being Fakegf’s partner – The Angmoh (which from my point of view can be called ‘FakeOtherGuy’…).
This essentially meant that Fakegf ended up pulling both of her boyfriends (fake and real… OMG that sounds so wrong) that evening… ha ha ha! You can read more about her experiences as a volunteer rickshaw puller here.
D & K Live Seafood
After registration, the Angmoh and myself were directed to our first stop, which was a shop selling live seafood. We joined the rest of the group (8 in total) and met up with volunteer marshall and West-side blogger Kenny (of Consider The Sauce). All hopes of anonymity flew out the window as he introduced me to the group as a fellow food blogger, although my biggish camera was a dead giveaway anyway… ^.^
The first stop allowed us to enjoy freshly shucked oysters from Tasmania (foreground) and Sydney (background) sourced by D & K Live Seafood. I recall purchasing an affordably priced live barramundi from them a few years ago. They slaughtered and cleaned it on the spot, and it made a marvellous Chinese steamed fish dinner that night. I should keep this place in mind if I need fresh seafood in the future.
Little Saigon Market
We next loaded ourselves up onto the cute cute rickshaws and were pulled just around the corner to Little Saigon market. I laughed a little inside as we strolled in because I visit this place for my Asian groceries very often!
It was around 7pm then and the vendors were starting to close up. I slipped away from the group briefly and did a bit of personal grocery shopping, buying fragrant mangoes for a breezily cheap $1.99/kg and a large bunch of kang kong (aka. rau muống / Siamese watercress).
Cô Thư Quán
Shop 22, Little Saigon Market
63 Nicholson Street
Footscray, VIC 3011
Once the market tour was finished, we were led to this little spot in the market itself for more nibbles.
Bắp Xào – Sauteed juicy sweet corn with dried shrimp, fresh spring onions and butter
Bánh Tráng Bơ – Creamy mini rice paper wrappers feature pork floss, whipped butter and fried shallots
I’m not going to pretend to know which part of Vietnam these dishes are from, but these snacks were very different from what I’ve eaten at other Vietnamese joints. They creep on you with steady moreishness. I’ve made a mental note of coming back here to explore more of the menu.
We were next pulled a hilariously short 60m to our next stop.
Gỏi Cuốn (hand rolled by moi!)
Here, we got a hands on lesson on how to roll our own rice paper rolls, and then proceeded to eat our creations. They’re incredibly easy to make, and I’ll have to announce that nothing beats the texture and flavour of freshly rolled rice paper rolls. So good! Now I just have to learn how to make that tasty hoisin-ish sauce that comes with it!
152 Hopkins Street
Footscray, VIC 3011
03 9077 9098
After another hilariously short ride, we got to enjoy a bowl of hu tieu – a clear rice noodle soup from Southern Vietnam. Once again, despite eating Vietnamese food quite often, this was a dish I’d never tried before. The noodles had a good bite but I thought the soup leant towards the sweet side. I’m glad we got to discover aspects of Vietnamese food that’s different from the usual duopoly of pho and bun cha.
After another short ride, we got to sit on stationary rickshaws and were treated to a rather mesmerising (Japanese?) drumming performance.
Sugarcane Juice | Bánh Khọt
During the show, masseurs appeared and gave us a short shoulder massage session. We were also given a little cup of sugarcane juice and a little street snack of banh khot (mini coconut pancakes).
I must say this part of the event made me feel quite like a tourist… massages, snacks and cultural show!
Final stop – Sapa Hills
I was pretty full by this point, but there was still one more main course to come…
Bún Chả Hà Nội
Each pair got to share a serve of bun cha ha noi, a delightful Northern Vietnam dish of chargrilled pork (slices and mince) served with rice vermicelli and fresh herbs. You eat this dish by tipping the entire bowl of sweet-vinegary sauce over the grilled pork. And then combining small portions of vermicelli, herbs and pork (with sauce) into a separate bowl to eat.
Despite looking all snazzy and new, I’ll have to say that Sapa Hills serves the best version of this dish by far. I also think this is one of the tastiest (and most approachable) Vietnamese dishes I’ve had since I’ve started exploring the cuisine in Melbourne. Great as an introduction, Lauren chose well.
Go go goooo… Ang Moh!!
It’s now time for the home run! The final rickshaw journey was the longest pull by far, going around the block back to our start point. Fakegf happened to be assigned to our group once again, and… having the start of blisters on her hands, she coerced The Angmoh to swap places with her for that final leg. He ran swiftly during a segment of it, allowing Fakegf and I to enjoy the night breeze blowing against our faces.
The only Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event that I’d attended this year was this Rickshaw Run and it turned out to be more memorable than most of the events that I’d attended in previous years. The Angmoh really enjoyed the whole journey and I believe Fakegf also enjoyed her experiences as a volunteer rickshaw puller.
I’d like to thank Lauren for asking me along to this incredibly fun event. Under normal circumstances, I’d never pick this event since I’m already quite familiar with the suburb. However, there were quite a few surprise gems that I’d uncovered during this tour. Which reminds me how the discovery never ends!