The last time we came to Australia in December 2019, we had no idea that we wouldn’t be back for three years. In 2020, we couldn’t come back because of the global pandemic. Last year, we didn’t come back because Pookie was due in December, so this visit is really like Chris’s homecoming, plus a huge adventure for Kaia Pookie since it will be her second international flight, the longest flight she will ever have been on, plus, her first time visiting her fatherland.
After spending a day adjusting at home and in the neighborhood, Chris decided our first stop outside of Brighton would be Springvale, which I wasn’t going to complain about. We checked out HS Cakes, which he discovered via Instagram about two years ago, which is supposed to be famous for their durian cakes, filled generously with D24/Sultan variety durian imported directly from Malaysia. To do a taste test, we got two items from there – a set of durian cream puffs plus durian crepe rolls. We tried a puff each right outside the bakery, and WOW! The durian hits you immediately, both in smell and taste. And the creaminess of the cream with the thick hunks of durian was actually dreamy. I never call any food “dreamy,” so this was a BIG deal. Chris wants to get Kaia’s second birthday cake from here (his mum already planned to have her first birthday cake made by her friend – mango coconut), so we’re planning to get a durian cake for Saturday.
HS Cakes owner Judy, who was there when we came and we chatted with, was really friendly and told us about Bun Bun Bakery just a couple blocks away. It’s supposed to have Melbourne’s very best banh mi. Of course, we wasted NO time walking over there. We got two banh mis – one standard mixed ham roll, and one BBQ pork with sauce. Both totally blew our minds. The bread was insanely light and ethereal yet crunchy. All the fillings were packed with flavor, super fresh, and delicious; the mayonnaise and the pate were incredible and so, so rich. We also loved the BBQ pork banh mi particularly because they separated out the crackly pork skin from the tender and fatty pork belly, so you have a really great taste and texture contrast in most bites. These were probably some of the best, best banh mi we had ever had. I’d even say they were likely better than the other two banh mi spots we love in Melbourne. Even after sharing two sandwiches, we didn’t feel even remotely heavy and went on to have bun bo hue and a pork chop rice plate from yet another Vietnamese restaurant recommendation (Bun Bo Hue Chu Le) from Bun Bun Bakery. That bun bo hue was also phenomenal, with a rich, spicy and lemongrassy broth, but unfortunately because I was getting so full, I didn’t enjoy it as much.
And to top it all off, we purchased multiple mangoes (two varieties: R2E2 and Maha Chanok) plus 3.30kg of jackfruit from a market in Springvale! The fragrance of the jackfruit just beckoned, and when a seller asked me if i was interested, I just couldn’t resist and had to say yes.
It was an eventful day eating in the delicious neighborhood of Springvale in Melbourne.