Year 10 food technology students experience the food and culture of Melbourne

16 July 2015

Year 10 food technology students recently ventured to Victoria Street, Richmond to experience the culture and history that makes up this vibrant area.

We were greeted by our food guides for the day, Allan and Cam, and directed to a small coffee shop. Here students tasted traditional Vietnamese coffee which is made with condensed milk and served over ice; very refreshing. We moved through the back streets of Richmond and students were given a history lesson on how the area has changed from being predominately Greek, Turkish and Italian from the 1950s to to the 1980s to now being predominately Vietnamese.

We visited a community market garden with people working on their plots of vegetables, Asian greens and herbs.    We moved back into busy Victoria street with its unusual characters and headed to Phuoc Thanh to try a traditional Vietnamese pork roll. This roll comes from the French who brought the crusty baguette, pate and mayonnaise to the Vietnamese who, under these influences, created a roll covered with pate and salad greens topped with mayonnaise and filled with shredded  pork which is flavoured with Vietnamese spices and slow roasted. 

We went into traditional butcher shops, and students picked up live crabs in a fish shop and viewed the enormous array of fresh seafood on sale.

A traditional Asian grocery shop, dubbed the Bunnings of Asian grocery shops, had everything including so much crockery.

We ate lunch at Thy Thy 1, one of the original Vietnamese restaurants in Victoria Street. We were greeted by the owner, Richard. He told us how he arrived in this country after the war as a 15-year-old. He was on a boat with no food or water and by himself for seven days ending up in Thailand before making his way to Australia. The students were amazed by his story and his hardship.

We enjoyed traditional Vietnamese food: springrolls, prawn mousse wrapped around sugar cane and fried, rice paper rolls filled with rice noodles and prawns, and a shreddard chicken coleslaw all washed down with Vietnamese tea. Yes, I ate too much.

After saying our goodbyes and showing our appreciation to Richard and his staff, we headed back to Kilmore. It was a fantastic experience for our students showing the cultural diversity of this great city, and hearing the real life story from Richard only added to the students' experience of how we welcome other cultures into our society.

Happy Cooking.

Nigel Engel - Food  technology teacher

nigel.engel@assumption.vic.edu.au