Dickson Asian Noodle house is a busy place that is well known for their laksa. They have a very extensive Asian menu with dishes from Thailand, Malaysia and Laos, Singapore and HK. It is a no nonsense place with laminated tables and chair where you wouldn’t really linger for after dinner drinks. But this place is definitely popular with the locals with the queue for tables are as long as the takeaway queue. The service is very efficient and you will get your steaming bowl of laksa in minutes. The laksa is touted as the best in Canberra and I must agree. I had one of those ‘dang this is freaking good’ moments after I had my spoonful. And with food, great first impressions on my tastebuds means its the real deal. The laksa is totally addicting.
Combination Laksa

Combination Laksa



Rating   :  Love it

Food     :  Laksa

Summary : Really great authentic food and value for money. Entrees are around AUD 5.50 – 7, main courses AUD 9-14.
Definitely drop by this place when you’re in Canberra.

Dickson Asian Noodle House
29 Woolley Street
Canberra, ACT 2602
Tel : (02) 6247 6380

Red Bean KitKat

Red Bean KitKat

I’m having a KitKat moment…. Been taking a break this past month.

Need to get back into blogging. Not that easy to squeeze in blogging after moving to another country, taking a mini-holiday, transferring to another state, getting a new job plus doing all the household stuff that I normally don’t do back in Manila.

In the meantime, the restaurant posts have been piling up, so yes, I will try to make my KitKat moment short!!

Apple and Green Tea KitKat

Apple and Green Tea KitKat

Green Tea KitKat

Green Tea KitKat

Some very interesting KitKat flavors I have discovered in the Asian grocery in Melbourne. These chocolates have been manufactured for the Japanese market.  Aren’t they the coolest?!!

Swanston Street in the Melbourne CBD is crammed with Asian restaurants which offer quick and cheap meals. We ducked into Vietnamese Grill Bar which looked rather new with clean and modern interiors. The menu is filled with the usual Pho dishes and rice toppings. We opted for the combos which would let us try a bit of everything.

 Pork Chop Combo
Combo 1 Pork chop, broken rice, spring roll and ice longan drink $12.80

 Grilled Chicken Combo
Combo 2 Grilled chicken on tomato rice and ice longan drink $12.80

Summary : I did say these places offered quick meals, but I didn’t expect food which not only tasted bland but also pre-cooked. The chicken was cold and the pork chop has the toughness which comes from being reheated too many times. My friend and I both agreed this was really bad Asian fast food. The only thing this place had going for it was its interiors.

Rating : One nighter
Food   : None

Vietnamese Grill Bar
305-307 Swanston St Melbourne 3000
Phone : +613 9650 0068

North Richmond is the ‘Little Saigon’ of Melbourne. You know you’re in North Richmond when you see Vietnamese words on all the signboards hanging. There’s also asian bakeries and groceries after every few shops. People visit this side of town for the cheap and satisfying bowls of pho and spring rolls from any of the rows of Vietnamese restaurants lining the road  down Victoria street with names like Tho Tho, Thy Thy and Minh Minh.

Thanh Ha is one of the more popular Vietnamese restaurants in the area. How do we know that? There’s Thanh Ha and Thanh Ha 2 a block away from each other and both are packed. We’re talking about laminated tables, large food pictures and food menus pasted on the wall here. Food is cheap, hearty and good. The menu is quite extensive and aside from the standard pho and rice rolls, try out something from the specialty part of the menu.

 Rice Paper Roll
The Rice Paper Roll with pork and shrimp  $8.50 are made with the freshest ingredients. Large prawns and fillings which show the rolls bursting at the seams.

 Vietnamese Pancake
Thanh Ha is popular for their vietnamese pancakes ($13). It’s wafer thin, crispy and stuffed with beansprouts, meat and prawns. It comes with a plate of lettuce and mint leaves, with a small bowl of chilli dressing. You basically tear off a bit of the pancake, some mint, wrap it in the lettuce with dressing and take bites from it. Almost all the tables have a plate of this pancake which amusingly is larger than the plate it comes in!

  Tomato Rice with Crispy Chicken
Tomato Rice with Crispy Chicken Aud 9.50

Summary : Food is cheap and authentic. Surprisingly, vietnamese food I’ve tried in Australia are much better than what I had in Vietnam. A lot comes from using fresh and quality ingredients on the food.

Rating : Like It
Food   : Vietnamese pancakes

Thanh Ha
172 Victoria St
Richmond 3121 VIC
Phone :  (03) 9429 8130      

On my Manila to Melbourne flight, I got upgraded on the Manila – HK leg of my trip. Yey! Being a loyal CX frequent flier does come handy as it increases the chances for flight upgrades.

CX MNL - MLB Breakfast 

Sigh… the two hour HK trip seemed much shorter as I enjoyed my roomy seat. I enjoyed the dimsum platter for the in-flight breakfast.

 CX MNL - MLB Lunch

On my HK – Melbourne leg… where are the ceramic plates!!! Back to reality and plasticware.

 CX MNL - MLB Dinner

Noodles were better than my Pineapple Chicken dish for dinner.

Summary : Cathay Pacific’s meals are decent enough. Business class meals would of course be good since you’re paying top pesos for your seat. My experience with their economy class meals have been passable. Chinese dishes I have had would be prepared better than continental dishes like a generic chicken or fish dish. I normally would choose noodles and pile on the chili sauce to give flavor to my meal.

Here’s a related post on a Philippine Airlines flight I took. Share your plane food stories.

If you’re in the mood for Korean food  then Malate is your best bet in finding one. Korean restos sprout out within this area like lechon manok during its heyday. A lot are Korean owned and hopefully this lends to the food a more authentic taste.

 Mr. Moo signboard Mr. Chicken resto

I liked how the Korean restos had such catchy signboards. There is a Mr. Moo and a Mr. Chicken signboard.

 Hoa ro exteriors

We opted for this Korean restaurant along J. Nakpil street just because…

 Hoa Ro interiors

it looked really cool! There were this strange exhaust fans hanging out from the ceilings. You can pull them nearer to the bbq pan while meat is being cooked to absorb more of the smoke.

The place made me feel that I was in Korea actually. The customers coming and going were all Korean and the menu was even in Korean.

One thing we found initially strange about this small Korean restos was that there is a mininum order per table of Php600. The Mr. chicken signboard across the street also offers the same minimum Php600 deal. Quite expensive for 2 people but our curiosities have been piqued enough by these small restos and we decided to give Hoa Ro a try.

 Korean spicy soup Egg soup

I understood why there was a minimum order per table after the free appetizers were served. The appetizers were a *lot*. It’s more than any other Korean resto I’ve been to in Manila. Aside from the standard kimchi, potatoes and spicy pickled vegs, there was also a sweet corn and cabbage dish and two types of soup which were very nice. The appetizers were a meal in itself!

 Hoa Ro BBQ meat

Doi Ji Gal Bi Gui Php300– grilled boneless pork ribs marinated in soy sauce

Gal Bi Sal Php350 – beef marinated in soy sauce

Unfortunately, I think the appetizers were the best part of the meal =). The meat were very very tough and chewy. My jaw actually ached from chewing on the meat after some time.

 Korean clam shell soup

Ba Ji Rak Kal Kuk Su Php250 – Kind of like our halaan (clam shell) soup only with noodles and some veg. Refreshing but not something I would go out of my way to have.

Summary : Our first Korean hole in the wall foray turned out to be a disappointment but there must be a better one in the area with so many Korean restos! So I would continue to eat on…

The trend with these small places is to offer just a few items on the menu. With Hoa Ro, we had actually ordered 90% of their menu already =). It was just around 5-6 items to choose from. There is also a minimum order per table which seems to be in the Php600 area so that they could offer unlimited appetizers which their largely Korean customers are used to.

Rating : One-nighter
Food   : The free appetizers

Hoa Roa 92
640 J. Nakpil St. Malate Manila

A Korean friend recommended this Korean restaurant in the Ortigas area to us saying it’s one of the best Korean restaurants in her opinion. With that declaration, we would of course be trying the place out. I grew up used to Korean food. If the other Fil-chi families go to Chinese restos for their Sunday get togethers, my family frequented Korean Village and Korean Palace growing up.

 Minato posterMinato

Minato has a very very authentic Korean feel to it. From the tables and chairs, wall panels to the Korean signboards pasted on the walls. Good sign.

 Minato Appetizers

 Another plus were the free appetizers which were considerable more that what you get from commercialized Korean restaurants like Kaya or Korean Village.

 Spicy Korean Soup

Spicy Stew with Uncurdled Bean Curd Php200 – Good, authentic, lots of seafood

 Grilled Pork Belly

Grilled Pork Belly Strips Php240 – The meat barbecues were the specialty. All the barbecued meat were out of stock on our visit! Spicy pork, chicken were all finished. Grilled Pork Belly Strips was the only barbecued item left and we now know why. It was too fatty. 70% fat and 30% meat and too salty. I’m optimistic the other barbecues are better ( since they’re sold out =) ) and would try them out next time.

 Potato Pancake

Potato Pancake Php250 – Best Potata Pancake I’ve had. This was really really good. Order this before anything else. The pancake was fried really crispy as you can see from the brown bits. Full of seafood and not just potato starch.

Summary : Good Korean food at affordable prices. I would definitely go back.

Rating     :  Like It
Food       :  Potato Pancake

Minato Korean Restaurant
Escriva Road, Ortigas Centre

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