Melbourne: Chinatown, Alleys, & Federation Square

Saturday, March 1, 2014

After a filling and delicious lunch at Shanghai Street, we took a leisurely stroll through Chinatown.

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A few weeks ago, a friend told us about a neat bar he stumbled upon in one of the random alleyways off Chinatown. He couldn’t tell us what is was called or where it was, but he said it was a cool ‘nerdy’ bar that’s set up similar to a science lab with drinks being served out of flasks and test tubes. He also said it’s at the end of the sketchiest alleyway you might find and that we should definitely try to find it.

So this was the first random alley we decided to check out…

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Love the art, although there was not another soul in sight

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Turned the corner to what looked to be a dead end

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And what do you know? We found it, called The Croft Institute! Haha, what a coincidence. Unfortunately, it was still too early and wasn’t opened yet.

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Really liked this

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Leaving Chinatown to head into Federation Square!

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Liked this view of the tram and old architecture

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In the atrium at Federation Square. Little sales going on and cafes to take a break at.

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We headed into the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

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Fun going through the history of moving image!

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Outside, Federation Square. Many people passing through, hanging out, visiting nearby attractions

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Now middle afternoon, we took a quick break in the atrium at In a Rush Espresso to recharge before continuing on 😉

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Portugese tart, iced tea and fresh fruit juice

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The adventure will continue in the next blog, thanks for reading! 🙂

Melbourne: Lunch at Shanghai Street

Saturday, March 1, 2014

After a morning of walking around, we were definitely in the mood for a delicious lunch. And we already knew what we wanted – dumplings. It’s Melbourne right? There’s got to be amazing Asian cuisine around. The only problem was, where can we get great dumplings.

With an 89% rating on Urbanspoon, our decision was easy. A short walk soon found us joining the queue outside of Shanghai Street. Simple rules in the world of food: If you want good food, go where the queues are.

(Took this photo after lunch, no longer a line up outside)

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A bustling little shop with small tables and limited seating area. Staff handed us menus while we waited in line and took our orders when we were ready. Luckily, we were near the beginning of the queue and turnover was quick.

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We were soon settled into a small table for 2 and awaited our food. The worst thing about going to a dumpling restaurant with only 2 people? You only have enough belly room to try a limited number of items… unless you want to take away lots of leftovers.

Xiao long bao (pork soup dumplings) was our first dish to come out. Piping hot and filled with delicious broth. Even with utmost gentleness we had a few dumpling leaks, a shame! Although the dumpling skins were nice and thin, I wish they were a slightly more sturdier.

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Our second dish (and last) dish was fried pork buns. These had a much thicker, chewier skin but were also filled with soup. Take care with these ones! Bite the top off and suck the soup off rather than munching it directly or you’ll end up squirting hot soup in someone’s eye! 😉

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We did want to try the egg custard buns but unfortunately they were unavailable.

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The fried pork buns seemed quite popular as many people around us were enjoying them as well. While we were eating, a couple waiting to be seated even approached us to say those looked really appetizing and asked what the name of the dish was so they could order it too.

Both types of dumplings were generous in size, hot and flavoursome with good texture. Although quite busy and you may have to queue, the line moves quickly and the food is definitely worth the wait. Did I mention everything is also very reasonably priced? Less than $20 for our dishes that left us stuffed! The staff was consistently pleasant and we certainly left pleased and looking forward to a future visit. Our only regret was not being to try more dishes!

Shanghai Street Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Melbourne: Markets, Boats, & Books

Saturday, March 1, 2014

With the MCCEE behind him and after 24 hours of crummy viral gastroenteritis, Michael was luckily feeling much better. Finally going out to see Melbourne!

Started the day with some coffee before hitting Queen Victoria Market. Hey handsome 🙂

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The market was very large with a lot of produce and products, however, we both found it lacking in character.

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One of our favourite markets is Eumundi Market and we were hoping it would be more along that vibe. We weren’t interested in shopping, so I’m sure there are many people who would like this market a lot more than we did. It would also be a different story if we lived in Melbourne, because we’d definitely buy our fruits and vegetables from here.

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However, we enjoy markets for their sights and smells, especially for the food. There were a few shops within the market and a small food court off the main market. We ended up enjoying some dutch pancakes for late breakfast ($9.50, a little pricey). Didn’t eat much because planning on having lunch soon!

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Would we visit Queen Victoria Market again? Don’t think so, only if it was to buy groceries!

We then hopped on the free tram and headed down to Melbourne Docklands to walk along the marina and check out the surroundings.

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A lot of development going on in the area, I particularly liked the purple windows of these new buildings.

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Wouldn’t it be nice to own a yacht? 😛

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It was morning so many of the restaurants weren’t opened yet, but would definitely love to come back down here during the evening and have a meal by the water!

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Melbourne Star Observation Wheel just a few minutes away

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We were soon back on the free tram and headed back into the CBD. Our next stop was the State Library of Victoria, we loved it!

What a great atmosphere. People hanging out. Red beanbags scattered across the lawn.

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The architecture was beautiful, I would study so hard in a library like this.

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The facilities were great. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a library packed with people of all ages – studying, browsing, hanging out, on the computer, etc. There’s even a chess room!

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There were also a number of galleries to check out. And the best part? Free for everyone!

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Aaand time for a lunch break! Read about it in my next post, thanks for visiting!

Melbourne: Quest on Dorcas

Mike and I were in Melbourne for the MCCEE on Friday, February 28th. Poor Mike got gastroenteritis the night before his exam and wrote it in horrible discomfort. As for myself, the MCCEE deserves its own blog post, which I will be writing at a later date.

During our time in Melbourne (Feb 26 – March 02), we stayed at Quest on Dorcas, serviced apartments right off St Kilda Rd by the Shrine of Remembrance. And we highly recommend!

Well equipped, lovely, and clean apartments. Quiet, comfortable, and close to the tram station with everything we needed nearby. Staff were hospitable and we were actually upgraded on arrival. We had absolutely no complaints regarding our stay, however, it would be nice to have free wifi and/or newer TVs so we could load watch own entertainment via USB. Thank you Dorcas for a great stay! We will definitely choose you again if ever in Melbourne!

Here are a few photos of our apartment:

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Stayed in the first couple of nights in order to focus on studying. Right after we checked in, we walked to the nearest Coles in order to stock up on groceries and the apartment had everything we needed to make our meals. Our only suggestion would be to have better knives please, it’s hard to cut veggies and fruit with serrated knives!

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The view of Eureka Skydeck 88 from our apartment

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And the lovely night view of CBD

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We didn’t actually go out to see Melbourne until the weekend, those posts coming up! 😀 Thank you for reading and definitely keep Dorcas in mind if you are looking for a place to stay. It is also extremely walkable to the CBD and all attractions 🙂