Walking into the cafe, “Don’t worry about the menu, I’ll have what that lady’s got?”
Classic Eggs Benedict: poached eggs on spinach-and-parmesan muffins (yes, soft, fluffy muffins) shreds of smoked hock ham, tomato, cabbage (infused with beetroot?), a gentle Hollandaise sauce and decorated with what tastes like a mild chilli mayonnaise?
A big serve, I was going to take half home for later – but it was so good, the plate was empty … $22, Lolo and Wren, West Brunswick
Please visit Australia. We are a friendly bunch, with a continent full of unique wonders, and you get an embarrassingly fabulous exchange rate on your money.
Contrary to our Govt’s silly marketing, most Australians do not have “plastic” faces with collagen lips and botox smiles, but do expect a laugh and a cheeky grin under a layer of sunscreen.
Please also bring any mates who don’t speak English – modern Australia was made by millions of migrants from across the world, and an ancient Indigenous culture. Besides, interpreters can be handy as many of the most popular dishes in our world array of eateries have foreign names.
You won’t miss out on your favorite British breakfast tea but be prepared for arguably the best barista coffee outside of the Mediterranean.
Oh, do you like good wine and cold beer?
Olivier, Gielgud, Jacobi, This Old Duck: the great performances of our time. The weathered, forlorn face and the old, crooked body … irresistible to the successful young couples in Vung Tau on their weekend break from HCMC – they just have to stop and buy a bag of peanuts or fruit. And insist she keep the change. After they leave, Old Duck cracks a knowing smile and has a little giggle to herself, strategically rearranges her basket of goods, and then returns to pose: forlorn face, crooked body … When she has only a few bags left, a couple will do her a favor and buy the lot. Old Duck then collects her baskets, hobbles around the corner with surprising speed, and returns fully reloaded with peanuts and fruit. The show goes on. Hahaha Bless her soul!
Wood smoke, big pot boiling meat, cool sea breeze: stroll down a narrow hem (laneway) off the busy main road, and discover an open enclave where the locals live, laugh and gather to eat as a community. Hidden in the heart of tourism, Back Beach Vung Tau, Vietnam
You don’t like eating vegies? Then come to South-East Asia: the salads are so good, sometimes I could treat the meat as the garnish. Not this time – I last recall eating pork this tender in Argentina. Oh, and at the Sofitel Wanda Hotel, Beijing. This lunch is charsui Hoi An pork with firewood cooked rice. (I don’t know what firewood does to steamed rice, but the menu says it’s “traditional”. It’s tasty.) USD$1.95, Câm An (a little, street corner eatery known for chicken), Vung Tau, Vietnam