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Chun Po, on Glenferrie Rd, Malvern, is a new discovery. As you can see, it’s worth driving across town for.

The Peking duck san choy bao was super-fresh, with just the right ratio of water chestnut to duck. Importantly, the lettuce leaf was crunchy. The deep-fried garfish with chilli salt was another winner off the specials board. I like how they deep fry the fish’s head, too; this makes them look friendly.

And even though the usual moneyed, silver-haired Malvern locals hang about in here with big rocks on their fingers and newly pulled back faces, Chun Po is also a family Chinese restaurant. It’s cheap.

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Vegetarian wonton noodle soup, Bo de Trai, Hopkins St. This dish is a classic, but the locals are ambivalent about it. They’re usually busy with the mock fish, or some other tomato-style noodle soup. Note the super-crunchy tofu skin, and the deep-fried wontons.

Favourite pho stop

July 5, 2007

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Hung Vuong (136 Hopkins) is definitely one of the best places for pho in Footscray right now. They specialise in pho but are also masters of the vermicelli (pictured). This version comprises warm, tender grilled chicken (caramelised and crunchy on the outside), with sweet-chilli-vinegar sauce, thinly sliced fresh basil and lettuce, and carrot and cucumber. And, of course, fluffy vermicelli. The more you mix it up the better it tastes.