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What to expect from Melbourne dining culture

Trinity College Foundation Studies

Wed Oct 18 2017


You’re an international student who’s relatively new to Melbourne – a multicultural city jam-packed with cuisines from all over the world. You’re also tired of microwaved food and your own subpar cooking. You want something fresh, something exciting.

Armed with your wallet, there’s just one problem standing in your way – what are you supposed to expect when dining in Melbourne?

Melbourne’s famous coffee culture

Ask anyone what the defining feature of Melbourne’s food culture is, and their immediate answer will likely be pointed towards its ‘coffee culture’.

Since the introduction of the first espresso in the 1930s, Melbourne hasn’t looked back. As popularity and demand for coffee spread like wildfire, so too did its quality. In Melbourne, coffee shops can be found along nearly every street, waking the city up to the waft of freshly ground beans.

So if you’re a coffee lover, you’re certainly in for a treat. As for the rest of us? Be prepared to try some good coffee, or at least nod along as your friends rave over the quality of Melbourne’s coffee.

The novelty of food trucks

Food trucks aren’t unique to Melbourne, but the top notch taste these trucks offer are certainly hard to beat. In general, food trucks can be found around the city at common places such as Queen Victoria Market and Federation Square. You may even spot them at inner-city suburbs like Fitzroy.

One spot that food trucks can certainly be found on the regular is Welcome to Thornbury. Located at 520 High St, Welcome to Thornbury is Melbourne’s only permanent bar and food truck stop. A fresh rotation of trucks come in and out of the site, ensuring that visitors always get a new experience and never tire of the delicious food on offer. Better yet, all of these food choices are complemented by a range of refreshing alcoholic beverages, including rotating cocktails, offered at its in-house bar.

Make sure not to miss out on the unique experience offered by Melbourne’s food trucks! Bring a couple of friends along for a good time!

Forever French Toast at Humble Rays in Carlton. Totally worth the hour-long wait! | Photo: Stephanie Hoo

On Sundays, we brunch

Melbourne will never fail to impress your senses with its popular brunch spots. Not only are the dishes aesthetically-pleasing, but they also taste exquisite. One of Melbourne’s most highly raved brunch cafes is Humble Rays in Carlton, where one may need to queue for nearly an hour just to get a seat! Trust us, that wait is certainly worth it.

If you do manage to get in we recommend their French Toast Forever, which is essentially a slice of nicely-toasted bread stuffed with berry-filled cream cheese, with an additional scoop of ice cream, fresh fruits and cotton candy, topped with maple syrup. It might sound too extravagant (and unhealthy!) but this combination will no doubt send your tastebuds to heaven. Fans of a more savoury breakfast need not worry — the cafe has a variety of delectable dishes for you to choose from as well, like the Wilted Mushroom and Pulled Beef Brisket Burger.

Unfortunately, a majority of cafes in Melbourne are only open between 8.00am and 4.00pm. Be sure to clear out all appointments within this time frame in order to not miss this wonderful dining opportunity!

Restaurant etiquette

When we talk about dining culture, we also must consider the standard etiquette expected at restaurants.

With regards to utensils, not all international students will come across a restaurant with having eight utensils to choose from but if you do, perhaps see it as a challenge to train your fine dining etiquette. Hope you can tell the difference between a soup spoon and a dinner spoon!

In other instances, you may need to adjust your volume in accordance to your setting. If you’re at a bar, feel free to loudly chatter and help create the lively environment that a bar encourages. But if you’re at a restaurant where light chatter is encouraged but loud speaking is frowned on, be sure to find the appropriate volume to match the context.

Let your tastebuds explore Melbourne

Melbourne has so much to offer in terms of dining and food and even if you’re only in the country for the duration of an undergraduate degree, we doubt you’ll be able to experience as much as you’d like too.

But if you want to take that food adventure, the best way to experience it to simply go out there and explore it all yourself! Be brave in your journey ahead, we’re sure it’ll be both yummy and fun!

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via