My couple of months working in Footscray is soon to end, and perhaps my best lunch was at Viet Kitchen, where the omelette is huge and full of pork and prawns, and the jasmine tea is hot and strong. Top marks to them.
Honourable mention goes to Madhumoti, where a plate of excellent beef curry, saag paneer, chickpeas and rice was only $8. Outrageous. Better than many of the places I’ve tried in the CBD. And the owner had ABC News24 on the tv, not sport or commercial trash. Clearly a thinking person’s curry house, of which I heartily approve.
Is it really so different to Fitzroy? In some ways yes, in some ways no. Walking around in business attire is an aberration in central Footscray but not in Fitzroy. The kebabs are good in Footscray, and the banh mi are more plentiful than those on Smith St.
I have sampled banh mis from at least six Vietnamese bakeries, including one that seemed oddly popular with toothless white trash bogans, who clearly don’t have a taste for hoi sin and chilli, until I realised they were there for the black market cigarettes, not for lunch.
Fitzroy has cyclist smack dealers as well as a plague of cyclist food deliverers. Gentrification is unevenly distributed – it is obviously unstoppable in Fitzroy, but perhaps not so westside. This means we Fitzroyalty are spared the destructive attacks on the small businesses of hardworking ambitious young people currently occurring in Footscray.
I am most curious to learn who is responsible for these attacks. It could be some of the old Footscray locals, the toothless and mediocre, who resent the ambition and achievement of others – something they are not capable of. But equally it would be people who are much closer demographically to the young business owners, or perhaps established rival cafe and bar owners.
Thanks Footscray, it’s been grand.