Bay City Noodles & Cafe

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139 Ryrie St, Geelong. Phone: 5223 2135

The cheap eats situation in central Geelong is a mixture of dull and dire leavened with a couple of hot spots.

The suburbs of the city may be festooned with amazing eateries for all I know, but my work of necessity keeps me restricted to the 10-minute walk from the train station to my place of income generation and the brief lunch breaks I get.

So far I’ve found: All the usual franchises, as much food court crap as you could never want and several places of mixed Asian heritage and utterly indifferent food.

The high points are a half dozen or so Japanese joints of the ramen/udon/sushi rolls sort – they all seem much the same, and I’ve enjoyed the noodles I’ve purchased from some of them.

Best of all, though, is Bay City Noodles.

It’s a Vietnamese establishment that, presumably through necessity, feels obliged to cover several bases – so, for instance, you can get (if you so desire) Chinese dishes and things such as Singapore fried noodles.

The pho, rice paper rolls, spring rolls all work OK; the rice dishes less so.

But the real star here is another non-Viet dish – the curry laksa. There’s a seafood version available, but I’ve now had my preferred option – chicken ($10.50) – many times and have yet to be disappointed.

The broth is a tawny brown, rather than golden. In it are many of the usual suspects: Rice and egg noodles, tofu, bean spouts, chicken and so on. It’s fragrant and flavoursome; of mild spiciness; and topped with a gravy concoction of finely chopped onion.

I could quibble about the absence of fish cake, let alone any semblance of greenery – such as a sprig or two of mint, or some bok choy – but given the alternatives, that would be churlish.

This is a cheerful, homely (in a good way) and friendly eatery.

And judging by the heads-down demeanour of the many regulars – instinctively I know these folk are on the same wavelength as me – it could be that this is THE star of Geelong ethnic eats of the budget variety.

I’d love to be proven wrong!

3 thoughts on “Bay City Noodles & Cafe

    • Out of a jar? Hmmmm, I suspect I would be disillusioned if I knew the, ahem, secrets and real deals behind a lot of the cheap tucker I eat. But as you say, sometimes it more than passes the taste test anyway. And BTW, I reckon this Geelong laksa is pretty authentic – going by the onion gravy stuff on top and all the lemon grass stalks that litter the bottom of the empty bowl.

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  1. I’d give this place a miss. Dingy and terrible value for money. Ordered sweet & sour pork, was a joke, 80% plain rice. Looked like they’s forgotten to dish up half the meat! Went back to complain and was told that was the corect ratio. Cost $11, should have cost $5. Was offered back $5 by owner as that’s probably what he valued it at. Lost customer and will let others know that there are much better Vietnamese restaurants in Geelong like ‘Oriental source’ or now ‘Rolled’ in westfield. Actually tried both of them 1st but they were closed.

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