Friday, March 25, 2016

Caulfield Chinese

Caulfield Chinese is in Caulfield across the road from the station and a stone's throw away from Monash Caulfield campus. I was in Malvern for fit club and was hungry afterwards. I was going to head up to Box Hill by train but there was buses due to trackworks.

I didn't want to have to wait ages just for one and then its full all the way. Nor did I want to have to trudge back into the city.

So it was off to Caulfield we go as it is only one stop away. Upon exiting the station I saw that this place was busy with Asian students. The majority of them are Chinese who are enjoying a good meal here. All the other good places were closed on a Sunday.

They don't have roast duck but they do have some good value meal sets for $11.80. They have a minimum of $20 if you want to use credit. The sets include one, entree, rice, drink ( your choice of soy milk, milk tea or tea in a cute bottle) or soup if you don't want a drink. The entree was garlic cucumber which was nice and refreshing.

The main that I had was salt and pepper chicken which was a little bit bland. I would have liked some dried chilli with it. But luckily though there was chilli sauce.

I think they used the wrong rice as that rice was meant for sushi rice. They must have run out of the normal Australian rice.

But the good news is that there was no msg in it which is great for those who hate msg.

Rating: 14/20- what is your best memory of the salt and pepper chicken? Very basic Chinese I say, but good value for students.
Caulfield Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bunnings cafe

Bunnings cafe has been around for a while and RNIS was invited there by RMSA as part of their mystery shopper program. So they did not have to pay.

The cafe is inside the ware house and the entrance is so big. But the cafe was not hard to find. There was signage everywhere. It was easy to get to via the number 109 tram from the city.

The service there was friendly with a smile. I was served by a blonde haired lady named Madeline who was friendly and smiled. And she was humble in saying that this was her first time back.

The cafe was really quiet on a hot day. It is right next to a children's playground. I really wanted a cold drink but for this assignment I had to have a piccolo given that it was about coffee and they wanted me to try a hot one. But it was bitter, a slightly bit burnt and not much milk to it. There was no artwork on it. Last year I went to some of the Couch's coffee classes on a Wednesday and they showed me how to make the perfect coffee with artwork.

Here they had food but they were sold out of some of their stuff by 12:30pm. So I had their $2 quiche and sausage roll. I was in the mood for fatty and warm food. I don't know why though.

As a cafe they should have some free water on a day like today which was really hot. But at least they had newspapers and the free wi-fi sign.

Do come by for cheap coffee and food and many thanks to RMSA for paying for the coffee and food.

8 Bit

8 Bit is a burger place which is well talked about on Zomato. It is in Footscray and there is another one in the city. I went to the original one in Footscray on the way to the city. As a student I was looking for a cheap meal. I was also in the mood for some fried food.

The staff were friendly and at 6:20pm it was really quiet. For a hyped up place I would have thought that there would be huge queues but no such thing.

They don't just do burgers. They do other American stuff such as potato gems and hotdogs. I haven't had a hot dog in a while, so I ordered the original one for $7.50. It was like the Queen Victoria one except it was a little bit soggy. It was attached to the paper and when I ripped it from the paper some of the bread was stuck there.

The onion rings had too much batter on them and was a little bit undercooked. It tasted a little bit floury. I did however like the bacon sauce that went with it. 

I could have had a milkshake but I really just wanted dinner.

Rating: 17/20- liked it. They are here to stay for a while and it should be that way. I am glad that there is another one in the city and can't wait to go there.

Oh and they also have another store and its in the city on Swanston st. Do check that one out if you like this one
8bit. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Universal has been around for some time and from what I recall is a great Italian cafe known for their big meals.

This is a great student eat in Carlton. Since I moved to Carlton to work, I wanted to do this place. This place was recommended to me by my colleague who loves cheap meals as much as I do. He is a student as well doing his masters.

I have always thought that this place is expensive like every other place in Carlton. But it turns out that they do some great lunch deals of drink and pasta or pizza for $10-$14. The girls on the table next to us had the chicken parma for $14. AND BOY IT WAS HUGE!!! I don't think they finished it all.

My lemon lime and bitters was huge. I saw one International student have beer and didn't know that it was beer.

 My pasta was an entree sized vegetable pasta with olives and it was one of the better ones. The olives brought out the flavour well and there was lots of olive oil in there. The pasta was al dente and not overcooked.

My colleague's cannoli was really nice and he enjoyed his coffee. He loved the cream and strawberry that came with it. He said that it was a nice touch.

Rating: 18/20- will be back for their cheap meals and I do recommend you check this out even if you are International. The staff are more than happy to help you, although it can take a while to flog them down. By that I mean get their attention.
Universal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spice 9

Spice 9 is a Sichuan place which specialises in chillis and is good for students. Here they promote AFIS and is in Carlton near Melbourne Uni and RMIT Carlton campus.

I have not been to that area eversince I moved to Carlton. I guess I have been too busy with schoolwork and other appointments.

I was going to visit Chai- Eat like a Malaysian but it was closed. I don't know when they'll reopen again.

Given that the semester break was nearly over, it was dead quiet at 6pm. Going by the negative reviews on Zomato I can see why. Only one other blogger has blogged about it.

The service was just ok. It could have been a little bit friendlier but oh well. Unlike what people commented on zomato, my waitress spoke English well.

They only had mini hotpots that day for $11.80. It was a huge pot for one as I could not finish this. The boy on one table got a hotpot with noodles inside as well as a bowl of rice. I would have liked this. But of course being girl I would struggle easily.

With the hotpot you can choose the soup base. The vegetarian they say is just water so I went for a spicy one. And very spicy and fragrant it was.

The rice was nothing to write home about.

Rating: 14/20- good but not great. Ming from Sweet and sour fork shall visit thy hidden hotpot gem. And so shall Eat and be merry as they love hotpots.

Pepperoni's pizza

Pepperoni's Pizza is in the city and they are outside the gym. Here they attracted a lot of tourists and not mnay locals. It was 7:30pm and it was a cold wet and raining day. They have won awards for the best pizzeria by Menulog but none by Zomato.

I had their $2 pizza slice and my gnocchi napolitana. I ordered this because the other options looked pricey.

The wait staff did their best and the place was clean. But the meal took waaay too long to come out. My guess is that they had to do some Menulog orders first. A man was waiting a while for his pizza to come and he was really peeved. Others too were waiting for their food.

The gnocchi was not much to write home about though. It was a little bit doughy.

The pizza was lukewarm as it had been on the bain marie for a while now. This was vegetarian and they served it in a cardboard box when I was sitting inside.

Rating: 11/20- nothing much to write home about. But if I was you and sitting inside I would get the past anyday unless you are really impatient.

Healthy weight week

Many International students often put on weight whilst in Melbourne and there is one week where students can try such good habits. We tried some good habits that week, which is known as "Healthy weight week"

This week is all about being healthy and eating the right foods. It is all about exercising too. This week saw us going to boxfit in Malvern, eating the right amounts of good fats as well. One of us had PMS but we learnt to cope with that alright. In the lead up to the PMS she ate the right amount of good fat and it helped. We also didn't eat a whole lot of sugar that week.

We ate fruits and almonds as snacks and stayed away from the chocolate. Here we had one restaurant meal but the rest we had from home or Woolworths.

We drank a good amount of water and that is 1L per every 25 kgs. This assisted in keeping us hydrated and regulating bowel movements. When we exercised we drank another 1L of water to help replace some of the fluids that we lost during exercise.

This week we tried a few different exercises such as Boxfit and playing games outside with the Japan Club where we ran around.

In the end though it was all worth it. We may not have learnt a lot but we did have some fun being healthier and we were happier for that.

Nutrition workshop

The nutrition workshop was on one Saturday and it was $5 to attend for some useful information. We give you some useful tips.

Tea in a wine glass and carrot sticks with Hommus
This was covered by Steffi and it was $5 to attend for all the guilt free snacks and stuff. Steffi is a nutritionist based at the Healthy Lifestyle Lounge. Here we learnt about the different types of carbs and proteins that we need in our diet. It is easy to cut out the carbs when you are trying to lose weight.

But in actual fact carbs, protein and good fats are all important. They are all important for the muscle development , brain and heart health. You should be eating around 2-3 hours each day and drinking around 1L per every 25 kg as well as 1L of water if you do exercise and another if it is a hot day. And if you don't like plain water you can add fruits to it.

Not skipping breakfast is a good way to start the day.

With protein we should aim to have about 20-30g per meal and some in a snack. We should try to have more vegetable fats instead of plant fats.

But lean meats every once in a while is ok. 
Steffi showed us how to make this perfect Herbalife chocolate cake and it was delish.

"Cookies & cream f1, 1 egg a splash of milk. Lightly sweetened Greek yogurt & bananas to serve. Yum yum" Facebook Herbie Masterclass

Do go their next workshop in sometime April. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St Kilda Festival and Pidapipo

We talk about this year's iconic St Kilda festival and the excitement that it brought to people. This was a free festival for all by the way and many Internationals and locals came to this event by tram

Fried food at $5.50 at Hare Krishina

Premier's Active April is on again this year and we signed up for it.

This year the St Kilda festival was on again and it was better and bigger than ever. Here there was no balloon artist but lots of games and a huge carnival. Here there were a few live bands and the one on the main stage sung a anthem about Australia Day. Here we were reminded about Ansett and other Australian icons.

It was on a nice sunny but not too hot day.

Many International students came and supported this event. Unlike last time when I went during the day, the twirlight was really busy and everywhere there were queues. Even the food trucks/stalls were busy so instead we went to Lentils as it was quieter and we loved the burger and green tea.
Cheap dinner but there were huge lines there
Watermelon for all

This time too there was free watermelon. And free fruit and patting the dogs I enjoy. There were a few freebies such as free tea and froyo. But the froyo wasn't that great. It was heavy and really sour.

In fact I preferred Pidapipo's ice cream which was balsamic strawberry flavoured gelato. Yum. It was light and flavoursome. In fact they have a store in Lygon st which I am yet to check it out.

Is there anything that you enjoyed at this year's one? Or hated?

Some ways to communicate with parents whilst overseas

Students are you missing your parents back home? It is ok for you to miss them, but don't forget them. Here's a few ways of communicating with them which will not break the bank.

Send them some packages
Are you good with crafts? Do you have the time to make stuff? If so you could send them a homemade craft or two. Parcels at Australia post to send overseas are expensive so the smaller the better.

Skype or other technologies (make frequent communications with them)
Communicating to them frequently about things will put everyone's mind at ease. Tell them about how you feel or some interesting things that happened during your stay. A handwritten letter is always nice and you can buy stationery at Daiso.

Also do send them some pictures of your surroundings. Parents are always wanting to find out these things.

Learning to care for them
Remind them of important things. Make sure that you write it down. There are many apps for this sort of thing

Do tell them as to when and how long your uni holidays are. They may want to visit you then

Be honest
Be honest with your parents. If you fail something or are not coping well at uni tell them. They probably won't get mad at you but they'll understand.

If you tell lies then parents will find out one way or the other. Trust me I have been there before.

I hope that you do find these ways useful. If there are any other ways, let us know in the comments below.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Some cultural changes to get used to

International students might have a hard time in Melbourne adapting to some of these changes. Here we talk about them

Here are some of the things that International students find surprising when they come to Melbourne. They will need to adapt to these.

Service hours
Many places in Melbourne have a 10am-7pm opening hour. But with supermarkets and restaurants some open as late as 11pm. Places in Tokyo and China are open until late.

Many Asians are shy of meeting a new person. Many Australians are informal. In Australia we call our lecturers by their first name and not by their surname. In Asian countries many people respect their elders and just follow the leader. But in Australia it is ok to question the boss or teacher if you don't understand something. Many of us are very friendly people. Most don't mind assisting International students. But just be aware that there are some racist people.

Learning style
Many Internationals are used to learning by rote, but in Australia it is ok to question your lecturer/tutor. Many students join study groups.

In Australia we study by ourselves and not with the teacher. We learn by ourselves with the guidance of the academic staff. However if students need help then they can make a time to see a teacher.

Learning English
Learning English is a must. It is ok for an Asian student to talk there language to a local who they know is learning the language. There are many meetups for languages.

Many Internationals are surprised at the different types of food we have here. We are a multicultural city and we enjoy lots of different foods. Throughout this blog we have lots of different restaurants some of which we got invited to.

We also have many markets here which cater to International student's food tastes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tim Ho Wan restaurants comes to Melbourne

Tim Ho Wan is a famous Hong Kong restaurant. Here we talk about why it will appeal to students in Melbourne.

Many students are from Hong Kong and are always longing for home. Now they need not travel far as there will be a taste of home in Melbourne. Voted number 1 best restaurant in Asia this is a must try restaurant for yum cha in Melbourne and I am dying to try it when it opens. But like the Sydney one there will most likely be long queues.
Image result for tim ho wan
Dim Sum served at Tim Ho Wan. Image courtesy of

It is run by "Mak Kwai Pui" of Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong and now they have branches in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Australia.

The restaurant is known for good yum cha dishes such as the baked BBQ Pork buns, the vermicelli pork liver rolls. They had their first store in Sydney just last year and it is going well. They are due to open a second store in Melbourne's Chinatown in March 18th.

Also known for fresh dim sum after the customer ordered it. Not like Melbourne where everything is centrally made. The yum cha dishes range from $4-$20 per plate depending on what is ordered
Image courtesy of

The chain started in 2009 in Hong Kong where it was famous for the four king dishes.

Do go to their Melbourne branch when they open and let us know in the comments below what you think of their food.

The money report: How to earn extra money

Students these days want to earn some extra money for stuff. So here's how.

Being students you'll probably always want extra money for stuff such as food and outings from time to time. 
Image result for aussie cash
Cash courtesy of

1) Sell your unwanted textbooks.
Many students are looking for cheap bargains these days. You can sell them on ebay, amazon and other student textbook sites. Many students are looking for cheap ways to buy textbooks as the brand new ones are  about $150-$200 each per course

2) Write
By that I mean doing blog posts. Is your English really good? Can you write about once a week? If your blog has been established for some time earning money via Adsense and affiliate programs is one way to be exposed. Blogging is a great way to practice your marketing and writing.

3) Do surveys
Surveys are another way of earning money. Here you are paid on your opinions. If you collect enough points then you can redeem it for cash. Rewards central is one that gets you to do multiple things. Opinion World has lots of good surveys. Other companies may also have surveys and rather than cash you'll be given a gift voucher for your time for a particular store.

4) Direct Marketing
This one is quite an investment. Many people lose money because they are ill prepared and have not actually done their research. Amway, Tupperware, Herbalife etc all are multi level marketing companies. Do your research before thinking about starting as some of them don't earn much.

5) Mystery shopping
This is a good way to get exposed to some of the shops out there. Mysteryshopper is one good site. Don't apply for jobs where you need to travel lots from your house. But be careful not to apply for spammy companies or companies that scam people. Do your research. Some of the stores will require you  to buy something and others will require you to just enquire about something. Make sure that you read the instructions carefully.

Where do you like to earn the extra money? Comment below

Monday, March 7, 2016

Students scammed online

Many Vietnamese students in Melbourne and Sydney have been scammed by a fake travel agency. We explain in more detail and tell you how to avoid this sort of scam.
An example of a fake ticket courtesy of Vietnam news

Vietnamese students are scammed online by a fake travel agency. Here they pay about $1000-$1500VN to go home but they never receive the ticket. This is for the lunar new year celebrations. They pay the money and then they receive a code which does not work on the real airline site or at the airport.

Now these students are sad and angry that they couldn't visit their parents.

They are trying to get their money back with the police stepping in. They tried to contact the woman who sold them the ticket to get their money back. In fact some of them went to her house to only find that the address did not exist.

This is the letter from the NSW police.
Letter from the police acknowledging the scam. Image courtesy of SBS Vietnamese

Moreover the woman was arrested and is facing charges for deception. She earnt about $360,000 AUD from the students

One student complained to our office about this fraud and could not pay their tuition fees or their living expenses after that. They work as a cleaner. They wanted to go home to see their parents for New Years but could not afford the flight home as it is really expensive. So they bought from the scam agency. And now they are waiting for their money back.

Lesson learnt: Be wary of scams. Always order the ticket from the real airline site or at the travel agency face to face. There are some good travel agencies out there such as Student Flights or STA and they have many cheap and legitimate deals for students.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Latin American students worry about the cost of living in Melbourne

According to a recent report done by Refuge of Hope there are lots and lots of wild expectations about living costs. But in reality Melbourne is very expensive and jobs are hard to find here. We explain.

Melbourne Uni. Image courtesy of

Most of the people surveyed in the report have been living in Melbourne for less than two years.

Access to information 
The survey respondents mainly got information about living in Melbourne from their friends and family. Some got it from their university. Information about job opportunities is one that needs the most improving. Universities could do more to improve their careers service in 2016 such as offer on campus jobs.

Costs of living in Melbourne
Because of the rising costs in Melbourne many found it hard to adapt to life in Melbourne.

Food is one of the concerns. The Couch an International student hub serves about 100-150 meals per day and more for hot drinks.Veronica often comes to the Couch for regular nightly meals as it is free.

Rent is also another with many students trying to juggle that as well as public transport. For some the cost of the daily fare can take a toll on their mental health as they worry about the finances. Some students are not eligible for the iUSE pass as they are in regional areas or don't come to uni much during the week. Many of the fines come for not having a valid ticket on a tram. The fine is now $223 and it comes in six weeks time.

Also the cheaper houses are far far away from uni and are often in places of crime. Hence students will have to worry about their safety at night.

Getting a job is not easy but if your English is good enough you can freelance.

Do read the report online here

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Students are being underpaid in restaurants

It is that time of the year again and many students are looking for jobs. Many students would have just arrived with little or no money and will want to work. Here we report on some of the latest cases of underpayment

 Lately Fairfax and Meld have reported that students are being underpaid yet again.
Image: Creative Commons
Image: Creative commons via Meld Magazine
Particularly in Chinatown, students are being paid $8- $10. In some of the top end ones and the more popular ones such as Wagaya students are being paid $14 (as of last year). Student often don't know about their rights at work and they sometimes try to ask their boss. But the boss says no or fires them straight.

Being underpaid can sometimes gives students stress. And students don't need that stress during the semester. Their fees are high enough as it is. And then there is the food and other things like transport. 

Mamak is the latest one where it was reported that students were getting $8- $15 an hour and no overtime.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a calculator in which you can check your wage entitlements. This is really easy to use and its important for students to know their rights when it comes to pay. You can also find out the minimum hourly pay here which is set by the national wage standards

MYKI: How not to be fined

Students there are some ways not to be caught and do the right thing. Many students have been caught for not having a valid MYKI. We give you tips on how to avoid being fined. 

The fine is now $75 (on the spot) or $223 fine which comes six weeks later. There are always some random inspections across the public transport network.

Be organised if you can
Get your myki from the many 7-11 stores or retail shops if you can. But if you have time you can buy it online. Buying it and topping up online takes about 24 hours. You could also set up auto top up but that's if you have enough money in your bank account.

With auto top you can choose a amount that you want. Make sure you can afford it.

Buy a pass
If you are going to uni for many days it works out much cheaper to get a pass. And if you do get the  tram you don't have to worry about touching on and off and getting confused. If the tram is really busy you don't have to worry about getting to a validator or getting fined just because you could not touch on or off.

One type of pass is the iUse pass. These are a yearly pass which is discounted for students living in Metropolitan Melbourne.

Have enough money for the fare
 On the PTV site you can check your fares for the places that you are going to.Most of the time you'll only just need zone 1 but sometimes you may go to other zones

Touch on properly and touch off if you have to
You don't need to touch off when on the tram as it just works out a default fare. But make sure that it is beeping and you hear the proper beep. Don't have your headphones on as you won't be able to hear it

Register your myki
Registering your myki online is free. By registering it you don't have to worry about losing your money or pass if you lose your myki. If you lose it, it is easier to apply for a refund. But it does take up to ten days for it to be processed.

Students don't get caught without a valid ticket. Make sure you remember to top up or buy a myki/pass


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