Tranquil scenes, expanses of crystalline water as still as a pond, lush forests containing a crowded world of wildlife and otherworldly karst limestone cliffs, islands and mountains that have to be seen to be accepted as real. That is a list of things that, unfortunately, you have to travel to North Vietnam for because Melbourne doesn’t offer them. Luckily, endless varieties of spicy noodle soups, complex congees, vermicelli specialties, whole steamed fish and a countless number of other traditional Vietnamese dishes are on the list of things you do not have to head towards Ha Long Bay to find. Of course, Victoria Street is loaded with Vietnamese eateries, but Ha Long Bay Restaurant right by North Richmond station is a reliable one for heart-warming meals done in traditional ways. Better still, their range is amazing, an encyclopedic menu featuring everything from vine leaves to oysters to lychees with ice cream.