Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published May 26th 2013
Update August 7th 2018
Louis Economy Shop is permanently closed and no longer trading
Box Hill is a major commuter hub where thousands of people bottleneck to travel on public transport every day. Therefore it is easily accessible by a vast number of trains and buses.
As a precinct it is decidedly Asian which makes it even more fascinating because of the rich array of culinary experiences that are on offer. But Box Hill is also a place for art, pleasant walks and history.
Undercover in the main shopping area (Centro) is Box Hill Market which has been described as the most authentic Asian Market in Melbourne. You can buy all your Asian greens here including wombock (Chinese cabbage) park choy, gai choy, choy sum and many more. Plus there are a number of Asian grocery stores which sell all those specialist sauces, seasonings and cooking utensils you need for cooking Asian food. Prices are incredibly cheap. You can even go and do free tai chi sessions.
This isn't your average food court with cloned chain eateries. In fact the chains have mostly been broken up and gobbled up by Asian alternatives. You will find a number of cuisines to choose from including Vietnamese, North Chinese and Korean food outlets. You are assured of some very different culinary experiences.
At the end of the Food Court is Food Republik which is a Taiwanese food court-style eatery that's popular in Singapore. Inside are a number of other Asian eateries including Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao, Shihlin Café Taiwan Street Snacks, Old Tong Beef Noodles, Shin Yeh Restaurant and Toast Box. It even has its own Dessert Story.
You could easily eat out in Box Hill for a couple of months and find yourself eating at a different Asian restaurant every night. If you haven't been to the area before then probably a couple of must tries are Indochine ( Vietnamese food) at 51 Carrington Rd (the street running at the back of the shopping area) and Vegie Hut a well-known vegetarian restaurant at 984 Whitehorse Rd which makes mock meat indistinguishable from the real thing. But that is only a starting point.
The latest craze to hit Box Hill is a dessert tsunami. Dessert bars are popping up everywhere. These are open late at night which gives many of the young people in the area a place to congregate and chat. The range of desserts is incredible and includes items such as sago black pearl soup, tofu pudding, black glutinous rice dishes grease jelly icre cream. There is also a Movenpick store in the mall which is next to Chat an interesting tea shop where people sit long into the night playing board games and sipping exquisite Chinese teas. These two outlets have outside heating for the colder nights.
Like a shag on a rock in an Asian sea this old-fashioned clothing shop remains and has not changed hands in over thirty years. It sells clothing for the whole family especially things like underwear, track suits and t-shirts. All are obscenely cheap. It is not unusual to walk past and pick up $5 t-shirts or $1 socks. Good place to stock up on your winter long johns.
The owner seems to buy bulk lots when other businesses are closing down so you never know what you will find. Last year I bought a couple of fashionable, long, fully-lined winter coats for $20 each.
A short walk down Station Street is the Box Hill Community Arts Centre. Every time I venture into this building I am totally gobsmacked. This is a building for anyone who loved stunning, naturalistic architecture. It was designed by Gregory Burgess (who also designed the amazing Eltham Library).
Local artists have also left their artistic imprint having designed many of the stunning ceramic tiles and clay leaves that dot the path as you walk in. As an excuse to walk into this amazing building there is a small craft shop you can visit called the Alcove Art Shop. This is a good place to buy unusual presents as they sell handmade crafts such as jewellery, scarves and art work.
Tuesday to Friday
10am - 5pm
11am - 3pm
Sunday and public holidays
From Centro a pleasant walk is along Carrington Street which is Box Hill's Chinatown, to Thurston Street,which you can then follow down to the Box Hill pool. Along the way you will see the Alkira Op Shop at 3 Thurston St. It is one of the last op shops in Melbourne where goods are still at low prices and you have to rummage in the thick of it to unearth your gems.
If you keep walking down this street you come to Surrey Drive. This take you on a scenic walk past the atmospheric theold brick works The brickworks are a photographers dream with its red brick colours and brooding old smoke stacks. The nearby quarry which became filled with water was used as a swimming pool and known as Surrey Dive. It was thought to be a bottomless pit and many local stories and legends surround the place.
Once you reach the modern day Box Hill Pool, loop back to Station Street and visit Abbeys auctions another Box Hill institution. This place seems to specialise in deceased estates with containers of goods going out for a song.
(except in Special Auction weeks)
Auction starts 9.00am
View Thursdays 9am to 7pm
Every 6 Weeks on a Saturday
Auction starts 10.00am
View Fridays 9am to 7pm
Great little gallery you missed on the Cnr of Station St & Ellingworth Pde Box Hill called Chapel on Station Gallery. New exhibition every 2 weeks and well worth a visit to see up and coming artists display their work.