Lee Ho Fook chef Victor Liong really knows how to eat - get in on his picks of Melbourne's restaurants and snacks plus his VIP Flower Drum order right here.

Victor Liong arrived in Australia from Brunei at age six and was raised in Sydney, but he has called Melbourne home since 2013 when he moved here to open his first restaurant, Lee Ho Fook. Originally located in Smith Street, Lee Ho Fook rapidly grew in popularity and in 2015 moved to a larger site on Duckboard Place in the CBD, where it flies the flag for creative, new-style Chinese cooking to this day. Vic is as avid a diner as he is a cook, and keeps an enviable address book of Victoria’s best dining; here’s a taste of his picks of the CBD.

My defining food moment in Melbourne was the first time I had Peking duck at Flower Drum. We were served two pieces and the plate was cleared and reset between each pancake; I remember thinking “this is the height of sophistication”. This was 10 years ago, when I was a university student.

These days when I go to the Drum, I have some more detailed idea about what to order. If I’m going with a first-timer, I’ll get the pearl meat with ginger and spring onion, the soup dumpling with crab and scallop, the barramundi noodles, the saltbush lamb pockets or the Peking duck (but not both – too much carb) and finish with a toffee apple to share.

If I haven’t been for a while and I need to go deep, though, I go for the century scotch egg (which might sound wack, but is very good), the mud crab, vermicelli and enoki mushroom stir fry with tobiko (a new classic, superb cooking), the lobster egg-white omelette (not cheap, but a celebration dish), the drunken squab with jellyfish, maybe the mud crab Neil Perry style (again, not cheap – a date night dish), and then close with something super-traditional like the double-boiled milk pudding.

I know I’m in Melbourne when I jump on a tram on Collins Street at the top of Spring, cruise down to Elizabeth Street and down to Queen Vic Market for free, and then while I’m at the market some rain has fallen, and the bluestone is slippery as I walk back to the restaurant.

There’s no better value in Melbourne than Dao Noodle on Little Lonsdale Street – a very approachable knife-cut noodle eatery. For me this is the best hidden gem in the 3000s.

I think I’ve worked out a near-perfect order for two people. You want three cold vegetable dishes, and a cold meat to start. The cold meat is optional, but I love Chinese charcuterie. That could break down to an order of the smashed cucumber, the vinegar potatoes, the carrot and seaweed salad, and/or the pigs’ ears or sliced braised beef.

Then the pan-fried pork and cabbage dumplings and an order of the knife-shaved noodles with the “lightly fried” pork. If you’re extra hungry, get a second noodle option, and feel free to add eggs, tofu and greens.

All this, including hand-made noodle, for less than $40 a head.

The best new thing I’ve found is Caretaker’s Cottage. Super vibey, warm and friendly, great drinks and very nice people, central location and super-charming building. Drink a Guinness, or one of the many great cocktails on the menu; I’m a sucker for anything that resembles a milk punch.

When I want to push the boat out on a meal, I sit at the intimate counter at Ishizuka. Their cuisine is really focused and thoughtful, and it’s served in a beautiful setting. It’s a phenomenal dining experience hidden in the basement of an apartment building on Bourke Street.

And when I want to dazzle friends from out of town, I like to take them for a drink and snack at Di Stasio Citta – it’s great. A super-stylish venue, surrounded by impeccable service and great art, then wander down to the City Wine Shop for a steak tartare and some great small bites, sitting on Spring Street and drinking wine looking at parliament steps in the early evening, bliss.

In the mornings you’ll find me taking a shortcut through Ridgway Place and having a quick coffee at St Ali Canteen – best coffee in downtown Melbourne.

My local is 湘粉铺子 Master Noodles. It’s in the same arcade as Shandong Mama (also a great eatery), and despite it being called Master Noodle, I always order the rice set with pork and stir-fried green chilli. The condiment bar is also something you shouldn’t skip; it features chicken crackling.

If I could change one thing about eating and drinking here it would be more people back in the city, more people eating and drinking, supporting small restaurants and using restaurants as places to go before and after shows and events. Restaurants add to our city’s vibrancy and add to the cultural energy.

And the one thing I hope never changes in Melbourne is our passion for eating and drinking and supporting the arts, it’s an amazing place.

Lee Ho Fook, 11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne, 03 9654 8239, leehofook.com.au, @leehofook; follow Victor’s further adventures at Instagram,  @smokeystevenson