Chin Chin, popular as ever, is located on Flinders Lane in the Melbourne CBD offers Thai and South East Asian flavours with a Western twist. For tables under ten, it’s walk-in only and queuing to put your name down on the list! It’s a very vibrant place and that always seems to be buzzing.
The menu offers something for everyone and what I like about it, is that while sharing is ideal because you can try a bit of everything, these dishes also are great for one. If you’re undecided on what to order, Chin Chin’s offer their Feed Me menu, where they will select various dishes from the menu on your behalf.
The Kingfish Sashimi is amazing. I love the acidity of the limes, slightly punchy chilli with the Thai basil. The fish is lovely and fresh as well.
The Chin Chin Pork “Roll Ups” are another winner. I love the tender, and flavoursome pork with the very thin pancakes and the sweet and salty Peking Duck like sauce.
The Crispy Barramundi Salad with Green Apples, Pork, herbs and chillies, is lovely and fresh.
The Jungle curry with braised pork shoulder is very spicy! I prefer a curry with sauce to be honest, but this isn’t too bad.
To finish off the meal, this Coconut Sago with Sweetcorn Ice cream and puffed rice is delicious. Lovely coconut flavour and the crunchy puffed rice adds a nice texture to it.
Chin Chin makes some incredible dishes, with bold and fresh flavours. Service could be better and especially for the price, plus they added on extra dishes on top of the “Feed Me” menu last time we dined there.
125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tom Toon Thai Noodle Cafe is one of the now many Thai restaurants in Richmond, located just doors away from Ying Thai and walking distance from Jinda Thai, Jaidee Thai and iSpicy 2. You’re spoilt for choice in this particular part of town.
Tom Toon isn’t a large restaurant, but it does have this unique character about it. I always seem to lean towards the Thai Fried Rice and here flavour-wise it’s fantastic. Delicious, but just as a personal preference I prefer Fried Rice to be drier, but I’ve noticed that most Thai Fried Rice’s are like this as compared with the Chinese or Malaysian Fried Rice.
My favourite is still Jinda Thai, but the rest of the bunch aren’t too far behind in quality.
Tom Toon Thai Noodle Cafe
241 Victoria Parade
Abbotsford VIC 3067
Sometimes Melbourne surprises you with its restaurants, and you can find real gems in many places around town. Som Tam is a Thai restaurant located in Thornbury, and is one of the latest Thai restaurants to hit Melbourne. Having opened earlier this year, Som Tam serves authentic Thai cuisine and what’s appealing about Som Tam is that the dishes on the menu are meant for sharing and in many ways this is a great thing, especially so as you can taste a wider range of dishes on offer. You can check out their menu here.
What I liked about Som Tam, is that it isn’t afraid to serve something different. The Thai restaurants I’ve frequented tend to serve the more commonly known dishes to Melburnians, but here it not only serves these but adds something a bit different to make it their own.
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We dined here on a Saturday evening, and every diner receives a complimentary Thai salad. The salad is refreshing and light, with the slight sourness of the dressing and the crunchiness of the julienne vegetables. It’s quite a nice way to start your evenings meal.
Satays are such a joyous thing to have as a starter. The Moo Satay here uses marinated collar pork so there is a bit of a bite to it, and served with a generous amount of their Thai peanut sauce. There is a richness to the sauce which probably comes from the use of coconut cream, and the subtlety of the turmeric and lemongrass just gives it a well rounded flavour. The nuttiness of the sauce isn’t too overpowering but it definitely goes well with the tender pork.
The Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup here is in contrast to what you may typically find in other restaurants. The broth is clear isn’t your typical Tom Yum, with its clear broth but what it does retain is its spiciness. There’s also something with the combination of ingredients that I couldn’t quite work out why its different in taste but there is a slight tartness instead of the usual sweet, sour and spicy which we placed it down on the more generous use of fish sauce but I’m not certain. It may be a surprise for some, especially on taste but there is a particular cleansing nature to the soup that some may like.
Som Tam’s Jasberry Rice is what I liken to a combination of Jasmine rice with the Black Sticky rice, which reveals itself in this purplish hue. It’s an interesting type of rice and the slight bite of some of the rice grains makes it interesting, maybe similar to having Jasmine rice with brown rice actually.
The Red Curry Roast Duck was probably my favourite dish of the night. According to the menu, they use an in-house five spice mix for the duck and it’s served in a red curry with longan and fresh berries. There is indeed a certain sweetness to the curry, but the combination of the spiciness and creaminess of the curry along with the spices used makes for an amazing curry. The tender duck really just adds to the depth of flavour and I could really have that red curry all to myself.
The Pad Ke Mao here is another winner, what makes this fantastic is how we call it the “wok flavour” where its this high flame from the stove that somehow creates this amazing flavour that you can’t get in your standard stove at home. For those that haven’t come across this dish before, it’s a flat rice noodles with basil and chilli and the essential Thai ingredients that brings it all together. It isn’t too spicy though if you’re asking, but just enough as a little kicker.
Roti’s are the crepes of South East Asia, you can have it savoury with a simple curry or add only with butter or Kaya (coconut spread) even. If you wanted it as a dessert, ice cream and fruits are commonly used. Som Tam’s Roti adds bananas with a Palm sugar syrup and whipped cream inside the roti. The roti is soft inside yet crispy and it goes exceptionally well with the bananas and syrup. You can also request to add a scoop of ice cream which I feel would be perfect together.
Their Black Sticky Rice with Coconut ice cream is another delicious dessert on their menu. The Black sticky rice here is different to the one served above, as they tend to add coconut milk (or cream) and sugar to make this dessert and a variation of this is also found in Malaysian cuisine. It’s served warm and as the black sticky rice retains some of its harder shell, it gives it a nice bite. Having this with a ice cream is definitely the way to go. The ice cream here isn’t as smooth or creamy as I would have liked but the coconut flavour is pleasant and it doesn’t taste artificial which is always a good thing.
Som Tam really makes a name for itself here with its aromatic, and tasty Thai dishes. I had a hard time even choosing what to order because there were dishes that looked interesting such as their Green Curry Fried Rice or the Son In Law starter. The appeal of it all here is that the food is still authentically Thai and yet something distinctively modern and fresh about it.
I’d also like to add the service here was fantastic, they were attentive and friendly and made you feel at ease. So overall, it was a wonderful night out, great good with great people to enjoy it with.
750 High Street
Thornbury VIC 3071
T: 03 9480 5276
Tuesday – Friday: 11:30am till 3:00pm/5:30pm till 10:00pm
Saturday: 5:30pm till 10:00pm
Sunday: 5:30pm till 10:00pm
Jaidee Thai is one of the numerous Thai restaurants towards the Hoddle Street end of Victoria Street. Jinda Thai, iSpicy 2 and Ying Thai are also located around these parts of town. Jaidee Thai is the newcomer on the block and what they offer isn’t too different from the rest.
Jaidee Thai’s Pad Thai looks great with its combination of chicken, fresh bean sprouts and chopped peanuts. However taste wise it falls a bit short compared to the likes of Jinda Thai’s Pad Thai and even iSpicy’s. The aroma and flavour of the sauce used isn’t as strong, and if you have ever tried Jinda Thai’s version, you’ll instantly be able to tell the difference. Over there, it’s fragrant as it arrives in front of you, with the nutty smell of the chopped peanuts. Although that is not to say Jaidee Thai’s Pad Thai isn’t good, it has its pros but with so many Thai eateries around, a dish like this needs to stand out.
Jaidee Thai’s Thai Fried Rice (Chicken) served with a slice of lime smells and tastes great actually. The chunky tomato adds depth to the fried rice, along with the greens. The let-down of the dish is that the rice is on the wet side of things, which makes the fried rice feel soggy. I definitely prefer my fried rice to be drier but this might be the Thai style of Fried Rice as I recall dining at Tom Toon Thai Noodle Cafe and it was quite similar.
Although I haven’t been left impressed by the dishes I’ve tried, you’ll still end up with a decent meal at Jaidee Thai. I’d probably give it another go sometime in the future, but Jinda Thai is still the one to beat.
112 Victoria Street
Richmond VIC 3121
Toronto has exceptional Thai food. I’m not sure why as seemingly they are a fair distance away from Thailand and seemingly there isn’t a significant community of sorts but alas somehow Thai cuisine thrives here. Salad King is situated not far from the Ryerson University, which results in the restaurant filling up quickly during peak times.
What is also interesting, that I’ve never seen in any restaurant before (other than a Nando’s) is a Spicy Scale as shown below. My sister having dined here before, recommended 3-5 Chilis, and even those were quite spicy so I’m not entirely sure how 20 Chilis tasted like. Maybe like a fireball in your mouth and stomach?
Salad King’s Phud Thai (or Pad Thai) is light and fresh in flavour, fragrant and overall a very delicious dish with the spiciness adding a nice touch. It’s not the best Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten but definitely above average.
The Bangkok Stir Fry is unfamiliar to be but I loved the peanuts added on top with the rice vermicelli (clear noodles) which are property my favourite styled stir fried noodles if done right. Tasty dish.
The Rainbow Chicken is another interesting Thai dish, with eggplant, capsicums and the combination of basil, lemon grass and chilli sauce makes quite a great dish with some white rice. Cheap and tasty.
The Green Mango Salad with mango strips, tomato, lettuce and dressed with chopped peanuts and a Thai dressing (made from fish sauce, lime juice, peanuts and sugar) is refreshing but not particularly my favourite kind of salad.
Salad King’s Tom Yum is another winner, with the perfect combination of sweet and sour and of course spice and really just want you need on a cold day (which was nearly everyday in Toronto).
Cheap and tasty Thai food is what I’d describe Salad King in a few words. If I were to compare Salad King to Khao San Road, tastewise Khao San Road comes out on top, the dishes there just blew me away. Although in terms of price, you may prefer Salad King over Khao San Road but flavour cannot be denied in my humble opinion. However, both are probably for different occasions and settings so in someways aren’t very comparable. Salad King definitely earns its title as Toronto’s favourite Thai.
340 Yonge St
Toronto ON M5G1H1