Tag Archives: tom yum

Jinda Thai Restaurant

After seeing photo after photo on my Instagram feed, it finally sunk in that this Thai restaurant is on my train line, thus I found an excuse to drop by for dinner with friends.

Although it was only mid-week and around 6.30pm, this place was packed, and I was surprised to see a long receipt-like list of bookings for the night. It’s lucky I booked, as we had five people and the place was close to full. 20140507_182828The place itself isn’t anything too fancy, although my friend said the restrooms are surprisingly quaint (pictured below). In addition to this, the benches along the wall at our table had a few cushions. Located off Victoria St, no one really expects anything that fancy, but it is a little more spacious and nicer than crowded Vietnamese restaurants. IMG-20140507-WA0002We were seated quickly however not provided any menus. We felt a little confused, as there were big menu boards on the other side of the restaurant and we weren’t sure if that’s what we had to order from. But spotting the table next to us with their own menus, it was evident we hadn’t been given any.

A little more confusing is that when they provided them, there are two menus, a booklet and another a single page, which appeared to have noodle dishes, recommendations and more. Still, the exact difference between them wasn’t explained to us, so we had to examine both of them thoroughly.

20140507_184958Luckily, as mentioned in my previous blog post, I’d received recommendations from other food bloggers so it made it a little easier to order. I almost always order a Thai iced milk tea, which helps my low spicy tolerance. It came in a cute trendy jar, but I felt like it was a tad smaller compared to what I’ve had in the past. 20140507_185739A popular recommendation was the boat noodles ($6 small, $9 large), so my friend, who unfortunately just got braces, went with this.

A large basket of condiments came at the same time as the boat noodles, and at first we thought it was all for her, then realised it was most likely for us all to share. Once again, there was not much explanation and they also forgot about our cutlery until we asked. 20140507_185759 The boat noodle soup itself was tasty – you can choose if you want a pork or beef soup and what type of noodles you would like. The soup’s colour is murky as it contains pig’s blood (a normal ingredient for Asian dishes – doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds!) But there is more flavour to the soup than pig’s blood, which was quite pleasant when I had a spoonful.

The downside are the sizes. We found the noodle sizes (the below one too) very disappointing and honestly wondered how that would constitute as a meal if we didn’t share some of the dishes. 20140507_190022 My friend ordered the above spicy dry egg noodle (above), which looked like barely anything. I guess the price for a small is cheap ($6), but there was no guidance from the waitresses that it would be this small. For either an individual or sharing dish, I find this a strange size.

This dish lived up to its name in spiciness, but it included offal even though my friend indicated she did not want it when the waitress asked.

20140507_190056 Surprisingly, the pineapple fried rice was addictive. The fragrance of pineapple provided excitement to your normal fried rice dish, and we scraped it to the last drop.20140507_190042The red duck curry ($15.90, top left) was another recommendation whilst I also couldn’t help choosing the Massaman beef curry ($14.90). The duck curry was more of a watery curry and quite spicy, so much that the weaker ones out of us couldn’t taste anything at first. However, after a few spoonfuls of most of the spicy dishes, we grew accustomed to it and started to enjoy the flavours. 20140507_190240 We had all chosen a dish (plus a few extras) and I was fairly happy with my Massaman curry. This wasn’t spicy at all, but had a slightly thicker and buttery texture. 20140507_190617 It’s also hard to not order tom yum soup ($15.90) when you’re at a Thai restaurant. This was similarly spicy, but addictive too after a few sips. We ordered a seafood soup and I was surprised they weren’t too stingy on the seafood, with a good amount of vegetables and prawns.

Another suggestion was an appetiser, marinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaf ($6.90 per 2 pieces, bottom right). Upon unwrapping, the chicken was fried, crispy and juicy. I really enjoyed it, yet one friend wasn’t amazed.

20140507_190635As the servings were fairly small, it was lucky we also ordered the Thai style marinated grilled beef ($15.90). It was cooked medium rare as requested and nice and tender.

More communication from the waitresses would have been helpful again, as we didn’t realise the cylinder in the background contained sticky rice. It’s in the menu description but we completely forgot about it. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) one of us discovered it at the end when we had all finished eating! 20140507_190916 I was worried we had ordered too much, but in the end it was just enough…to leave room to order a Thai milk tea crepe cake between us! This is another popular item I hear of often. Served with coconut sorbet, my friends all loved it, and it really is like eating your drink in a crepe cake form! However, they apparently sell the packets to make this in a grocery next door. 20140507_201814 Overall, the service let me down a lot. Cutlery was dropped and a little sauce was also spilt on my friend’s skirt. Because of this, I can’t see myself rushing to come back. Everything did feel authentic, but the service and serving sizes may deter me for some time.

I know a lot of other people have experienced better than me, so maybe give it a go at least once for the food and a different type of restaurant around the Victoria St/Richmond area but don’t expect top notch service.

Jinda Thai Restaurant is located at 1-7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, just across the road from North Richmond Station. It is open Mon-Sun 11am-11pm. Find the menu on Urbanspoon here.

Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Caroline Thai Restaurant

A day in the western suburbs, resulted in us looking for a quick but quality place to eat before we had to catch a movie. My friend suggested Caroline Thai Restaurant, a moderately priced restaurant with delicious food and cutlery with elephants shaped on the ends.

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As it was a day featuring the last tastes of summer weather, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to order a classic Thai iced milk tea ($3.90, above.) It tasted sweet and authentic but not overly sweetened like some places. With four of us we all chose a dish each.

Under the Thai grilled section I chose the Moo Yang BBQ, which was grilled marinated pork with Thai herbs ($16.90, above). It tasted lightly barbecued but the sauce added the burst of flavour needed, and the flower added a nice touch to the presentation.

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We debated over whether to get a large or small serving of tom yum soup. The waiter was quite helpful, so in the end we chose to have two small serves of the soup. I think we got the vegetable tom yum so it was $6.90 for each, but when they came out we were quite happy with the decision because it seemed like just enough. This was probably my favourite dish of the night, as it wasn’t too spicy and seemed to have a depth to its flavour that made you keep coming back for more.

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In contrast, my friend insisted that the curry wasn’t that spicy last time so we asked for a bit of extra spice for our red curry with chicken ($16.90, above). However, when it came out he said it was a lot spicier this time – but for my weaker friends and I it wasn’t unbearable. It was definitely a bit on the strong side but if you had a lot of it, all it took was a sip of water.

What I like about the menu, is that for the appropriate dishes, it provides you with the different options of meat and fillings. For example, you can have red curry with beef, chicken, vegetables, prawns or seafood. It’s very straightforward and means they are quite flexible.

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Last of all was the seafood pad thai ($16.90, above). The noodles seemed quite thin, but this seems consistent with what people agree should be used in pad thai. It was good and what was to be expected, nothing too special.

With four meals all up, and not a lot of time, we didn’t manage to finish it all but I felt like we had a good selection. If we had more time, I would have probably demolished the tom yum soup! The place seemed to be starting to get busy early in the evening, and the food seemed fairly authentic. The waiters and waitresses also seemed attentive and helpful, able to help with any advice.

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Caroline Thai Restaurant is located at Shop 9/218-222 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs. You can view the dine-in menu here. You will also find their drinks and take-away menu.

Caroline Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Pok Pok Thai Street Food

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Another weekend, another Thai place. However, despite the comparisons to Chin Chin and slight modern influences, I wouldn’t call it fusion or qualify this restaurant in my “Modern Asian” reviews. As the name indicates, the menu is inspired by Thai street food, the owner was born in Bangkok and items like “Hainanese chicken”, I wouldn’t exactly call modern.

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In contradiction to this, the decor definitely screams ‘modern’ (and PINK) from the giant pink elephant and stairs at the entrance, to the pink bar stools in the dining area and large-lantern lights. I felt a little deceived by other blog photos, believing the restaurant to be quite large. However the above picture is the biggest section.  On the other side, there were benches and more stools but not many seats in that area. We were seated to the far left of the above picture, after walking down a little runway (below) to a corner where we were lucky enough to have our own table.

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To start off I ordered an obligatory Thai iced milk tea and my friend ordered an iced coffee. I’m familiar with Vietnamese iced coffees but not Thai ones. The Thai one is less strong, but not too watery and quite tasty. We enjoyed it enough to order another one, allowing me to steal some more sips from my friends’ glasses. My Thai iced milk tea was as expected, although perhaps a tad less flavoursome than others I have tried before – I prefer it a little more orange!  The little silver bowls (below) were for our water.

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We all ordered a meal each with the intention of sharing, and I also suggested the Bangkok Style Fresh Spring Rolls ($7.50, below) as I’d read some good things about them. The ingredients were indeed fresh (chicken, tofu, chinese sausage, beanshoots) but I just felt the pastry/roll part of the dish was bland. It was served with dijon mustard on the side, which I’m not a fan of generally and didn’t seem to go with the spring rolls.

In the end, I had to use some of the dipping sauce that came with our crispy roti bread for our curry – not sure what it was, it was clear with chopped chillies – to make the dish flavoursome enough to eat.

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Speaking of the curry – I chose the Massaman Lamb Curry with Crispy Roti Bread ($14.50, top left) and we all loved it. It also came with potatoes, onions and cashews. It had the typical curry flavour, it wasn’t spicy but slightly sweet – and in a good way. The sauce just kept us coming back to that dish for more, and I was happy enough to not hog all the lamb and drizzle the sauce on my rice to savour it. The “waxy potatoes” (as written on the menu) were cooked with the skin on, which gave an enjoyable texture to the ingredient.

The crispy roti was also flaky and addictive, but we got confused whether to dip it in the aforementioned clear, chilli sauce or the curry itself. I went for the curry! My only issue with this dish, is that it should come with more roti bread and well more of everything really (a bit more ingredients and more sauce). But I guess for a reasonable price of $14.50, compared to the prices of Chin Chin, I shouldn’t complain too much.

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One of the others, in the mood for soup, ordered the Tom Yum King Prawns ($12.50, above). It wasn’t packed with ingredients, coming with only two prawns, but we enjoyed the chilli soup. Finally, my other friend ordered the Twice Cooked Pork Hock “Khao Kha Moo” ($11.50, bottom left), which was passable but nothing amazing.

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The dishes were good, the curry a favourite and the service so-so. We asked for an extra rice, as it didn’t come with the curry, but they seemed to forget. We didn’t bug them as we thought we’d finish our current rice first. When we reminded them later, they brought it out and a man, who I assume is the owner, came over to apologise as they were overwhelmed by a large group of people who came in. Still, rice shouldn’t be too troublesome, but it was nice that he apologised personally.

The other issue is its location, being a bit out of the way in Docklands, it’s not really worth going out of your way unless you want to try that curry. I’ve also heard the Roast Pork Belly and Dry Peppercorn is quite good but you can judge for yourself and let me know! They’re also open for breakfast which sounds interesting – and apparently do very good coffee.

Pok Pok Thai Street Food is open Mon-Wed 7am-4pm, Thu-Fri 7am-10pm and Sat 6-10pm. 

Pok Pok on Urbanspoon