If there is one word to be said about the Thai food scene in Melbourne, that word would be shithouse. Seriously, the state of Thai food in Melbourne is abominable. Sure there’s a Thai takeaway shop in every corner, but pretty much all of them are rubbish. The very first time Josh went to Thailand and had the first real Thai food, he said ‘now I know what you’re on about when you say Thai food in Melbourne is rubbish’. Of course, he also had the ‘pleasure’ to have Thai food that was aimed at tourists in touristy places in Thailand and found them to be equally rubbish.
All that aside, I found a restaurant I rather approve of. It sits in a very unassuming corner in Springvale. Which means good news because anyone who has driven to Springvale will understand what I mean when I said parking was abnormally a breeze.
(tom yum goong – prawn tom yum soup – $17.00)
Me Dee Thai’s slogan is ‘Best Real Thai Food in Town’ note that words ‘real Thai food’. Guess I’m not that only Thai who realised the general state of welfare of Thai cuisine in this town. Bothers me, seriously, that the most famous Thai restaurant here is Longrain.
Anyhow, enough bitching. I happened to be in Springvale for lunch one day. We ordered three dishes off the menu to share with some rice on the side.
(calamari salad – yum pla muk – $12.00)
We started off with the classic tom yum goong, which is a hot, sour soup full of lemongrass and kaffir lime. There are two generic types of tom yum: one with clear broth and one with milky, creamier brother. We chose the latter. The soup was sharp with lime, the way it should be. It wasn’t as spicy as I had hoped, which was just right for Josh. It came on a little burning fuel tablet which kept the soup hot, as they do in Thailand. The prawns were plump and plenty.
I also ordered calamari salad – which was heavy on the lime juice, onion, chilli jam and mint. It wasn’t too spicy but it did have a bite to it. The calamari was nice and tender. Although I have a thing against scored calamari. I’m not too sure why, I just don’t like the texture when it’s scored.
(crispy catfish salad – yum pla duk foo – $15.00)
The last dish was yum pla duk foo, crispy catfish salad. Another salad! I think I wasn’t thinking things through clearly when I ordered things as they all ended up being seafood, they all ended up being ‘yum’ which are tangy and spicy. A Thai meal always needs a balance of different flavours.
Anyway the catfish salad was ordered as an after thought because Josh really likes it. It’s basically catfish (or any other white fish – it’s just that because the fish doesn’t have to be great eating fish, catfish was traditionally used, in fact I doubt it was catfish) boiled, flaked and shredded. The fish is then deep fried. Imagine eating deep-fried cotton candy fish if you can. No you can’t. I don’t blame you. Anyway the fish came on a bed of lettuce and cabbage with the tangy, spicy dressing and topped with crunchy peanuts and slivers of green mango.
Finally, a Thai restaurant I can go back to again and again. Judging from the clientele, other Thais seem to feel the same way too. The service was fast and friendly, unlike *cough* many other restaurants in Springvale.
By the way, these are pretty much the most expensive dishes. You can get much, much cheaper meals here. Also apologies if the English names don’t match the actual menu. I literally read the Thai bits of the menu and those were what went in my head. The receipt that I grabbed was also in Thai.
Me Dee Thai Restaurant, 1-13 St Johns Ave, Springvale 3171 VIC