MELBOURNE | The western end of Bourke Street has become quite the hub for Thai food post lockdowns. One of the options for hungry diners in what many are now referring to as Melbourne’s Thai Town, is Thong Thai. I recently popped in to grab some shots for What’s On Melbourne.
Located a stone’s throw from Parliament, Thong Thai offers diners a broadly Central Thai selection of street food style dishes. While much on the menu will remind those who have been to Bangkok of delicious meals enjoyed on the street in that city, there’s more to it than just that. As co-owner Angelo Yap told me, there’s several delicious, sizzling things from other parts of Thailand.
The ‘sizzling’ aspect of Thong Thai is apparent before you walk inside. There’s a window that opens (well it will post a small renovation to the front) to the street, with kai jeow (Thai omelettes) being cooked on a big traditional pan. It’s evokes the same feeling that one experiences when walking past kai jeow spots in Bangkok.
Walk past the open kitchen into the dining room, and you’ll feel the energy of the kitchen, with fresh ingredients and house made sauces hitting the woks as tall flames and wonderful smells of wok hei eminate.
Dishes include things like kra pao kook (think pad kra pao, but with fried rice instead of steamed rice); hoi tod (crispy mussel omelette); and one of my favourites, laeng saeb (pork spine soup). There’s also great versions of crowd pleasing favourites like pad Thai and crispy prawn spring rolls. If you want hot pot, there’s also the option of tom yum mama hot pot.
Whatever you do, be sure to grab something off the special jok menu. It’s a side serve of jok aka congee aka rice porridge, served with your choice of a number of dishes. The pad hoi la (stir fried pipis) are a great choice.
To drink, it’s hot and cold Thai drinks like milk tea, longan juice, and pink paradise milk. There’s also a small selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
18 Bourke Street
Telephone: (03) 9191 8222
Mon – Fri: 11:30am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 9:30pm
Sat – Sun: 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 9:30pm