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Multicultural Cuisine of... Thailand
Multicultural Cuisine of... Thailand
Na Songkhla Thai Restaurant
40 Were St,
(03) 9343 4739
Ok, I have a food confession to make: up until fairly recently, I'd always been kinda scared of Asian food. I'm an Italian girl, and grew up with predominantly Italian food. So, we didn't really eat much Asian food, and the few times we did, it wasn't great (because my family, bless them, didn't know where to get decent Asian food from!). And so, I thought, I was scared for life.
A year or so ago, my fabulous friends from work decided they were all going out for Thai food after a work meeting. I smiled and nodded and followed the crowd to the car park. I jumped in my car, yelling out that I would follow someone else because I wasn't sure where it was, and yes, I was excited, and yes, I was starving! I got in my car and called Sous-Jeff immediately. What was Thai food? What would I eat? Could I just order plain rice? Was everything going to be spicy?! Arghhh!!! He told me to just go along and give it a try - I might even like it. If not, he'd order me a pizza.
Fast forward over a year, and it's now one of my favourite restaurants, with Sous-Jeff and I eating there every few weeks. Getting over my fear that all Asian food might be spicy, my eyes were opened up to a lot of different cuisines that I'd been previously afraid to try. Isn't it absurd how much one bad experience can completely skew your view on things? Since then, I've tried quite a few Thai restaurants, and I will confidently say that Na Songkhla is without a doubt the best. With that in mind, it's off for another trip to "Monty Thai" as it's affectionately known within our group of friends and colleagues.
On my first visit to this unassuming little hole in the wall, I felt instantly comfortable and at ease. It felt like walking into a good friend's home and pulling up a seat on a comfy couch. This little "home" is, however, almost always fully booked out for dinner, so it is essential to call ahead and book. The next thing you notice is the overwhelming number of elephants in the place - they're everywhere! Tapestries, statues, bronzed figurines, stuffed toys and more! The lovely waitresses are very attentive and quick to greet us as soon as we walk in. Before we know it, water bottles and menus appear before us, and we all start pondering the wonderful choices before us.
Between the 8 of us, we decide to order a few entrees, so we can all have a bit of everything. We decide on...
|Por Pia Puk (Vegetarian Spring Rolls): $6.90|
|Crispy Chicken (didn't catch proper Thai name, sorry!): $8.90|
|Satay (chicken): $8.90|
|Roti bread and peanut sauce: $3.90|
By far my absolute favourite item on the menu is the roti bread. Regulars to this eatery know to ask for peanut sauce too (at no extra charge). The roti bread is perfectly crisp, yet somehow soft at the same time, and the peanut sauce has just a tiny hint of chilli and ginger, and the bowl is generally scraped clean by everyone within a 2 metre radius of it.
Onto our mains; in the interest of common decency, I didn't shove my camera in everyone's bowl, but here are a few...
|Goong Ob Mo Din (Prawn Clay Pot): $15.90. Cooked and served in clay pot with ginger, topped with vegetables and bean thread noodles.|
|Mas-Sa-Man Curry (Sweet Yellow Curry): $15.90. Mild yellow curry cooked in coconut milk with potatoes, peanuts, onions and carrots. Options to have with chicken, pork, beef or prawns.|
|Gai Yang (BBQ Chicken): $15.90. Chicken fillets marinated in honey, chilli, garlic, lemon grass and red wine.|
|Gang Dang (Red Curry): $15.90. Traditional Thai curry, made from red curry paste, cooked in coconut milk with beans, red capsicum and zucchini. Option to have with chicken, beef, pork or prawns.|
|Pud Mad Mamuaug Hima Pan (Cashew Nuts): $15.90. Meat stir fried with cashew nuts, roasted dry chilli and a sweet flavoured sauce. Option to have with chicken, beef, pork, prawns, or mixed seafood.|
So, everyone laughs at me every time we go over for Thai, because I always order the same time: "Hi, could I please have a roti bread with peanut sauce, spring rolls, a number 36 cashew chicken and coconut rice? Thankyou!" The cashew chicken is just that good. I have actually tried a few other dishes, but with my severe aversion to anything spicy, this is by far my favourite. It has a tiny hint of chilli, but stil weak enough that I can handle it. If you enjoy your food a little hotter, the lovely kitchen staff are more than happy to oblige to any requests of "make it spicy, please!"
I could keep writing for another 1000 words on how brilliant I think this restaurant is, how lovely, friendly and attentive the staff are, how delicious the food is, and how comfortable and hospitable a restaurant it is, but really, just give them a call, book a table for dinner (open from 5:30pm, 7 days), and try it for yourself - you won't be sorry!
Would rate it 10 out of 10.