I love Thai food but I hate Thai food in Australia!!!
All Thai restaurants in Australia tend to offer curry puff, Spring roll, green-red curry (beef/chicken) and Padthai. They are not the kind of food we eat in Thailand and..being Thaimyself... I feel that the chef or Thai restaurant owners in Australia can't think! and will not..so they just copy the menu from the first Thai restaurant in Australia.
One day, I found a new place in Smith Street called "Mama Nee" which is run by 3 mid-age women from Southern Thailand. Three ladies promised the unique Southern-style Thai food and that what I had been looking for since my first arrival.
The first dish is very simple but...simply the best.Southern-Thai fried chicken. The skin is extremely crispy and well-coated by Thai herbs. The first bite will tell you the real flavour of 'Gallangha and Ginger'. Also, you will feel the crisp of deep-fried shallot. The second bite is for the softness and tenderness of chicken meet.
I remember my childhood when I finished school, my mother sometimes bought this type of fried-chicken and a pack of sticky rice for me and that became the highlight of my evening.
The second favourite that Mama nee can offer you is "Yum (Salad) Crispy Fish." Again, this dish is spectacular for your palate because of the combination of herbs and fried fish. Mama nee said she always searches for fresh ingredients to make salad. That includes green mangoes, shallot, ginger, lime, palm sugar and fresh chilli. The sweetness of green mango is a real contrast with crispy fish. I suggest my friends to try this salad with cold beer...heaven!
The choice of fish is also important. In Thailand, we always rely upon fresh water fish (such as cat fish), due to the fact that our history is linked with the rice field and you could always find catfish in the rice field...I guarantee this statement! In Ayuthaya where my folks are from, Yum crispy catfish is one of the most popular yet common dish among farmers. Now in Melbourne...Mama nee offers you the best!
The next dish is for some non-Thai friends who are not familiar with chilli. We order "Kai Jeaw Goong" (Omlette with fluffy shrimps) for them. This one is easy, simple but flavourful. I don't think it's very Southern Thai but ...who cares?
Highlight of the RESTAURANT!!!! Yellow curry with bambooshoot and fish. The flavour of turmeric (Kamin) is exceptionally strong. If you are looking for the fire in your mouth...THIS IS MY RECOMMENDATION!
The heat of this curry will kick away your flu symptoms. The sourness of bambooshoot and the heat in the curry will make you feel the inferno in your soul.
I hope you enjoy the food of Thailand and will completely forget the traditional green curry, padthai, tomyam that you have been eating in all Thai restaurants in Melbourne.