Food Adventures: Jinda Thai

The girls and I finally got around to trying Jinda Thai, which is hidden just off Victoria Street in Richmond. The restaurant looked completely different to what I was expecting! Jinda Thai was a spacious restaurant with ample seating, high ceilings and large windows which allowed plenty of natural sunlight to shine through. The menu was extensive and deciding on what to order was a struggle (the good kind of struggle though...if you know what I mean). However, getting our order in was the bad kind of struggle. The service was great at the start however seemed to decline as the crowds started creeping in.

Boat Noodles with Rice Stick Noodles (Large - $9.00)
I'd never even heard of 'boat noodles' but was keen to try the dish for the first time at Jinda Thai. With a choice of either a beef or pork based soup with a choice of noodle, I settled with the beef with rice stick noodles. The soup looked as though it would be quite thick and salty, however it was seasoned perfectly. Doing some further research I've learned that the soup is actually thickened with pig's blood. This may be a little disgusting to some, but not to me! Pig's blood is one of my favourite things to have with congee. :3 There was also a choice of 4 sauces (a mix of chillis and vinegars) to add to taste but I'm not too much of a sauce person so I added them very sparingly.

Pad Thai ($15.90) 

Green Curry Chicken ($14.90) with Coconut Rice. One word: spicy! (But that probably doesn't mean anything coming from me because I can't handle spice!)

Thai Iced Milk Tea - Good thing I had this deliciously sweet and refreshing drink to wash down the spices.

Pandan & Thai Milk Tea Crepe Cake ($8.50)
Now, we couldn't complete our meal without trying the Insta-famous crepe cake. Feeling gluttonous, we ordered both the Pandan and Thai Milk tea flavours. *Insert excited statement about how amazing this cake is*. Jokes! Okay, I am not sure if we were just unfortunate and got a bad batch but we really did not enjoy these as much as we had hoped. In fact, we couldn't manage to finish it! Instead of the light and fluffy texture I was expecting of this layered crepe cake, the cake had a (can't think of a more eloquent word) mushy and dense texture. It was kind of like eating play-doh..?!

In my opinion, the cake looks better than it tastes. I've heard a lot of positive things about the dessert so don't let my personal experience taint your own expectations - give it a try! Despite the slightly disappointing dessert, I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Jinda. I will most likely look towards Jinda Thai the next time I am craving Thai food but probably will be giving dessert here a miss. 

Posted by : Meghan

Food Adventures: The Kettle Black

Address: 50 Albert Road, South Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9088 0721 

The Kettle Black on Urbanspoon

Another beautiful sunny Sunday called for some morning brunch. From the makers of Richmond's Top Paddock, which won the title of Best Cafe in the 2014 Good Food Guide, comes The Kettle Black cafe - its little sister who we all have high expectations for!

I arrived at 10:45am and wasn't surprised to see the line going out the door. I was told that the wait for a table of two was around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Indeed, I was hungry but I decided to wait. After all, what better things did I have to do on a Sunday morning? A small coffee stall was thoughtfully set up outside so we had some drinks to keep us busy. Unexpectedly, after around 40 minutes, a table became available!

As a friend described to me, dishes at The Kettle Black are similar to those of Top Paddock, however they have more premium sourced ingredients. I hear the King Island Crayfish roll is a must-try however personally it was a little early for seafood. I had pretty much already decided on what I was going to order before looking at the menu though... 

Hot cakes with house-made ricotta, blueberries, pure maple, double cream & seeds ($18.00): Yes I know, know. You can get these hot cakes from Top Paddock and I really should be trying something new but I've never ordered this dish for myself before. I'm usually more of a savoury person when it comes to brunch but for some reason I was craving these hot cakes. Can we please just take a moment and appreciate the beauty of this dish? It's almost too pretty to eat. Almost. I absolutely love this dish. It's not too sweet and the fresh berries add just the right amount of sourness to the dish. I had to carefully monitor my cream:cake ratio though to ensure I had enough cream to last until the end!

Chilli Scrambled Eggs with Air-Dried Flinders Island Wallaby, Feta & Leaves ($18.00): I was a little reluctant to try this dish because I can't handle chilli very well. Luckily for me, the scrambled eggs weren't spicy at all (however I can see how it could be a little disappointing if you ordered chilli eggs hoping for them to be chilli). The wallaby was also...interesting. I am no expert on wallaby meat so let's just leave it at that!

I think if I had indulged in one of these goodies (particularly one of the Doughboy donuts) I would've well and truly fallen into a food coma. The hotcakes were extremely filling so I gave it a miss but there's always next time ;)

Overall, I enjoyed my brunch at The Kettle Black. Of course, the service was a little slow as expected since the cafe had just opened earlier in the week but the overall location, cafe fitout and the quality of the food is A+. I'll probably wait for the hype to die down before dining-in again but as the cafe is rather close to my house, it's good to know I can pop by The Kettle Black for a good coffee and some sweet treats to go.

Posted by : Meghan

Back to the Motherland

Hello! Apologies for the brief hiatus I have been overseas on a quick trip with my mum to Malaysia and the motherland, Vietnam. My brief visit to Malaysia consisted solely of eating, shopping, shopping, more shopping (and massages in between) so I think I'll do a separate make-up haul post to share with you all of my new beauty purchases. For now, let's talk about Vietnam; the country where my parents were born and raised. I spent a quick 7 days in Vietnam. This was a very last minute trip and I mainly went to accompany my mum who had some business to do in Saigon. I figured, why not tag along to keep her company, eat some cheap and delicious food and visit my family whom I hadn't seen in quite a few years?! So there are a few things I want to share with you about my most recent trip to Vietnam...

The Food 
Aside from seeing my family, I would have to say the food was a highlight of the trip. Vietnamese is probably my favourite cuisine and whilst I may be a little bit biased, I think Vietnamese food has a great variety of dishes, all made with fresh ingredients and there's always a dish to suit my mood. There's also so many amazing desserts! My gosh, the food was GOOD. And what's even better was that the good food was CHEAP. Take this plate of com tam for example. I had this in a restaurant and it cost, from memory, around $5. That's a bargain already for such a filling meal. They also sell dishes like these on the streets and you'd be expecting to pay a little less, maybe around $2 for the dish. It amazes me that for the price of one of my coffees here in Australia, I can get almost 2 meals. Ridic!

As well as the endless choice of food, we always had drinks to accompany our meal. My favourite drinks are fresh nuoc mia (sugarcane juice) and fresh coconut juice. When I went to visit my grandma out in rural Vietnam, I watched my cousin climb all the way up a coconut tree to grab some fresh coconuts. Again, ridic!

The Transport 
Regardless of having been to Vietnam multiple times, it still amazes and shocks me as to how hectic, crowded and dangerous the roads are. The roads consist of a mess of motorbikes, bikes, cars, taxis and trucks. There is continuous honking to the point that if you were driving and someone honked you, you probably wouldn't even notice because there was way too much honking going on. Lanes are pretty much non-existent. Checking your blind spot is non-existent. The notion of 'giving way' is also pretty much non-existent. If you wanted to turn, you'd have to move into incoming traffic and just hope that they would stop for you. The same goes for crossing the road. I've learnt that the trick is to look ahead and just keep walking until you get to the other side of the road. I felt like I was in a game of Frogger every time I tried to cross! The easiest way to get around is on motorbike though, so I did hop on the back of my cousin's bike and whilst I was freaking out most of the time, it was a truly exhilarating experience. 

The People
I seem to stick out when I'm in Vietnam. People tended to know straight away that I wasn't born there. Some even thought I was Japanese or Korean and greeted me in those languages. I went shopping at one of the markets in Saigon and this lady said in her Vietnamese accent "hello gurl, what you lookin' for? How can I heylp yew?" to which I responded in Vietnamese "just looking". She was a bit taken aback and starting saying in Vietnamese to her friend "Troi oi! What, this girl is Vietnamese?" It's always fun when people are talking about you in their language and are oblivious to the fact that you understand every word they are saying. 

It was so heartwarming to visit my family in Vietnam, even if that meant travelling 6 hours by bus and then boat, just to spend a day or two with them. When I saw my grandma, I wasn't sure that she recognised me completely. She told me she could recognise me after a while because I looked like my mum. She's quite old and getting more and more forgetful which is so sad to see but I guess, that's the way things have to go. I told her to keep holding on. One more year and she'll be 90! 

Me being lazy in a hammock 

The Trip Home  
After a week in Vietnam, it was time for me to go home. My mum decided to stay back a little longer so I flew home myself. First, to Kuala Lumpur. And then back to Melbourne. The following was my swagged out #ootd. I realised I looked like a bum but no shame! Being comfortable is the most important thing. 

But comfortable is one of the last words I'd use to describe my flight home. Having been up since 5am, I was looking forward to sleeping on my overnight flight from KL to Melbourne. With only a few more minutes before departure, the two seats next to me were empty. I thought to myself, lucky me, I don't have to sit next to anyone. Then, two rather overweight bogans came running down the aisles, sweating due to "a long f**cking run through the airport". *Please don't sit next to me* I thought to myself. And just my luck... they did. They were sweaty. The had disgusting BO. They spoke loudly and profanely. I don't understand why it was so necessary to use the f-word or the c-word as often as they did in conversation or why it was necessary to speak so loudly. It amazed me as to how inconsiderate they were. When the lights turned off and everyone went to bed, they continued to talk nonsense and laugh whilst drinking their beers. I asked the flight attendant if there were any other seats I could move to but the plane was packed. I got really mad because despite wearing earphones and blasting my music, I could still hear them and couldn't manage to fall asleep. I finally mustered up the courage to ask them to be a little more quiet (to which they responded, "sure") yet they continued their conversation as normal. Eventually, they fell asleep and I took this as my window of opportunity to grab a wink of sleep. I think I slept a total of 2 hours on the plane and was exhausted upon arrival. It was probably one of the worst flights I've been on and wasn't the best way to end the trip.

REGARDLESS, I still had an amazing time. I'm always a little anxious about going back to Vietnam because as a kid, every time I went back, I would get so so sick with no appetite and end up in bed most of the time. Luckily, this time I was perfectly fine and was able to eat anything and everything I could! Some things just don't change though. I, as usual, fell victim to multiple mosquito bites. They are actually the worst...

I am already missing my family, the warm weather and the incredible food. But, I'm glad to be home; sleeping in my own bed without a mosquito in sight! 

Posted by : Meghan