After coming back from the snow trip, we were all starving. We wanted to eat something strong in flavour after three days of making our own meals where we didn't have any salt, pepper or sugar. Hence I suggested we go to Ying Thai as everytime I go there the dishes always have a huge kick to them. Ying Thai is Thai food with all its fire and not towned down for Western palates at all.
Ying Thai is located on Victoria street near the corner of Hoddle intersection. It's a bright orange building with large glass windows. The decor is simple with fairly old wooden tables and chairs. The walls are painted bright colours with various murals on them.
We ordered a Papaya Seafood Salad to start off with. I just love the salads at Ying Thai. They are all packed with so much flavour and have a clean crisp taste. The papaya salad was shown with three chilli rating on the menu and it sure was. It was so hot but yet addictive at the same time. The fish sauce type sauce went well with the crunchiness of the papaya and carrots. The prawns and calamari also gave some good flavours.
The first mains dish that arrived was the Pad Thai. Usually I don't like Pad Thai too much as it's too sweet for my liking. This pad thai wasn't too sweet and had a good burnt "wok" flavour to it that I like. We finished it so quickly and Jo loved it so much she ordered a second one.
The Steamed Whole Fish with Garlic and Lime Sauce was fantastic. I don't like fish that much but this one was really good. The Perch I think had no muddy taste at all. The meat was tender and the sauce was acidic and sharp. It was again also quite hot in terms of chilli, just the way I like it.
The two curries in the Red Curry Duck and Green Curry Beef were both really good too. The curries weren't too rich with too much coconut milk. The sauce though still went great poured over our steam rice. I prefer the sharper flavours of the red curry more but others preferred the more mellow flavours of the green curry.
Finally the last dish to arrive was the Hot and Sour Soup with Egg. It was a very interesting dish, arriving in a heavy black bowl which was heated with a burner underneath. This was no tiny candle burner but an alcohol based one. The dish was really started to bubble. The soup itself I thought was ok but was a bit much after drinking more. The idea of putting fried eggs with some sort of chive type vegetables in the egg into the soup was very different. The egg soaked up the soup but I didn't really like it all that much.
Service was quite good, with most requests for water, cutlery, more rice quickly fulfilled. Only our enquiry for dessert stumped one waitress a bit. Otherwise it was a great filling meal that was also value for money. All the dishes shown plus an extra Pad Thai and drinks for everyone cost less than $25 with tips for the wait staff as well.
Overall Rating: 14/20, Food is very good with service that is more than capable. Food is fiery and good value for money.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.