Ok ... so we were on a bit of a wild good chase hunting down a Kalamansi lime tree in Mulgrave when we decided, since we were in the area and all, to check out Ma Dee Thai in downtown Springvale for lunch.
I first read about Ma De Thai's existence in an article on Vipoo Srivilasa in The Design Files. Vipoo is, as you can ascertain, of Thai origin and this was one of his recommendations. Although I'm not really into ceramic objet d'art, I would certainly love to own one of his pieces. And if I was anyway creatively inclined, I would also love to take one of his workshop classes, but sadly I have not been blessed. Anyways, Ma Dee Thai serves up homespun food that hits all the right asian cuisine notes.
We scored a table by the window of this unassuming corner shop and started our meal with a glass of refreshing iced milk tea, Thai style, made with that special denture staining orange tea dust.
I opted for their special - Khao Khloo Ga Pi ($12.80) - which was essentially a mound of prawny rice served with some sticky pork, omelette strips, slices of Thai sausage, cucumber and red onion slices along with a few shards of green papaya.
A microcosm of Thai street cuisine on a plate is how I would best describe this. Ok so the portion is a little small blah blah blah and its bordering on the cool side of lukewarm. But all the flavour notes are here - sweet, salty, sour and hot. It comes with a bowl of meaty soup which had little clumped bits of minced pork and slices of silken tofu. A tad salty perhaps but so yummy.
M had the Khao kana moo grob ($10), which was Stir fried crispy pork and Kai Lan on rice. Lovely combination of flavours, both pork and greens were suitably crunchy, and the salted soy bean and oyster sauce flavours were spot on. He loved it.
We also ordered the Papaya Salad ($7.00) to share. And I don't believe I'm exaggerating when I say that this was the best Papaya salad I have had, well to my taste anyways. It wasn't too tart like some of the others and the Papaya tasted fresh along with the raw snake beans. The unpickled cabbage chunks were a little wierd and perhaps didn't quite contribute to the whole than if they had been pickled. Anyhoo, delicious!
Again I'm not going to claim authenticity, but at the end of the day, if it tastes good, then we should simply just let it be. Don't forget to check out the in house jerky that they sell at the cashiers. We chose the pork jerky, a bit like Bak Kwa, but perhaps not as sweet. There's also a range of sweet cakes to be had, but we were being good (and don't you just hate that phrase and state of being!!!)
We had some time to walk around Springvale's environs and also do a bit of Thai grocery shopping (quite a few round here). I haven't really been here since my Uni days when I used to grocery shop in Clayton and than train it here to have my Stir Fried Beef and Kai Lan on rice fix. But that was 20 years ago or so. Things look a little bit different now.
In our childlike enthusiasm to try everything, we bought this bottle of Palms Juice Coconut Nectar to quench our thirst, which was a bit of a mistake because it was just sugar water in a bottle. Still it was cute.
We also bought a requisite tin of Police Dog denture staining Thai tea dust - well actually 2 large tins! I only hope that there's nothing cancerous in the tea leaf detritus that may cause harm with extended consumption. But as the young kids say, or should that be abbreviate ... yolo!
More importantly we discovered this bottle of Ground Chilli with Fried Garlic - brand name concealed by pricetag!! We have already inhaled half the bottle its so addictive. The last few meals have been dictated by the need to incorporate this as a condiment. Definitely a staple for your cupboard.
So Springvale is a little far from where we are, but until Bangkok comes to Footscray, I think we may make this sojourn every now and then.
PS If anyone is feeling generous out there, I would like this piece of Vipoo's called "If all else fails, marry a millionare" ... Snap!