Melbourne is known as one of the Asia-Pacific's top hubs for adventurous foodies, and when it comes to picking a place to eat, you'll be truly spoilt for choice. Melbourne's Thai restaurants are some of the best in the world, reflecting decades of immigration from south-east Asia and a commitment to traditional, authentic cooking methods. Whether you're looking for classic dishes like pad thai or noodle soup, or are hoping for something a little more off-the-wall, the chefs at Melbourne's Thai restaurants are sure to serve you a plateful of taste sensations.
As an urban oasis on the southern tip of endless swathes of desert and countryside, Australia's second-largest city is one of the country's most diverse and multicultural cities - and the number of Thai restaurants in Melbourne is a prime example of its global feel. Immigration from Thailand to the state of Victoria began in earnest in the mid-twentieth century, when immigrants from the south-east Asian nation moved over to study. Today, the legacy of this migration is reflected in the high number of original Thai restaurants in Melbourne, all offering a wide variety of authentic, delicious dishes.
If you're looking for your favourite dishes, the chefs at Melbourne's Thai restaurants have perfected the art of cooking the classics of the cuisine. Green curry made with creamy coconut milk and crunchy seasonal vegetables is on the menu at many of Melbourne's Thai restaurants, while smaller dishes like crispy tofu are also readily available. For meals with a more unusual twist, why not try a dish like tum mak tang - diced cucumber strips served with shrimp, snake bean and chilli-lime tomatoes?
While Melbourne's Thai restaurants aren't concentrated on one specific area, there is plenty of choice in the bustling central business district. The streets around Chinatown, such as Flinders Lane and Little Collins Street, play home to some of Melbourne's best Thai restaurants, and the central location of these places means you're ideally placed to have a delicious meal first if you're heading for an evening out at one of the many top-quality city centre theatres. And with Quandoo it's easier than ever to find a place and book online in seconds, so you can spend more time hanging out with your friends without having to worry about calling ahead or sending an email to reserve your table.
Perhaps you're celebrating a special event like a birthday, an anniversary or a professional milestone, or maybe you just want to enjoy a special dinner with your loved ones as a treat. Whatever the reason for fine dining, Melbourne's Thai restaurants can cater to your every need. Finding contemporary and gourmet dining options gives you an exciting opportunity to explore some of the suburbs just outside of the city's urban core. Why not pay a visit to the inner-northern neighbourhood of Carlton, where popular restaurant Nora on Elgin Street offers lots of small, unusual dishes to try like julienned green papaya and blue mackerel with spicy green-chilli granita.
The chefs at Melbourne's Thai restaurants aren't afraid to put a local stamp on the cuisine, so prepare to enjoy some delicious Asian meals with a distinct Australian twist. Melbourne's proximity to the sea means menus are full of locally-caught fish fused with the spices and flavours of Thailand, such as the stir-fried soft shell crab with chilli at Thailicious on Exhibition Street or the mussel pancake at Cookie on Swanston Street. And carnivores will also be able to indulge their passion at Melbourne's Thai restaurants with a wide choice of dishes made from Australian meat, such as the pork neck with chilli sauce at the Magic Mountain Saloon on Little Collins Street.
After experiencing a fusion of savoury flavours like chilli and lemongrass, you might think Melbourne's Thairestaurants won't have anything sweet to offer. But fear not: desserts are certainly on offer at many of Melbourne's Thai restaurants, and they sure are delicious. Many desserts revolve around coconut, like bananas in coconut cream or coconut jasmine rice pudding. For a more fruity twist, why not go for a fak thong sang-ka-ya (traditional pumpkin custard) or mango served with sticky rice. If you've not left room after your main course, don't worry: there are plenty of traditional palate-cleansing teas on the menu at Melbourne's Thai restaurants, and they are often infused with delectable spices like cardamom and star anise.