White Guy Cooks Thai / Food Truck
White guy cooks Thai is an interesting concept coming out of a food truck. Once you let go of the racial pre-conceptions and smell the delicious aromas (minus the exhaust) you realise the food is pretty good. Perhaps it’s because the mastermind white guy (Simon) is married to a Thai woman. Korean bul-go-gi, gyozas, fried chicken, spring rolls and banh mi are just some of the delectables available.
Crispy prawn banh mi with asian slaw (coriander, lightly pickled carrot, cabbage and bean sprouts.) Deliciously crunchy battered prawns surrounded by fresh veggie goodness, every bite was delicious.
Pork belly banh mi & crunchy spring rolls served on asian slaw. Petite spring rolls are the best, crunchier and a lot easier to eat… almost too easy. The delicious slivers of pork belly were crispy yet tender and full of flavour.
A food truck that serves KFC? What more could you want. It get’s even better when it’s not the usual greasy badness from the fast food chain. This korean fried chicken is just as flavoursome, served on asian slaw dribbled with Japanese mayo. And you only need to feel half as guilty.
Just like all the other food trucks, they might have their regular spots but you might need to do some stalking before you get your hopes up. Twitter usually does the trick. (@whiteguythai)
White Guy Cooks Thai
Food Truck (Various locations)
Sushi Hotaru / CBD
I think Sushi train is an incredible invention, a fun and clever way of dining. Back in Christchurch, I had a favourite sushi-train, and I may have just found my Melbourne favourite – Sushi Hotaru.
If you search through the Red Silks arcade, you will find Sushi Hotaru hiding away in the corner like the shy kid at school. Once discovered, you will realise that this little sushi bar is far from shy.
There was a bit of a queue when we arrived, but the sushi looked too good to go anywhere else. Around 30 minutes later we finally snatched up a seat. The ambience was busy, fun and vibrant.
All dishes were very affordable at approximatley $3 a plate. They had a good selection on the “train” but for those impatient types, they also had a state of the art iPad menu where you could select made to order dishes without hailing down a waiter. My thought was – every Asian restaurant needs one of these!
The fish quality here seems to be a bit dull compared to my homeland, New Zealand. The salmon nigiri was so-so, but bearable with enough soy sauce and wasabi.
The Japanese have seemed to have mastered seaweed like the British have mastered potatoes. This seaweed salad wrapped in seaweed was delicious.
My favourite dish was the tataki beef nigiri. The beef was cooked beautifully – tender and moist.
Sushi Hotatu’s tako yaki/octopus balls are very delicious, and I love it when the katsuobushi (fish flakes) makes the dish look like it’s alive.
Some of the dishes and fishes were kind of obscure. I didn’t know what half the stuff on the train was, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
We also ordered some ramen off the iPad menu, it was great because it’s a much more affordable way of lining the stomach rather.
When I said the beef tataki was my favourite dish, I was lying. The Scampi supersedes all the sushi plates with its mesmerising features. The flesh was tender, silky, and melted right in the mouth.
The mounting dishes by the end of the meal demonstrated the immense satisfaction that was endured.
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Overall, it was a tasty and affordable start to the evening. The bill revealed itself at approximately $20 a head, just enough in the budget for dessert. The black sesame and green tea ice cream here looked beautiful for dessert, but perhaps we’ll save that for next time. (We went somewhere else for dessert, find out in my next blog post!)
Shop 118 200
Bourke St Melbourne, VIC
Sakura / Christchurch
Sakura Japanese Cuisine is a new little restaurant opened in the asian Church Corner area. Managed by ex staff member from Yummys, some friendly competition.
A quiet ambiance with a nice Japanese vibe. The menu is full of delicious Japanese tapas around the $15-$20 mark.
Assorted Sashimi is what we started with, beautiful fresh fish, delicately cut and beautifully presented.
Takoyaki was delicious, well presented and the perfect amount of sauce. The sprinkled Nori complimented the dish too.
Soft shell crab - pretty good, nice and crispy and a good subtle dressing.
Yaki tori - I mean yummy tori.
Last but not least we got the grilled steak with Daikon. Not a huge fan of Daikon (white raddish) but the steak was delicious, and went well with the sauce.
Great food, great atmosphere.
Sakura Japanese Cuisine
Church Corner Mall
380 Riccarton Rd
Christchurch, New Zealand
No Urbanspoon in NZ?!
Hako Sushi / Prahran
Hako Sushi a cute express Japanese/Korean style eatery on Chapel Street. When I walked in, I noticed the staff were Korean, so I was excited to eat some. (The food, not the staff.)
A few things to choose from on the menu, all quite cheap!
A fast/takeaway kind of ambiance, the venue is small and narrow but the natural light and view makes you feel less claustrophobic. Lucky it wasn’t too busy.
I got the jae yook bokum (spicy pork) bento. The same dish on rice (Don) was $11, and the bento box was $11.50, so I made the most logical decision. The spicy pork bento came with salad, vegetarian sushi, tempura, wasabi, pink ginger, miso soup and one measly strand of seaweed salad. The spicy pork was delicious, a great flavor and a good amount of spice. I didn’t care much for the other sections of the bento box, as they were all quite bland and boring, and I only got one little slither of seaweed salad.
03 9529 6498
234 Chapel St
Prahran, VIC 3181
Pink Ginger / South Yarra
Pink Ginger on Chapel Street makes cheap fast Japanese food. It’s situated right in front of Fitness First on Chapel Street, South Yarra which means a lot of their customers are gorilla juiceheads, fashionistas and gay couples with dogs. I was lucky enough to see a hybrid of all three. The ambience was very old-cheap-15-metre-lane-arcade-before-you-reach-Fitness-First-esque. The staff are lovely and Japanese food is healthy, no wonder all the gym buffs come here.
They have a few different things to choose from on the menu, all reasonably cheap. I heard good things about their sushi, but I was hungry and got a bento box instead. The salad was good, the rice was good, seaweed salad was good, but the chicken was not my cup of chicken. I felt like I was served a whole baby chicken, or its mother with large breasts. Too meaty, oversized which cock blocked the teriyaki flavoring trying to come through. Packed with protein, great for the gym bunnies, but for a scrawny little guy like me, I was filled up by 4 pieces so I couldn’t eat the rest. #firstworldproblems #imnotthatscrawny
402 Chapel Street
ITO Japanese Noodle Cafe is a fresh, well presented restaurant on Bourke Street. Although being operated by chinese means they are not 100% authentic, they do an a alright job.
The venue fits approximately 80+ people, it has modern and simplistic furniture to reflect the Japanese style. A comfortable ambience, friendly service. The food took a bit longer than anticipated, and I was on my lunch break, so I had to scoff this down. That wasn’t hard as I was extremely hungry!
It was a cold day, so I felt like deep fried chicken. (So shoot me.) I ordered the karaage chicken, Japanese style deep fried chicken. This wasn’t the best karaage I have tried, but it was alright. Some pieces of the chicken were a little bit on the large side, and the salt and pepper seasoning was a bit boring.
I love the fact that this bento box included a variety of tastes, gyoza, pan fried basa, pork shogayaki, and fresh green salad, this helped with my decision making. The gyoza was a little bit soft and undercooked for my liking, but other than that it was good, the pastry was fresh and stuffing was tasty. The basa was cooked beautifully and the sauce accompanied it well. The pork shogayaki was ok, a little bit dry and salty though.
This place is good for casual dining, service isn’t amazing but they evidently try. The food is good and there is a wide variety on the menu. Not too expensive either.
ITO Japanese Noodle Cafe
122 Bourke Street
Located on Bridge Road in Richmond, is a little Sushi bar/Korean/Japanese restaurant called Tokyo House. Surprisingly good sushi, and good food too.
The set out is small, much like a regular sushi bar. The sushi is fresh, and they have great vegetarian/vegan sushi rolls available as well. Including teriyaki tofu and sweet potato. They also have brown rice sushi and a huge selection on the menu. They have the Japanese classics, bento box, teriyaki, unagi, sashima, as well as some authentic Korean, bul go gi, and bi bim bap.
If you are after some variety, the Bento boxes are great with a good selection available. Today I got the Beef Salad, with three little rice balls, and salad with Japanese dressing. This was delicious, the beef was cut short ribs with a sweet teriyaki flavour.
If you feel like some good Japanese or Korean food, head to Tokyo House and try out some dishes!
03 9429 0388
228 Bridge road
Richmond, VIC 3121
Raymen Ya is located down a secret hideaway lane down Melbournes GPO. Famous for their Ramen, which is a Japanese style noodle soup.
Postal lane provides a great environment, the busy little lane has a ‘fast paced Melbourne’ ambience. The lane provides a good selection of outdoor and indoor seating.
This was my first visit, so I decided to go with their specialty “Charsu Ramen”. Charsu is thinly sliced pork. I got it in a ‘meal’ which included pan fried gyoza and green tea (real green tea, not the crappy stuff). The gyoza was the perfect little entree. Crisp and tasty.
The ramen had flavour, but a little bit salty for my taste. I also would have preferred my egg to be soft boiled, but it was hard boiled. That’s me being forking picky though, I enjoyed the meal/experience. I was with great company (Nick), and ramen is the perfect meal on a rainy/cold day. The bento boxes also looked amazing, perhaps that’s what i’ll try on my next visit!
03 9654 5838
25G Melbourne GPO 350 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Don Don is the fastest Japanese takeaway available in Melbourne. It is located next to Melbourne Central on Swanston Street and is known to serve super fast Japanese food at a very low price. With generous servings, Don Don won’t leave your wallet, or your stomach empty.
Perfect place for a quick lunch. Not a great deal of seating or a spectacular environment, however the have a couple of tables on the street which is great for people watching on a sunny day. The service is fast, you can expect to get your Bento Box or Hot Bowl Meal faster than you can say antidisestablishmentarianism, and with prices below $9 for every meal, you have no excuse to go hungry.
I guess now it comes to the important part, the food. It’s cheap and not nasty. It wouldn’t be my first choice for Japanese food but if you are running tight for time and low on cash, this place is great. Fairly tasty, and a lot healthier than your average fast food. My Bento box included Teriyaki Chicken and Beef Sukiyaki, both tasty… ish.
Quick but not fancy, Don Don has a lot of business as they offer a healthier and convenient alternative to fast food.
03 9662 3377
321 Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
My craving for Japanese food led me down to the Causeway off Bourke Street today. I end up at Sushi Monger, one of the busiest lunch spots in the CBD. (There was a queue outside for Sushi Monger, while an empty and open Japanese restaurant (Tokio) awaited for customers next door.)The menu was very affordable, $5 for 2 Sushi Rolls & Miso Soup. Very tight seating, small restaurant but that’s expected in Melbourne Lane-ways.
I ordered the Teriyaki Sushi Roll for $2, which didn’t really look that appetizing but was surprisingly tasty. I also ordered the Spicy Oyako Don for $8.90. This is chicken and egg with a spicy sauce on rice. A tasty cheap Japanese meal.
All in all I give my experience at Sushi Monger a 6/10
Shop 17 - The Causeway
309-325 Bourke Street