Patong, on Phuket island in Thailand, has suffered a fairly hard slap from the hand of tourism. Those that have been there will attest that it’s not really Thai, but some hybrid of fat Russians, mail order brides, sunburned Brits, drunken Australian teenagers and soggy noodles (the latter two with no connection).
On the first day of our hedonistic self directed tour of Phuket, before the novelty of drinking during the day had worn off, we found this little strip mall, down an alleyway off the street with all the bars. We called it ‘bar street’, the street where I discovered the intense alcohol content of deliciously potent Chang Beer. 6.7% is a lot. You’re going to want to soak that up.
It was, obviously, the reproduction Dutch paintings (mixed with Mickey Mouse plastic tablecloths) that sucked us in. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant.
This plate of noodles made the 24 hours spent in Patong worthwhile. Silky, wide rice noodles, fat fresh prawns, the kick of lime and crunch of peanut wrapped in the smokey hint of an overused wok. For $1.75AUD I thought I might get food poisoning. I didn’t.
Yo Yo Sushi
With the general standard of Japanese food in South Melbourne shoe-scrapingly low, Yo Yo Sushi does a roaring trade. The sushi is a little sweet to my taste, but the pre-packed selections are varied and reasonably priced, making sushi or sashimi a great grab-and-run option. A hot menu is cooked to order, crossing the spectrum of basic Japanese street food, tasty ramen, udon and rice based dished abound. Takeaway only.
Stall number 88
South Melbourne Market Dim Sims
Oh my, many a hangover has been cured by these babies in the last 60 years. South Melbourne wouldn’t be the same without them, as the often 20 (or more) deep line will attest. Steamed or fried, these dim sims are the best ride you’ll get all day. At $1.80 a pop and filled to bursting with mystery meat, load up on soy or Sriracha and these lumps of joy will wipe away your transgressions from the night before. Take away only.
Stall number 91
0418 334 202
Open market hours – Wed 8-4pm, Friday 8-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 8-4pm
On market days plump old Turkish ladies run the show at the gözleme stall outside Turkish restaurant Kőy, hand-rolling and filling pastry with cheese and spinach; Turkish spiced mince and mushroom, onion, capsicum and dill ($8.50-$10). Piping hot and fresh off the grill it’s lunch all by itself – but the addition of self serve yoghurt and lemon wouldn’t go astray. Eat in or takeaway.
Stall number 96
Linx BBQ Yum Cha
I’m all for shops that hang meat in the windows – but when they sell yum cha and duck soup and pork buns I’m a REALLY big fan. The cheapest duck in town (actually, pretty much the only duck in town…) is an $8.50 soup, delicious broth with bok choy and noodles thrown in as companions. Avoid the bain-marie and order from the above-counter menu, then stock up from the self-serve freezer with frozen dumplings to take home – they’re some of the best from the market. Eat in or take-away.
Stall number 92-93
Closed Mondays, 10am until 5pm other days
Another newcomer, these guys run three bathtub sized paella pans on rotation in front of their sit-down restaurant, providing steaming hot dishes of rice stained yellow with saffron and fragrant with spices. At $12.50 a pop it’s a generous serve, but it would be nice to see more chicken, calamari and mussels per plate. Eat in or take-away.
Stall number 94-95
Open for lunch Wednesday through Sunday (big pan paella served 11am – 3pm), dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings only
Min Lokal. Sweedish for My Local, apparently. Although the guy that owns it is a Kiwi. Once upon a time this building housed a milk bar, then (randomly) a singles dating service, then a vegetarian cafe, THEN a bakery, and now Min Local – a funky cafe-cum-brunchy type spot that I happen to like very much. It’s kind of in Fitzroy and kind of in Collingwood. It depends where you draw the line.
I eat here at least once a week. I almost always order the Dooba eggs (pictured above). Dooba eggs are baked eggs with North African spiced pumpkin and minced beef ($16). To be honest, we could skip the eggs and I’d be satisfied with mashed pumpkin and minced beef on toast for breakfast.
What do you need to know? It’s open seven days a week and serves breakfast things and lunch things. Also serves Supreme coffee and there is beer and wine. Expect to get cosy – it’s two massive communal tables up front and one in a side room – seating about 20-30 really but the turnover is good. A cute (yet slim) courtyard out the back provides the only smaller tables.
There are newspapers and other things to read too. I personally prefer Min Lokal when it’s quiet – more space to stretch out and not having to sit close up next to strangers. Inspiration for taking Monday’s off work and lolling around at Min Lokal writing blog posts. Just maybe.
422 George Street Fitzroy
(03) 9417 0333
Sun 9am – 4pm