Pinto Thai Food

231 Exhibition St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

It’s really nice to see Thai food come into its own in Melbourne. Not only does good Thai food abound, restaurants dedicated to regional specialties have begun popping up as well. In the case of Pinto Thai Food, the focus is on boat noodles, with a handful of other market favourites thrown in. It’s simple, tasty, and (perhaps the biggest compliment of them all) brings to mind some of the eats I had when I was in Thailand.

Rating: 12.5/20 – lil’ taste of thailand.
Must-order: boat noodles, duh.

Pork Combination with Flat Rice Noodles ($18.9)

The boat noodles here may not be served in dozens of tiny bowls consisting of a couple bites each, but other than that, it’s pretty traditional. You have your choice of noodle, protein (including plenty of secondary cuts and offal), and whether to have it dry or in soup. But if you ask me, the Pork Combination with Flat Rice Noodles ($18.9) is the way to go.

Pork Combination with Flat Rice Noodles ($18.9)

For the uninitiated, the murky soup may be mega intimidating, but not to worry – the colour is due to the ground up spices, the melange of five spice, star anise, and cinnamon providing a rich, warm base for the chunky pieces of meat and offal. Oh and, you can’t forget the pigs blood – it’s what adds that special earthy richness to the broth.

Beef Mince Pad Krapow ($16.9)

To complement the noodles is a variety of rice dishes, and they all come under the genre of being bold yet comforting. I love a good Thai porridge, but I couldn’t get past the nostalgia of Beef Mince Pad Krapow ($16.9), the aromatic, spicy mince crisped up in the wok, and served with a gooey fried egg over rice. It’s an absolute classic for a reason.

Fried Pork Roll ($10.9)

Rounding out the meal is a selection of street snacks and traditional drinks. I couldn’t bring myself to order the fried pork fat, but the Fried Pork Roll ($10.9) was much more than just a consolation prize. The slices of meat were pan-fried to a golden crisp, then served with a sticky sweet chilli sauce drizzled over the top. And this is no potato wedge sweet chilli sauce – this stuff is smoky and caramelised, with a determined wallop of heat that just dares you to try and overlook it.

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