The topic of authentic cuisine has always been a hot one. After all, what counts as authentic to one person can differ from that of another. However, for former Masterchef YoYo Yang and hobbyist baker Chelsea Chum, any Asian dish is authentic as long as it takes some aspect from the culture, tradition, or region it hails from. Growing up as Chinese-Australians, they find themselves in between two different cultures, which is why they arrived at that conclusion.
On that note, let’s take a closer look at some of the most authentic Asian cuisine restaurants in Melbourne:
Located in the heart of Melbourne CBD, Chin Chin is a relaxed and modern restaurant serving South East Asian food. Their menu consists of dishes like Prawn Noodles and Caramelised Pork but they also offer many types of fried rice. Egg Fried Rice and Green Curry Fried Rice are among the different ones they have, and they use the same ingredients as the region they originated from. Egg Fried Rice is common in most South East Asian cuisines and it includes egg (of course), carrots, and other vegetables. Originating from Thailand, Green Curry Fried Rice uses green curry paste.
Another great thing about these fried rice is how they can be replicated at home using a rice cooker and a small wok. After your rice is cooked, sauté it with your chosen ingredients (like carrots, scrambled egg, and soy sauce) in the wok.
Son in Law
Son in Law takes on Thai cuisine in a fun and modern way. Some of their popular traditional dishes include Pad Thai and Tom Yum Soup but they also have an exciting take on ‘baos’ or steamed buns that originated from China. They serve baos in the shape of different movie and cartoon characters like Doraemon and Winnie the Pooh instead of the traditional white ones. Finally, they’re run by Thai people, only adding to their authenticity despite being a modern restaurant.
The famous Pad Thai is what attracts their regulars but did you know that you can also make this at home? By using a wok or even a pan, you can achieve an authentic Pad Thai—as long as you use similar ingredients like rice noodles, tamarind sauce, and dried shrimp.
Specialising in Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine, Hochi Mama is the go-to for aromatic dishes. Don’t be fooled by their bar-like interior because aside from Vietnamese Espresso Martinis and Lycheezys, they serve several Asian dishes that have customers coming back. Their specialties include Whole Flounder and Pork and Prawn Dumplings. Their modern take on the dumplings comes in the form of the side salad and spicey soy it’s served with, all while keeping the dumplings more traditional and authentic.
If you’re craving pork and prawn dumplings, you can whip up your own by mixing minced pork, prawns, ginger, and other ingredients and stuffing them in dumpling wrappers. Then, just steam them for 6-10 minutes in a steaming basket or on a wire rack over boiling water.
Tandoori Times Yarraville
On Anderson Street, the aroma of slow-cooked goat and curry will lead you to Tandoori Times Yarraville. They serve Indian food including Seekh Kebab, Punjabi Butter Chicken, and the ever-famous Delhi’s Goat Masala Curry. Curry dishes have been popular because of their unique flavours and the fact that they can be eaten with rice or Naan (bread). For Tandoori Times, they keep Delhi’s Goat Masala Curry authentic by using the traditional spice mixture (called ‘masala’) in this dish.
If you’re ever craving curry at home, you can make it by buying ‘garam masala’ (Indian spices) in the grocery. Then, use an iron skillet in cooking to keep it as authentic as possible. You can even serve it straight on the skillet!
If you’re craving authentic Asian food, just stroll through the streets of Melbourne with these restaurants in mind. However, remember that you can also make them at home with the same ingredients and similar cooking methods!