By Korea Richmond

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By Korea on the bustling Victoria St may get overlooked by many passing by but it certainly is a pleasant and enjoyable dining experience. From the outside of By Korea, you might not even know it’s open but don’t fret it is open for Lunch and Dinner. The decor inside is wonderful, fusing the traditional Korean with industrial style.

By Korea offers most of the usual Korean staples such as stone pot soups, Bibimbap, and of course BBQ. Being a fan of the Korean Spicy Seafood Tofu Soup served in Stone Hot Pot with Rice I had to order it here.

The soup here is definitely spicy and I love it, and with the addition of fresh seafood (shrimp, clams) and a generous offering of soft tofu it is a treat to eat. My only concern is the graininess of the clams itself but that didn’t detract too much from the flavour of the soup.

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The Sweet Chilli Fried Chicken is also another tasty delight. Korean food does lean towards being sweet more often than not, and this doesn’t stray too far from the norm. Wonderfully crisp, with added sweetness and topped with a sunny side egg.

IMG_0510The Beef Bulgogi is another winner and very generous with their servings. The Beef is tender and juicy with both sweetness and spiciness, served with sunny side egg, salad and Kimchi.

Impressions

I’m uncertain why By Korea doesn’t have the same popularity as another Korean restaurant only minutes down the road (Seoul Soul), even though I find the food to be better for value and tastier here. Plus, for Lunch you receive tea and a free soft drink as a bonus. I do recommend giving By Korea a try, it definitely shines amongst the plethora of eateries on Victoria St, Richmond.

 

By Korea on Urbanspoon

By Korea

5/240 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121

Jinda Thai

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Jinda Thai just off Victoria Street, and close to North Richmond Station is a fantastic Thai restaurant that has the stamp of approval from my Thai friends. The place has a mix of olden day style but still appears refreshingly modern, directly targeting the youthful demographic.

I was pre-warned that the food portions here are a tad smaller than your other Thai eateries. You can definitely see the difference with Ying Thai only a couple minutes walk away but the food here is definitely tasty and you’ll be wanting to come back here again.

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Jinda Thai’s Pad Thai amazingly tasty. The noodles stir fried well, and has all the ingredients to make a great Pad Thai, plus they add chopped peanuts that give it a warm roasted nutty aroma and flavour. Stir fried with prawns, and chicken it still makes for a very satisfying meal and the chilli hit (not too hot) is a perfect combination. The seemingly very fresh bean sprouts is my arch nemesis as I prefer cooked and not blanched bean sprouts but it actually adds to the dish with it’s crunchy and crispy texture.

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The Rice with stir fried Seafood and Basil is another tasty dish. The basil flavour isn’t too overpowering but it’s gentle fragrance seeps through the entire dish. Aromatic and with basil you really can’t go wrong here.

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My golly Jinda Thai’s Pad Kee Mao is hot. Extreme! Stir fried rice noodles with a few basil leaves and chicken is although the spiciest meal I’ve ever had, still very tasty and leaves you wanting more (and more water). Love the flavour of the Pad Kee Mao, the balance of fish sauce, soy sauce, chili and basil work extremely well together. Ying Thai’s Pad Kee Mao is larger in quantity but also tasty, but here I find the balance of flavours more appetizing but nothing too different to comment more on.

Impressions

Serving size is smaller here and at similar prices to other Thai restaurants and that’s the only con I find. The food is ridiculously tasty and for me, if the food is great, sometimes smaller portions is just a small compromise. Jinda Thai is most definitely worth a visit.

Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Jinda Thai
1-7 Ferguson St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

Thanh Phong

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 Thanh Phong on Victoria Street is one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in Richmond. It’s one of the more cleaner venues around these parts. They must have renovated maybe in the past couple of years or so. During lunchtime weekdays, I wouldn’t call this place busy but it has a decent following. I wouldn’t say the food here sets it apart from the other Vietnamese eateries in anyway. It serves mostly the same cuisine you’d find elsewhere.

Pictured above, is their Cambodian Dry Noodle Soup (Alt: Hu Tieu Nam Vang), it comes with this crispy pastry which I believe is filled with some sort of vegetable, along with warm seasoned noodles with bean shoots, chicken, celery and fried and spring onions and coriander as their garnishes. It is served with soup with seafood and spring onions and coriander on top. Let’s start with the soup, it’s your very typical Vietnamese soup. Seasoned well, so it is certainly bursting with flavour and the prawn, fish ball and calamari. The seafood is a pleasant surprise and although tough calamari isn’t usually my thing, it complements the noodles well.

The pastry is nice and crunchy, but with enough bite to it (it has some chewiness to it). I really did enjoy the dressing or seasoning they add to the noodles but I can’t really put my finger on what they add to it. Probably a bit of soy,  and it’s has a tongue tingling spiciness to it. It’s a very crunchy dish overall because of the celery, pastry and bean sprouts. Quite a lovely, tasty and fresh dish.

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Impressions

Their Broken Rice with Egg and Pate, is a tad disappointing though. Clumpy wet rice isn’t at all appetising. Although Thanh Phong’s Spicy Beef Noodle Soup is both spicy and delicious. Similar to Pho, but a red tinged colour and wonderfully beefy in taste.

Thanh Phong, probably isn’t for everyone. There are a few dishes you could probably find better places to order like Pho (I Love Pho) but their Cambodian noodles are the best I’ve had on Victoria Street. It is just sifting through their menu to find the gems, like you may do with many other restaurants.

Not my first place I think of when I want Vietnamese but not so far down on my list. I’d say give it a go.

Thanh Phong on Urbanspoon

Thanh Phong

240 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121

 

Seoul Soul

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Seoul Soul, can easily be missed by passers-by. It is this extremely tiny restaurant, almost hidden on the always populated Victoria Street, Richmond, near The Hive Shopping Centre. In between The Hive SC entrance and a corner cafe, you’ll find this little gem. Only housing less than 20 people, it is always popular inside and waiting around lunchtime is common.

As you may have guessed from the name, Seoul Soul serve Korean cuisine from their most commonly known dishes such as Bulgogi, but also the more obscure and spicy dishes. Typically, they also do BBQ/grills so it really caters for most.

I’ve previously had the Spicy Tofu bulgogi and that was a delight to eat. It comes with stir fried tofu with a spicy sauce, salad and oddly enough a slice of orange. You’ll find this is common for most of the bulgogi’s served. The spiciness of the sauce is fantastic but isn’t too spicy, just enough to give the always bland tofu some flavour and kick.

The salad is very similar to the Japanese salad dressing you can buy in Asian supermarkets, it has that slightly sesame taste to it. I really do love this dressing so it’s always appetising.

You might be saying, Denny, what is that delicious dish you ordered that is pictured. Well, my friends, this is their Special Stone Pot Bibimbap. It comes super sizzling hot and crackles with delight as it’s served. It’s primarily a vegetarian dish with the bean sprouts, carrots, beans and capsicum. There are a couple of stone pot bibimbaps, prawn and beef. I’m uncertain if there was a stone pot vegie bibimbap but it doesn’t seem out of plausibility.

I ordered the beef, which comes with minced beef and cannot currently be seen as it sits underneath that sunny side up egg. The yolk that oozes out just binds everything together. It is simply a refreshing and satisfying meal.

Impressions 

Seoul Soul is quite a treat if you can get a table. Well presented food but leaning on the pricier side of things but it’s okay here because the  food here is tasty and doesn’t disappoint.

Seoul Soul on Urbanspoon

Seoul Soul
323 Victoria St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

Ying Thai

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Ying Thai is the first location of this popular Thai restaurant. Ying Thai 2 is located in Carlton and is frequently visited by Melbourne Uni students and locals. The Richmond venue doesn’t appear to be as popular around lunch weekdays but it doesn’t indicate quality whatsoever.

The dish pictured above was the Chicken Flat Rice Noodle with Chilli and Basil, otherwise known as Pud Kee Mow. What I liked about this dish was that it was spicy, and a really decent hit of chilli at that. It might be too spicy for some, but it just hits the spot for me.

The Pud Kee Mow, you can choose your protein of choice from Chicken, Beef, Pork or Vegetable, like many of their dishes actually. I’ve never actually had this before but I really did like the flavour, the spiciness, a bit of soy that adds sweetness and a hint of salt and the basil. You can’t forget the fragrant basil.

They add carrots, capsicum, broccoli and cabbage if memory serves me correctly. I liked the abundance of vegetables no matter how oily this stir fried noodles dish may be.  The chicken was on the tougher side, but I wouldn’t call it very overcooked. I think with stir fry it’s very difficult to cook well, so it was acceptable for me.

The Thai Fried Rice is also excellent, and very filling too. So tasty that I even forgot to take a picture. Next time.

Impressions

Ying Thai serves as tasty Thai food. I may not know what authentic Thai food is but I know what my tastebuds say, and they say it’s pretty darn good. If you’re ever near the corner of Hoddle Street and Victoria Street, give it a go. Just may need to be a bit patient, sometimes it takes 10 minutes or more for food to arrive.

Ying Thai on Urbanspoon

Ying Thai (Menu)
235 Victoria St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

Three Bags Full

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 I heard about Three Bags Full from a colleague and since it was near where we worked we decided to give it a try. I’m not big on brunch, it’s basically just breakfast late or lunch early and none of those sounds overly enticing to me. Cafe food on the other hand is something I’m quite fond of, it’s not too expensive nor heavy but just enough to satisfy the stomach.

Three Bags Full is quite a large place, I was really surprised at how large the space was and it was very busy. I guess people in Richmond really like their brunch and coffee.

I ordered one of their specials which was a Beef Burger with tasty cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles with wedges and tomato relish.

It is similar to the Steak Sandwich on the menu but you get a couple of wedges too. As a burger, I did really enjoy it apart from the pickled red onions. I found these to be too sour for my liking. The beef was cooked just right, still a bit red inside so definitely not overcooked and the cheese lent itself. What I mean by that is, sometimes cheese can be almost tasteless and I find that most with hard cheeses. There is very little fragrance around them, but this had a good cheese taste so I’m happy about that.

I had to eat the burger using a knife and fork (shock and horror) because it was too large to eat by hands. The aioli they dress the salad with gave it a nice mayonnaise like taste to it and overall I couldn’t be happier.

The wedges with the tomato relish was decent enough, I found they weren’t overly crispy but I did prefer them to be a tad more crisp. The tomato relish on the other hand I have no real opinion on, it was slightly sour but I felt lacked the tomato flavour. It was neither here no there.

Impressions

You can see why people come to dine here. For people just wanting to relax, chill and drink a cup of coffee this is the place. However, if you want some satisfying meals, Three Bags Full, luckily does that too.

Three Bags Full on Urbanspoon

Three Bags Full

60 Nicholson St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

Loi Loi (Take-away)

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Loi Loi has become one of my favourite Chinese-Vietnamese eateries on Victoria Street. They serve a wide variety of rice, fried noodle, noodle soup dishes and main meals for dinner even with a mix of Asian inspired dishes that probably isn’t authentic but still offerings something different.

During lunch time, if you eat in or take away as I did this time, they provide complementary sweet corn soup which is a nice starter or finisher to your meal. Service tends to be pretty snappy too even during peak time, but of course, if the food isn’t good why bother? Luckily, the food in general does make you want to go back again.

I ordered the Thai Fried Noodles, and it uses the bee hoon noodles stir fried in a sweet, spicy and salty flavour, coating the noodles just gently. The flavour is a departure to what I usually eat, but nonetheless it is a satisfying dish. With the fish balls, prawns as your main protein, it complements the noodles well. The fried dried onions as a garnish definitely add both texture and a toasty flavour to the dish. You also get the pleasant surprise of chopped peanuts which again just come together so beautifully. I really can’t fault the dish, Loi Loi’s dishes are generous in size, but maybe just one criticism is that its a bit oily. If it tasted this good as a take-away dish, I can’t imagine how much better it would have been fresh from the wok.

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As you would, when you go to a Vietnamese restaurant is to order their Crispy Chicken on Rice. As this was a take-away dish, the chicken wasn’t as crispy, sadly. The chicken was also a tad dry,  but with the sweet chilli sauce, it makes a perfect combination. I usually prefer the Crispy Chicken and Tomato Rice but I don’t think Loi Loi has that as an option. This dish doesn’t meet the high standards of some of the Springvale restaurants but I think it’s a decent offering. Probably much better if it was served hot and crispy.

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As mentioned before, you get a nice Sweet Corn Soup with your meal if you order for lunch. It doesn’t look as appealing here, but it’s tasty and lives up to its name. You probably can find this in many Chinese Food Court eateries, and it’s pretty much the same everywhere. I don’t think you can make a bad Sweet Corn Soup. All in all, nothing too flashy but it’s lovely of Loi Loi to serve this to customers free of charge.

Impressions

Loi Loi doesn’t stray too far away from its Chinese-Vietnamese roots, but still has a few other South-East Asian dishes for added variety. Food is generally above average, and depending on the dish, can be fantastic. Really, if you’re in Richmond, wanting a good meal, Loi Loi is the place to go.

Loi Loi on Urbanspoon

Loi Loi

364 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121

Vinh Vinh

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Vinh Vinh is located on the bustling Victoria Street serving, of course, Vietnamese food. Their lunch menu has a good selection of dishes for a decent price. It doesn’t appear to be a very popular restaurant, but it does have a spacious dining area.

The people are mostly friendly, and service is quite good. I was actually surprised at how fast my order came since I just checked my phone for a few minutes and there it was!

I believe their lunch menu is around $8, but don’t take my word for it, and it comes with complementary soup to boot.

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I ordered the Crispy Chicken with Rice dish, usually when I go to Walrus in Springvale or really many other Vietnamese restaurants, they offer Tomato Rice with their Crispy Chicken. I don’t believe they do offer a Tomato Rice version, but they should.

I found their chicken to be overly dry, but crispy so I guess that’s a plus. So it definitely needed the sweet chilli sauce or to eat the chicken and rice with the soup to keep everything slightly moist.

The chicken had nice flavour but since it was overcooked, any positives were offset by the centrepiece of the dish.

The vegetables were more than acceptable, and added the fresh component to the dish which was welcoming and the complementary soup also had nice bold flavours to it. The soup with that sprinkling of spring onion, yep, that’s the good stuff.

Overall my dining experience was acceptable. I possibly could have chosen the bad dish or it was an off day, but for me, that one experience wasn’t a particular positive one. Would I go there again? Yes. Just to try their other dishes out even though this one wasn’t too good. If I was served something like this again,  there are plenty of other eateries to try instead.

Vinh Vinh on Urbanspoon

Vinh Vinh

387 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121

I Love Pho 264

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I Love Pho is located in the heart of the Richmond-Vietnamese community. On Victoria St, I Love Pho is a popular destination to order some delicious Pho. It appears it only does indeed serve Pho, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

At I Love Pho, there are many different types of ingredients you can add to your Pho. I ordered the Chicken and Beef Combination, but you can order tofu and vegies, a special beef combination with extras or simply just beef or chicken. All for a considerably decent price range. You can check out the menu here

During lunch hours, the service appears average at best, though, it depends on how you look at it. You order and get served very quickly, but it’s mostly a rushed environment to get as many people in and out as they can.

Onto the Pho that I did try, the beef was quite nice and seasoned and still slightly rare which makes it all the better, as the very popular restaurant in Springvale well known for their Pho has chewy and tough beef. The chicken was also soft and moist and not dry at all so it was a pleasant surprise.

The soup is what I guess most people enjoy, and I Love Pho’s soup is very good. It has a great flavour to it, but it isn’t too strong. For some it may be slightly ‘watery’ but I enjoyed it and after finishing my Pho (almost finishing anyway), I was extremely full and satisfied.

I Love Pho knows what it does best, it hardly needs to change a thing as people arrive in droves. You can see why it is so popular on Victoria St, and a favourite of many as well.

I Love Pho 264 on Urbanspoon

I Love Pho

264 Victoria St
Richmond, VIC 3121

(03) 9427 7749