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

iSpicy 2

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iSpicy is a Thai restaurant located on Victoria Street, Richmond. This particular restaurant is called iSpicy 2 because there is another one located on Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn. As the name suggests, it specialises in spicier Thai dishes which I love.  There are quite a few Thai restaurants around Richmond, and in particular, Victoria Street which is great because I really can’t get enough of Thai food.

I ordered the Spicy stir fry crispy chicken with sweet basil, fresh chili and green beans on rice which was marvellously spicy. It packs a lot of heat. It’s definitely not to everyone’s tastes but the crispy chicken was soft and light in texture but also crispy. Really nice.

It was complemented by the spicy beans and chilli. It’s hard to describe the taste, it is mostly spicy but has a bit of salt and sweetness to it so that the chilli isn’t too over powering.

Their other dishes look just as lovely and again lives up to its name of iSpicy. Compared with Ying Thai, I still prefer Ying Thai it has more subtle flavours but definitely more complex and appealing. You’ll find a decent meal here, but probably just not for everyone.

I Spicy 2 on Urbanspoon

iSpicy 2 (Menu)

80 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121

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

Pho Hung Vuong

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Pho Hung Vuong has been around ever since I can remember.  Located in Springvale, the South East’s bustling Vietnamese community, has one of the most popular Vietnamese restaurants in Victoria. Not only is it always packed full of people, but is well known for its delicious and authentic Pho. It used to have a few other restaurants, one on Victoria Street, Richmond, I think it’s called Pho Hung Vuong 2 (Original!) but I’m not too sure if there are owned by the same people.

Pho Hung Vuong doesn’t go out of its way to impress you, the place looks like it hasn’t been maintained since the shopping centre opened way back when. Although it’s not the most pleasant experience, the food does more than make up for it.

Everybody that visits Pho Hung Vuong comes for their famous Pho. In three different sizes, like most Pho eateries, small, medium and large, with your choice of chicken, beef, mixed or even with added sausage. There are quite a few other ingredients you can add to your order but the above mentioned ones are the most popular.

What makes their Pho so good is the soup. It is packed full of flavour, I don’t know if it’s also packed full of MSG (Probably) but it is one of the best tasting soups around so it’s hard to make a fuss about it. The chicken/beef are perfectly cooked, with the beef gently cooking in the hot soup while you eat. It’s tender and delicious, what more could you ask for.

Of course they just don’t serve Pho, as it is a Vietnamese restaurant you can get the Fried Pork/Chicken dishes with Vietnamese salad/vegetables and rice, and all the other standards you would normally find in a Vietnamese eatery. My lack of discussion over their other food isn’t meant to be an indication of the quality of their other dishes. It’s by all means quite good. It’s just when you come to Pho Hung Vuong, you definitely come for the Pho.

You really would be hard pressed to find a better Pho restaurant in Victoria.

Pho Hung Vuong on Urbanspoon

Pho Hung Vuong 

Shop 2 / 15 Balmoral Avenue
Springvale VIC 3171

03 9558 5147

Van Mai

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Van Mai is another popular Vietnamese eatery along the bustling Victoria Street, Richmond. In my attempt to seek out and try many of the Vietnamese Restaurants in Richmond, Van Mai on Urbanspoon seemed like a very popular place to try. They have a wide selection of dishes to choose from but of course, I had to choose my favourite Vietnamese dish  (or as close to).

I love Crispy Chicken with Tomato Rice at Walrus (Springvale) and so my adventure to try out a dish that matches or even possibly tops that dish begins. Van Mai doesn’t have Crispy Chicken withTomato Rice but they do have Diced Pepper Beef with Tomato Rice dish.

I absolutely loved the flavour of this dish. The beef was packed full of flavour, it was slightly sweet, nicely marinated and had a pleasant pepper taste that didn’t overwhelm the natural beef flavour.  One little con was that it was a tad too salty but eaten with the fresh lettuce, tomato and cucumber it balanced things out.

I pretty much only order Crispy Chicken with Tomato Rice because of the Tomato Rice. At Walrus it’s a vibrant red colour with stir fried with egg, at Van Mai it’s slightly darker and oilier.  However, the taste is almost identical. Again, my only complaint is that it’s a tad too oily and I was wiping my mouth with a napkin constantly.

Other than the oiliness, the food they serve is delicious. Would definitely come back to try their other dishes.

Van Mai on Urbanspoon

Van Mai

372 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