There is a reason why no night of Thai food is complete without ordering a glorious plate of Pad Thai; it is an undeniable crowd pleaser. Stir-fried rice noodles are flavoured with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, chilli, lime and a generous sprinkle of peanuts. Throw in some egg, tofu, and other proteins of choice and you have a noodle dish you can’t help but continuously come back to.
Thai street food is among the most intriguing and flavoursome the world over, and Melbourne has plenty of hot spots that would do the Thai’s proud. Here is where to pick up Melbourne’s most perfect pad thai.
Asian inspired street food is the name of the game at Tom Phat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pad thai noodles here come with prawns, peanuts, free-range egg, chives and bean shoots, topped with herbs and red chili for an extra kick. Once dinner has concluded, jump next door to their bar, Bah Phat for refreshing cocktails and continuous good times.
If you like generous portions for a darn good price, as well as reliably delicious Thai food, Thaila Thai in Brunswick East is the way to go. There are many protein options for their pad thai, including chicken (kai), beef (nuer), pork (mue), fish (pla), or squid (pla muek) all with a healthy dollop of tamarind sauce. If you happen to be dining in, Thalia Thai is great for accommodating large groups, and is BYO for wine.
Son In Law
Straddling the line between traditional and creative, Son In Law is a tongue-in-cheek taste sensation. Under ‘Mum’s Classic Recipes’ you’ll find their traditional pad thai, to be served with either chicken or prawns – we can’t get enough of the prawns. The menu is designed for sharing, and we recommend getting in for happy hour, which is 5.30pm-7pm every day and does cocktails for $8. Yes, you heard us correctly.
This playful Bridge Road establishment provides an oasis of a back courtyard, excellent happy hour offerings, and some mean Thai cuisine. The salted chicken pad thai is served with preserved turnip rice noodles, egg and peanuts. On Mondays LadyBoy does a meal deal of a hawker tasting plate and pad thai for $26 - now that’s what we call getting your week off to a good start.
This inner city beer hall and iconic Melbourne gem is home to some excellent Thai food. Pad thai is easily one of their most popular dishes and the amount of pad thai Cookie turns over a night is staggering; if that’s not a sign of success, we’re not sure what is. Their recipe sticks to tradition with rice noodles, egg, bean curd and sprouts, and is best enjoyed amongst friends alongside one of their many beers.
If you feel like some of Melbourne’s fanciest Thai, Longrain is where it’s at. It may seem a little unadventurous to order something as common as pad thai when you’re dining at Longrain, but trust us, you won’t regret it. The pad thai here includes peanuts, bean sprouts, lime, and dried chilli for a little extra zing. Add the double whammy bonus of a beautiful fit out and wonderful service, and you have yourselves a winner.
As the name suggests, BangPop’s pad thai is quite the taste explosion. Thai stir fried noodles in a traditional tamarind sauce comes with tofu, garlic, chives, shrimp, bean sprouts, fresh chilli and peanuts, and the meaty options include chicken or prawn. All ingredients are sourced seasonally and locally, except for a few bits and pieces that have been imported from Thailand to recreate an authentic experience.
Village People Hawker Food Hall
This South East Asian hawker-style market meets beer hall is one of the many excellent levels in the relatively new 127 Brunswick St. All the usual suspects are present, with rice noodles, tofu, egg, peanuts and bean sprouts - but it’s the addition of the juicy king prawns that we’re so excited about. In even better news, you can order food from Village People and enjoy it on their rooftop terrace bar, taking in beautiful views of the city.
Abbotsford’s Thai establishment is an absolute winner on so many levels, with a wonderful dining space, friendly service, and most importantly, a killer menu. The pad thai here is served with either chicken or prawn, sprinkled with peanuts, with bean shoots and a lemon wedge off to the side to add at your leisure. We also definitely recommend sticking around for dessert - their layered crepe cakes are truly something else.
For the purists out there, Thornbury’s Som Tam sticks close to tradition and the results are brilliant. Jantaburee rice stick noodles are combined with prawns palm sugar, tamarind, bean curd, chives, bean sprouts and peanuts for the perfect flavour collision. This dish, like most Thai food, goes down perfectly with a Chang beer - and there are plenty gluten free and vegetarian friendly options available for those who need it.
Want more Thai? Here is our list of Melbourne's best Thai food.
Photo credit: Son In Law Facebook