Saturday, 25 August 2007

Pa Wan

What do you get when you put a Porsche engine into a Mini? A flying piece of sheet metal. Pump drugs into a Chinese female swimmer? A gold medal at the Olympics and some peculiar “that’s NQR” stares. What do these have in common with Pa Wan? They are all turbo charged by something beneath their unassuming exteriors. Situated in “little Thailand” Springvale, it’s a modest shop front but demands something grander to match the magic coming out of the kitchen.

Attempting to keep it Ali G real, it’s shown through the minimalist use of white powder. Refreshing as a Powerade after a hard workout, the green papaya salad with peanut has a mild sour tang with chilli hints. Add some crispy fish skin, lightly seasoned, coated and deep fried makes another salad of Yum Nhn Plar Grob. Sai Oung, a northern Thai style curried sausage consisting of pork, coriander and lime has a dry, almost flaky meat texture which doesn’t set my world on fire. Respite from the burning of the chillis, the Pad Thai is a welcomed selection. Done differently, an egg chiffon covers the stir fried rice noodles, bean shoots and beef, the usual garnishing of peanuts on the side and is remarkably light tasting unlike many of its more Westernised versions. It’s good, very good. Getting me to the Earth’s ozone layer, a simply stir fried chilli and Thai basil pork while blasting the rest of the way to the moon by Gang Kee Lek, an interesting lumpy red curry, almost rendang in texture, made slightly bitter by cassia flower.

Most items here will be a major diversion from the normal Thai you’re used to. Your sense of adventure will be rewarded, not with extra muscles or definition to your biceps, but a broadened sense of appreciation of what Thailand has to offer.

3 / 5 yums!


Where? Shop 4, 1-3 St Johns Avenue, Springvale

What? Average $10

Left to Right : Som Tom Thai (green papaya salad with peanut), Sai Oung, Yum Nhun Plar Grob (Crispy skin fish salad), Grapow Rard Khoa (Stired Fried Pork with chilli and Thai basil), Gang Kee Lek (red curry with cassia flower), Pad Thai (fried noodles with peanut)

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