Ying Thai, CarltonYing Thai is a Thai restaurant on Lygon St close to Queensberry St, close to Freddo's Gelati and a number of Thai/ Malaysian restaurants. As expected for an Asian restaurant, the service wasn't that great. We arrived at the same time as another table of two, and our menus were just sort of tossed onto our table at the same time the staff gave the other table theirs. We also had a wobbly table, which was quite annoying as every time either me or my friend leaned on it, it tilted to that side.
Food wise though, there's a good range noodle and rice dishes to choose from, as well as a lunch menu that is cheaper than the dinner menu. The great thing about Ying Thai is that most dishes allow you to choose if you want it with pork, chicken, beef, vegetable, prawns or seafood, depending on what you feel like. Each different element adds and completes the base dish in different ways, so there's bound to be something for everyone. The dishes we ordered were the thai green curry with chicken ($9.90) and the chicken pad thai ($15.90). My friend had actually also wanted to order one of the colourful traditional thai drinks, only to be told that they'd already been sold out, even though it was only past 1pm when we went.
The curry itself was pretty good; it was nice and creamy with a strong curry flavour. The chicken was tender, though it would've been good to have more pieces- despite the fact that my friend ordered the chicken one, there was a lot more vegetables in it compared to chicken. Also, the bok choi became quite soggy towards the end, and was probably not the best vegetable to be in a creamy curry, as it didn't really go well with it. Another slight downside to the dish was the bamboo slices, which unfortunately you could tell were from a can, as there was an aluminium taste to them. The curry did become a bit spicy by the end, but this was balanced out with the rice.
The pad thai was actually from the dinner menu, so it was more expensive, but the portion was very generous, to the point where I couldn't actually finish it all. The pad thai consisted of rice noodles stir fried with bean sprouts, vegetables, dried shrimp, crushed peanut and egg. The use of peanut really helped bring out the other flavours, and added a crunchy texture to the dish. The whole dish had a sweet taste to it, but it wasn't sickly sweet or strong, which was good. The chicken pieces were slightly dry, but together with the rice noodle and other elements of the dish, wasn't too bad. I enjoyed this dish as every bite gave you a bit of everything, with different textures and a mixture of flavours. The bean sprouts and peanuts for the crunch, the slipperiness of the rice noodle, together with the chicken and the distinct dried shrimp flavour made for a great, delicious combination.
In general, Ying Thai is a great place for authentic and relatively cheap Thai food, and is probably the best for its cuisine in the surrounding area. Don't go in expecting exceptional service, and you'll be just fine. Highly recommended if you're in the area!