Thai Hana

9.3 Overall Score
Sushi: 9/10
Variety: 10/10
Price: 9/10

HUGE variety | Sells Ramen | Quick, polite service | Fair pricing | Clean

Small interior | Sushi rolls fall apart

thai hana logo

As an otaku, I’ve held myself to this unspoken “induction ritual” involving the consummation of ramen noodles. I’m not talking about packaged ramen that comes in every college student’s survival kit, but authentic ramen—complete with swirly Naruto fishcakes a la Ichiraku Ramen.

Scouring the Melbourne area, I came across a little shopping-strip-side restaurant called Thai Hana. On the outside, it didn’t look like much—nothing beyond your average, dark-lit, take-out-or-dine-in restaurant—but the frequently stopping cars dropping off hungry passengers convinced me that I shouldn’t judge this proverbial book by its cover.

Walking in and glancing at the menu was all the convincing I needed to dine in. A whopping 17-page spread, complete with pictures of most dishes, made my mouth water—and there among the 50+ sushi rolls was a bowl of good ol’ Ramen. I ordered a bowl of Ramen, along with a Super Crunch Roll.

thai hana inside restaurant

Thai Hana isn’t a big restaurant—no bigger than your smaller Panda Expresses—and the sushi counter and sushi chefs are visible from most any seat. Judging by the size alone, I’d never guess that such a wide variety of dishes and rolls could be offered—either that kitchen was a whole lot bigger on the inside, or Thai Hana knows some series culinary jutsu.

A modest-sized staff managed to keep things running, delivering food and politely checking in on diners intermittently, and before I could drool over the menu for too long, my sushi roll landed on the table, still piping hot. A picture did this roll no justice—longer than 12 inches laid out on a tray, and sliced into 14 pieces, each about three inches across. Chopsticks and soy sauce were both provided. I poured a bit of soy in my tray and dipped my first slice in carefully—not very necessary, seeing as the whole roll was already coated in eel and spicy mayo sauces (like all of Thai Hana’s specialty rolls), but delicious all the same.

The Super Crunch Roll gets its name from its asparagus filling and tempura flake coating, giving it a satisfying crispiness that “crunches” between the teeth. Krab, eel, salmon, cream cheese, and avocado grant this roll a traditional flavor, but the variety of fish meat gives it a smoky-sweet taste, strengthened by the blend of eel sauce and self-added soy sauce.

IMG_3921

This roll fully satisfied me, leaving me without appetite for seconds, as I had originally planned—I had to save room for my ramen, after all. If the Super Crunch Roll is any indicator of Thai Hana’s typical fanfare, then I could happily choose Thai Hana over its competition, knowing that my money would be going towards larger sushi rolls with larger-than-life flavor. Alas, I was only able to try out one roll that evening, though I have made plans to go back for more.

Perhaps the only real downside is that a few of the slices crumbled between my chopsticks. Whether as a result of the rice used or because the whole thing had been deep-fried, I could not tell. The flavor spoke for itself, causing me to pinch up every last rice pellet, though I’ve heard it said that a quality sushi roll will not fall to pieces during eating. Take that as you will.

Shortly after my roll arrived, the giant bowl of ramen was set down in front of me, and my moment of reckoning had at last arrived. As required of tradition, I downed the whole bowl, wielding chopsticks in one hand and an Asian soup spoon in the other. Having never tried ramen, outside of the instant Americanized kind, I have little to compare the flavor to, but I was quite pleased with the experience.

Given the choice between miso and shoyu broth, I chose the miso, then splashed a bit of soy sauce into the mix to add some saltiness and additional flavor. The ramen itself was not salty, but rather plain-textured, with the individual ingredients not so much blending with the broth as swimming in it. The rubbery Naruto fishcakes permeated the soup well, with a flavor much like shellfish or krab, and for their part, the noodles soaked up the broth satisfactorily. The pork, however, didn’t add the hearty meaty flavor that I was expecting.

thai hana ramen noodles

Far from a side-dish, the ramen was a meal in its own right and would have easily filled my stomach without the addition of a sushi roll. On a fundamental level, it resembled Naruto’s Ichiraku Ramen almost flawlessly, with yellow noodles, pork slices, seaweed, scallions, and Naruto fishcakes (also included were broccoli and carrots). My inner fangirl reached a power-level of over 9,000 that evening.

Eating at Thai Hana is an experience I’ll gladly repeat, and one I highly recommend. The restaurant is clean, the staff friendly and concerned without being overbearing, and the food quite tasty. An enormous variety of sushi, soups, salads, curries, and other Thai staples will ensure each meal is as unique as your taste buds, and, of course, the otaku in you will go wild.

Gochisou sama deshita, Thai Hana-sama!

Visit the Thai Hana website

Follow Thai Hana on Facebook

Comments:

Author: Casey Covel View all posts by
Casey Lynn Covel (known online as “Cutsceneaddict”) is an award-winning, published writer, avid reader, and aspiring author. She runs a nerdy writing blog called Meek-Geek and founded PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts in 2012. When she’s not writing for Geeks Under Grace, Florida Geek Scene, Beneath the Tangles, or FROM JAPAN, she enjoys cosplaying, and has won several awards for her work. Follow her on Instagram for her latest cosplay endeavors. #meekischic

Leave A Response