Ghin Khao Thai Restaurant, Melbourne

It’s a strange occurrence and quite frightening to think that I’ve had 2 near death situations in my lifetime although both of which were unknown to me until after. The first time was when I was around 10 in a city in Northern China. A close family friend was kidnapped and held for ransom, I was staying at his house at the time. He was a clever man and somehow left enough clues for the police to find him unharmed. The two kidnappers admitted that the original plan was to kidnap the children, me being one and his son being the other. It was very cold up north and all the rivers were frozen so they had planned to get the ransom money then cut a hole in the ice and throw us in. However, as the kidnapped family friend came home earlier than expected, their plan changed and so I luckily escaped harm.

The second time was in Bangkok during a family holiday. At the time Thailand was having a period of political instability and the day after we left Bangkok for Pattaya, a busy shopping centre we were at the previous night was bombed. Again I escaped harm.

Being in such a dangerous situation in Thailand didn’t stop me from loving Thai food. In fact, it was the opposite. Every time someone suggests having dinner at a Thai restaurant, I secretly say ‘YES’ in my mind. My latest Thai meal was at Ghin Khao Thai Restaurant on Swanston St in the city. The most interesting thing I found about this restaurant was the drinking glasses. They had pointy ends at the bottom which make them sit at an angle. However, even though they look dangerous, it’s actually quite hard to make them topple over.

We went as a group of 9 people and ordered dishes to share. The first dish I tasted was the red curry with duck ($17.90). It was quite a saucy and tasty dish which I enjoyed and had vibrant colours to match. As there were so many people and this dish was on the other end of the table, I only managed to eat one spoonful of it which was a shame.


The chicken larb (Thai chicken salad – $11.90) was placed right in front of me so I probably ate the most of this dish. It was a very refreshing and minty dish, enhanced by the faint flavours of the chicken mince and fragrant coriander. There wasn’t much mince so was quite a healthy and not very substantial dish.


We ordered two papaya salad dishes. One of them was the soft shell crab ($15.90). I really liked this dish. The raw papaya and crab were both subtly sweet and crunchy but in totally different ways. This was probably my favourite dish of the night.


The other papaya salad dish we ordered was with chicken ($13.90). Like the soft shell crab, there weren’t enough pieces to go around but I managed to taste a little bit. The chicken was well cooked although a lttle bit dry. I didn’t like this dish as much as the soft shell crab.


Next was pad thai with prawns ($13.90). It contained prawns, bean shoots, tofu, egg. spring onions and rice noodles. Again this was on the other side of the table I didn’t manage to eat very much of this dish, although the small mouthful that I did taste was quite nice although a little bit bland. A bit more chilli or coriander might have helped to bring out the flavours.


I didn’t touch the satay beef ($14.90) at all. I was too busy with the dishes in front of me that by the time I realised, the satay beef was almost finished. It didn’t bother me too much though as I had so many other things to choose from. lets just skip this one shall we? 😛


People realised there was not enough food by the end of the meal so decided to order an extra dish called ancient fish ($27.90). It was a deep-fried whole fish topped with peanuts, coriander and a few other ingredients. I was one of the first to dig in and unlucky for me, I took a piece from the top. As I found out, the fish was quite bland although nice and crunchy. Then I realised that all the sauce was at the bottom of the dish! The sauce was a little sour, sweet and chilli, the perfect combination for a Thai dish.


We also ordered 6 rice to share – 5 in the beginning and 1 added later. They charged us 12 rices in total which was rectified when we alerted them.

I did enjoy the meal, although I found most of their dishes a little on the bland and unspectacular side. I would take people there just to show them the cool glasses though, but if you do visit, you might want to keep any kids (or childish adults like me) from playing with them too much. 😛

Question time: Have you ever been in a near death situation before?

Ghin Khao Thai Restaurant
Phone: (03) 9663 3345
242 Swanston St, Melbourne CBD

Ghin Khao on Urbanspoon

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20 comments… add one
  • bunnyy January 12, 2012, 1:49 am

    omg i didnt know those stuffs happened! : O
    Ghin Khao changed glasses! the ones before were aluminum cups u usually see in thai restaurants. i used to go there quite often with rach n geoff! but u ordered almost everything we dont usually order! haha i really like that restaurant, tho i prefer ying thai and thai deli on clarendon heaps more 😛

    i think my near death experience was when i had an asthma attack when i was a kid and couldnt breath in my inhaler at all 😛 had to be sent to the hospital haha

  • Deanna January 12, 2012, 4:10 am

    I was almost attacked by a rattlesnake when I was 10. If it had actually gotten me it would have been terrible. I was with a group of people in the middle of nowhere, and someone else had gone off with the car keys and the only cell phone. My mom was not very happy with my dad when he came traipsing back an hour later.

  • Meal Planning Tips - January 12, 2012, 7:40 am

    The pictures look beautiful, especially chicken larb and pad thai.

  • shaz January 12, 2012, 9:28 am

    Wow, you've had your fair share of "interesting" experiences! I love Thai food too, the restaurant does look lovely, sounds nice enough for a fun group meal. And thanks for dropping by my blo 🙂

  • Eva January 12, 2012, 10:39 am

    Wow, those are some stories. My mother escaped death twice in her lifetime; the first time was when she was around 8 and her mother at the last minute decided not to visit relatives by train. The train was bombed and everyone died. The second time was when my grandmother decided to drag the family to church at the very last minute, scrambling so they would get there on time. Their apartment was bombed while they were away thus escaping death twice! Really scary if you spend enough time thinking about it!

  • Choux-Fleur January 12, 2012, 11:56 am

    omg i can't believe that happened to you! That kidnapping is so scary!!!!

    I remember eating at ghin khao with my mum once (ghin khao means eat rice in thai, i think). The food was tasty, but I thought it was a little bit overpriced.

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 12, 2012, 12:39 pm

    Yeah, I've had an eventful life 😛 Tell you about the kidnapping story in more detail when u come back 😀 I like their new glasses! Although I played with them a bit too much…

    You have asthma? Do you still have asthma?

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 12, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Oh no! Glad you're safe. 😀 I'd hate to be in that situation because I'm very scared of snakes!

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 12, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Thank you 🙂

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 12, 2012, 12:42 pm

    I didn't even mention my almost near death experience with the Japan earthquakes! We planned to go to Sendai and this small island which were in direct line of the tsunami. Lucky the earthquake happened a few days before we were scheduled to arrive…

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 12, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Your mother sounds like she had very interesting life experiences too! My dad in fact had a very near death situation where he booked a flight on China Airlines (Taiwan company) but he missed his flight. The next day he found out that flight went down along with over 200 people. 🙁 Can't remember if it was the 1998 or 2002 incident but I will never fly with China Airlines because of soooo many incidents in the past…

    I totally agree…very scary thoughts indeed…shows how unpredictable life is!

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 12, 2012, 12:50 pm

    I know…whenever I think about that kidnapping I get goosebumps down my spine…if the kids were kidnapped instead, I don't think we'd have been as smart to leave clues…:(

    I agree, a little overpriced and a bit bland. I'm sure there are better Thai restaurants nearby.

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook January 12, 2012, 8:17 pm

    Your kidnap story is scary. I heard about it before but I don't know anyone who experienced it until you told me!

    All these dish look so yummy! I'm a big fan of Thai food and I wish I was at the same table with you!

  • bunnyy January 12, 2012, 11:40 pm

    D : yeah man, u eventful girl~~ come we have more events together! less dangerous please….. ><

    haha I had asthma when I was like… 1ish till 12 lol it suddenly stopped 😀 yay!

  • bunnyy January 13, 2012, 3:29 am

    that's not as near death as us at the shelter! lol

  • Angie's Recipes January 13, 2012, 5:02 am

    All the dishes look so delectable! The glasses are cool.

  • Kiran @ January 13, 2012, 5:09 am

    That kidnapping story kept me on the edge. Scary stuff.

    But those dishes are so drool-worthy, i almost forgot about your scary stories 😀

    Happy 2012!

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 14, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Haha sorry to have written such a scary story! 😛 Happy 2012 to you too!

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 14, 2012, 3:44 pm

    I agree the glasses are pretty cool 🙂

  • Akika (Ichigo Shortcake) January 14, 2012, 3:50 pm

    It was a very scary experience, although I'm so glad I didn't get kidnapped in the end 😛 It was quite funny when they recounted the story because my family friend was so smart and good at talking that when the police entered the house he was kept at, he was actually drinking beer with the kidnappers! 😀 They had NO idea that he managed to contact the police already 😛


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