Rice Paper

Name: Rice Paper
Location: 245 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Prices: Meals $10-15, Drinks $3-5
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 7/10

Rice Paper is a Vietnamese hawker-style restaurant, who do a bit of everything. There’s a section on the menu for starters, rice dishes, noodles, and for vermicelli noodles. Much like the other restaurants along Swanston St, Rice Paper is considered a cheap eats place. Many things are under $10, and most are under $15, there are plenty of tables and the staff seem happy to move tables around to cater for large groups.
I went there after the lunch rush, so things were a quieter lull. I don’t have any problems with when the food was brought out, it wasn’t straight away nor was it too slow. The staff spoke to us on equal terms, seeing as we all seem to be students who want to kick back and relax for the rest of the afternoon. To me, Ricepaper has a laid back feel, and that’s not a bad thing at all during the lull times.

The walls are covered with framed pictures of Vietnam (one of my favourites is the picture of the bicycle), and the ceiling is decked out in colourful paper lanterns. The lighting is a bit dim, so it might make you sleepy.

Browse a gallery/ Rows of pictures of Vietnam/ Then order some food

CRAB AND TOFU NOODLE SOUP ($8.90)
Score: 6.5/10
Would I order it again? No.

Hey there scuttling crab/ You are looking mighty fine/ As food in my bowl

The soup is sweet and clear, no problems there. My major criticism is the crab balls. Usually crab balls are those orange coloured balls of flour, fish paste, flavouring and some cubes of carrot-looking things. Those are good in noodle soups, and are used in much the same way as other surimi products. The crab balls here seem to be handmade, which is a great thing, but the consistency is too soft and paste-like. It is a soft paste barely held together as a ball. I would like some bits in it, whether those bits are imitation crab or bits of real crab, or some kind of vegetable, or bits of fish, just something to give it texture.
(As a side point, I also dislike the dried tofu puffs. But you like those, and don’t mind a smooth eggy crab ball, then this isn’t bad at all.)

Hey there crunchy sprouts/ Bring your shredded cabbage friends/ Party in soup bowl

There’s also a separate plate of beanshoots and sliced cabbage to be added into the noodles. The hot broth should cook them slightly, but they’ll still be crunchy.

COMBINATION VERMICELLI ($10.90)
Score: 8/10
Would I order this again? Yes

Crispy crunchy things/ Grilled, fried and uncooked things too/ Texture champloo

Vermicelli is a thin opaque rice noodle. This has barbecued pork meatball, chopped up spring rolls, sugar cane prawn, shredded pork, cucumber, carrot and crushed peanuts. it is served with a bowlful of sweet vinegar (with some other things, but I’m not familiar with this dish). The idea is to add as much dressing vinegar as you need (I just dump in all of it), and mix it all together. The end result is a crunchy noodle dish with lots of tasty things embedded in the noodles.

 
Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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3 Responses to Rice Paper

  1. the last time I went there the food was a bit bland to my liking. Where do you recommend that I go for cheap eats?
    xo: newintstudents

    • sakiikas says:

      Ricepaper has a lot of ‘misses’, so I’ve heard. Do you remember what you ordered? (Just for my record, if I do revisit.)
      Hmm, I mostly review cheap-eats, so have a gander through the blog. But for Vietnamese cheap-eats, I recommend Victoria St or Footscray’s Hopkins St. There’s a particularly good one on the end of Victoria St, but I can’t remember the name. Might be Pho Chu The (270 Victoria St, it should sit along at 109 tram line).

      Sometimes I use Urbanspoon to find places that rate highly in their Under $15 section. It tends to be a reflection of what the general populace thinks, and in my opinion, some good places aren’t rated as highly as they should. But it does give you a good place to start.

      Thanks for reading. =)

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