Somporn Phosri developed a strong work ethic as a young boy in Thailand, where he worked for his mother’s restaurant in Isan, a region in the country’s north-east.
After working in a few different Sydney restaurants, Phosri set up Thai street-food chain Dodee Paidang. It quickly attracted a loyal following up north for its affordable, tasty and diverse offering. This is Melbourne’s first Dodee Paidang and it opened in 2017.
As you descend down each step to the basement restaurant, chatter and music grows louder. When you finally reach the 150-seat restaurant, you’ll be hit with the potent aroma of Thai soups, skewers and desserts while the songs of Ronan Keating, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston play in the background. The music may be Western, but the food is bona fide Thai. Most dishes are inspired by Isan cuisine, but the vast menu showcases flavours and plates from all over Thailand.
One specialty is keaw tod – a quail egg-filled wonton fried and skewered. Almost every table orders fried bread with pandan custard. Another crowd favourite is moo ping – a sticky glazed-pork skewer that’s mild on the spice scale. Other dishes aren’t as heat-friendly; each one of Dodee’s tom yum soups, for example, is labelled with its spice level, from zero to seven.
Group-friendly dishes include pad thai, seafood platters, papaya salads and plates full of barbequed meat. Don’t leave without sampling the sticky flour and coconut cakes, which are steamed in banana leaves.