I live in the southeast of Melbourne. I also love delicious greasy Chinese food. This is generally a problem, as I hate deep frying at home and, despite working in the city, don't always have excuses to go in there. Or maybe I'm just lazy! Let's go with that.
Anyway, a little while back I saw Brianna post about a mock meaty restaurant in Springvale - not quite so far from home. So I called them up, explained "vegan" (you may have some issues with this - staff aren't so good with English I don't think) and was assured everything minus dishes with egg from their vego menu is OK. Great! Popped in after dance class one day and grabbed some lemon soy chicken:
This looked super cute, and was made of flaky bean curd sheets. The sauce was thick and lemony and a little kicky - not that sugary goop you sometimes get. However, I'm not a huge fan of bean curd sheets, so it didn't really hit the spot - but I was still inspired to go back. This time we were absolutely ravenous after checking out IKEA (does IKEA do that to anyone else?) and grabbed some spring rolls while we waited for our mains:
We were insanely starving so I didn't think to photograph until halfway through munching. Sorry. These are pretty good spring rolls - sweet and sour sauce, hot, lots of veggies. They don't beat Gong De Lin's, but that's a pretty high standard.
Side note: We tried to order the sesame prawn toast, but they don't actually have it any more. This has happened both times. I want prawn toast. Sad times.
For mains, we grabbed kung pao chicken and sweet and sour pork:
These were both really tasty and a great deal at $12.50/plate. Much cheaper than White Lotus or Enlightened Cuisine and just as good! The kung pao was a little over my spice tolerance - there's something like ten or twelve dried hot chillis floating around in that sauce, plus all the chilli in the sauce itself. Probably wouldn't order it again, being a spice wuss, but if you like heat you'll love it. They use the sweeter, battered mock chicken 'nuggets' that work perfectly with the sauce. The sweet and sour was also really good - great crunchy batter that was still crisp when it got to the table. I just realised this is my second sweet and sour pork review in about 3 posts. And my THIRD sweet and sour review. God damnit. I am a simple woman.
Either way, I'm definitely going to head back. Food is super tasty and cheap, conveniently located diagonally across the intersection from Springvale station, plus if you don't finish your meal you can just grab a couple of containers on the way out and doggy-bag it (we ordered rice with our mains and took literally half our plates home - mock meat is filling!). Words of warning though: Springvale is a pain in the ass to drive to. Take the train. Also, if the sight of meat offends you - this probably isn't the place for you. There are BBQ ducks in the front window and pork gets carved on an old style chopping block with a cleaver near the paying area. You can't see it whilst you're eating, but if you are sensitive to that sort of thing - go to White Lotus and get the special fried rice for me! Also - the vegetarian menu is in a separate folder, you'll need to ask for it when you're seated. But not a big deal - I'm happy to see more omni-veg places pop up, especially when the veg food is pretty damn good.
Nha Hang 5 Sao are at 4-4A Balmoral Ave., Springvale. Open from 10-10 pm, I believe - prices are very reasonable, starting at around $9 for veg meals with rice. Check it out!