32 Pall Mall
Bendigo, VIC 3550
(03) 5441 8566
If you’re a fan of Thai food, you need to get your butt over here, stat! Bunja has been around since 2006 and is in the old Colonial Bank building in Bendigo. The architecture both inside and out is impressive but I won’t bore you with my silly photos of it – check them on their website, or go and see it for yourself!
I only have a few photos to share with you below, but since I’ve tried most of the items on the menu, I can (and will) offer my comments on many of the dishes. Most of the items on the menu can be made vegan on request (all vegetarian curries are already vegan – this includes no shrimp paste or oyster sauce); they also cater to gluten free diets.
Dinner (both eat in & take-away) is available; they also offer a $12 lunch special which includes a curry, a stir fry, some plain rice, salad and a roti. The serves are decent but the lunch menu is set and no changes can be made for special dietary requirements so keep this in mind if you need to.
This is the Pud Prik King – my favourite stir fry! It’s fiery but also refreshing because of the kaffir lime leaves. This has quickly become my favourite dish on the menu because it’s vegetable heavy and makes my gums tingle (yes, I dig that, haha) and doesn’t make me feel like a fat roly poly, even when I eat the whole serve – which, by the way, is very generous.
This is the coconut rice which is creamy and sticky. It has shredded kaffir lime leaves & lemongrass in it and i’m a big fan of it… but it’s not quite as good as my home made version 😉
This is the green curry (non-vegan photo).
This is the roti with satay sauce (also not vegan – sorry!).
My menu notes:
- Entrees: The vegetable popia tod (spring rolls) contain vegan ingredients, however they share a deep fryer with non-vegan items, so I’ll leave that one up to your discretion. Some people are more strict with their diets than others.
- Soups: Unfortunately both the tom yum & tom kha soups contain shrimp paste. You can request these vegan, but I wouldn’t recommend it, as the vegan versions lack flavour in a big way (however if you’re not vegan and like hot & sour flavours, I suggest you jump on the tom yum soup). On the up side of this, I have a tom yum soup recipe on my back log to share with you in the future!
- Curries: all of these are excellent and all are coconut milk based bar the jungle curry. The veg versions contain tofu which is cut into small cubes and is scarce. I like this; dishes that are overpowered by tofu are a huge turn off for me.
The yellow curry (gang garee) is highly recommended if you’re not too adventurous. It’s sweet and contains potato!
The massamun curry (gang massamun) is the next step up from this – it’s slightly spicier but still mild & familiar – it contains potato, pineapple and peanuts.
The panang curry is similar in heat to the massamun curry but flavour-wise also contains basil and is heavier on other veg (not potatoes).
The red curry (gang ped) is medium spicy. I often think of this one as “just right”; it’s my favourite of the curries and contains a good mix of veggies.
The green curry (ganga keow wann) is spicy and always makes my nose run (in a good way!). As per the red curry, it contains a good mix of veg.
The jungle curry (gang pah) is the first dish I ever tried at Bunja. It’s not coconut milk based and is very much like a soup-ish version of the pud prik king stir fry (pictured above).
- Stir Fries: these are my favourite part of the menu! As a general rule, these aren’t heavy in your belly – meaning you can eat your entire giant serve without feeling like you need to be rolled out of the restaurant!
The Pud Ped Gatii is a stir fry version of the red curry. It has the same great flavours and vegetables, but isn’t swimming in quite as much liquid.
The Pud King is fairly wimpy heat-wise, so if you’d prefer something sweet but not creamy, I’d recommend this.
The Pud Beow Waan is a typical sweet & sour dish with pineapple and all! it’s nice, but not really my cup of tea.
The Pud Bai Horapah is described in the menu as “not for the faint hearted” but my honest opinion is that it’s not the hottest stir fry on the menu – the pud prik king is. It also doesn’t have any kaffir lime in it, so it’s missing the refreshing feeling I really like.
The Pud Satay is creamy, sweet and mild. It’s not too heavy on peanut flavour (though you can definitely taste it). This is one I’d definitely recommend to those who don’t like spice and aren’t too adventurous.
- Dessert: I’ve only tried one thing from the dessert menu – it’s durian (tropical fruit) in a sticky coconut/rice pudding. It comes with ice-cream, which I give to Mr. AA. If you’ve never had durian before, you’re in for a shock. It stinks like onions but it tastes delicious. If you want to try something new and think you can get past the smell, TRY IT. Even if you don’t like it, at least you can say you’ve had it!
Also, just a quick note that’s not food related. The toilets are clean and well stocked! While there’s only one female cubicle, there’s a change room with nappies and complimentary sanitary items in case of emergency. Have you ever seen anything like it NOT in a hotel??