With the obvious exception of boarding a plane and actually disembarking in Thailand, what could be better than tackling Thailand from top to tail on a culinary tour? So, we’re substituting Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai with Sydney’s Thai Town – located in Haymarket – where a cornucopia of Thai restaurants, massage and grocery stores heaving with fresh herbs, glutinous rice and tart green mangoes await.
Following a trail of ‘Thai SELECT’ logos, we are assured of dining in authentic Thai style. Thai SELECT certification is awarded by the Royal Thai Government to hand selected restaurants around the world that offer authentic Thai cuisine, along with high levels of service, excellence and atmosphere, guaranteeing diners a bona fide taste of Thailand.
Our culinary journey begins with a sawasdee to Southern Thailand and a six-course breakfast honouring the region’s pungent, spicy cuisine at the incredible Caysorn Thai Restaurant. We’re welcomed with a sweet Thai Milk Tea, before starting on a delectable sliver of sweet barbecue pork cheek and gai yang kaow lae (a skewer of spicy southern style grilled marinated chicken) which wakes up our tastebuds.
This is followed with house-made kanom jeen rice noodles and a trio of curries, tai pla, (a grilled fish curry spiked with salty fermented fish guts), nahm yah pay (soupy pounded fish and lime leaf curry) and a mild and creamy coconut crab curry.
There’s also a sour fish curry with riceberry and a stunning fragrant kao yum (mixed herb salad). We cool our fiery tastebuds with sweet cassava, sticky with coconut. Lesser piglets would be satiated for a week, but we’re just getting started.
The next stop is Thai Town’s Show Neua Thai Street Food where we devour Northern Thai delights served on a traditional Lanna-style bamboo khantok pedestal. These dishes are a little less spicy than their Southern cousins and are instead packed with earthy and herbal flavours.
I’m more than a little bit excited by this and swoon when I see a bowl of khao soi chicken, (a curry soup of egg noodles topped with crunchy fried noodles, pickles and lime that Raff claims is his lifeblood). Sitting alongside it on the khantok is khanom Jeen Nam Ngeow (spicy noodle soup). There’s also an insanely good northern-style sausage, pork crackling, steamed vegetables, chilli paste, sticky rice and two types of pork larb – one bright with chilli and a second more numbing in flavour.
The feast sweeps me right back to my wedding day in Chiang Mai, where Mr EatsWorld and I feasted on dishes just like the ones in front of me with village elders, our lovely surrogate family for the day.
There’s no rest for the wicked, or the perpetually hungry, so we make haste for @Bangkok Thai Restaurant for another umpteen dishes showcasing the authentic cuisine of Central Thailand.
While most people would be content to either stop eating or simply explode by this point, our brave crew of devoted foodies instead navigate a menu that takes us back to breakfast with kho niew moo punk (sticky rice with pork skewers) and tom leud moo pork (a light pork broth studded with crispy fried pork belly and blood jelly).
Then we dive into a bowl of kuay tiew reua (boat noodle soup) swimming with meatballs and scented with earthy herbs.
@Bangkok then presents us with a series of dinner delights including a sweet corn salad, grilled pork jaw, crying tiger grilled rump steak and a fermented sour Thai sausage. But wait, there’s more! Crispy fish salad studded with fresh green apple, cashews and mint, squid row salad, marinated chicken tendon which is a delight to chomp on and spicy pork bone broth.
The good news? If you have a hankering for Central Thai food, Thai Town’s @Bangkok is open until 4am to satisfy witching hour hanger pangs.
Our epic eat-a-thon has taken our tastebuds to places they’ve never been before. At least in Sydney. And has left us with a new appreciation of the incredible authentic Thai Cuisine that can be found right on our doorstep… and the need to upsize our wardrobe.
Caysorn Thai Restaurant
106/8 Quay Street,
Prince Centre Building Level 1,
PH: (02) 9211 5749
Show Neua Thai Street Food
Shop 2A/710 George St,
PH: (02) 8385 8064
@Bangkok Thai Restaurant
730-742 George St
Shop G11 Capitol Square Building
PH: (02) 9211 5232
Disclosure: BoyEatsWorld was a guest of the, hosted by the wonderful folks from Thai Department of International Trade Promotion, Thai Select and Asian Inspirations, but all spice snaffling, broth bingeing and opinions are our own.