What do you do if you find yourself in Sydney for 3 days and love eating? Pursue one of the city’s strengths and eat 3 amazing Thai meals in 3 days of course! It is so hard to choose where to eat. There are so many restaurants to try; so many blog reviews to read; so many other comments on commercial sites to compare and scrutinise for legitimacy. It must be easy to choose poorly, so it seems miraculous when you appear to choose well.
We settled on these: Sailor Thai (their newer informal upstairs canteen, not the established and more formal downstairs restaurant) in the Rocks and Chat Thai and Yok Yor Thai Food Factory, which are both on Campbell St (Thai Town). At Yok Yor the chefs wear toy-like yellow plastic construction hats and you can watch them at work through the window from the street. It’s very cute. We loved their calamari and green curry with fish meatballs.
Next, Sailor Thai, where we had sweet potato curry puffs, calamari, moo ka pow (pork with chilli and holy basil) and dessert – kao neweu sangkaya (sticky rice, fresh coconut cream with free range egg custard and coconut ice cream). Sublime, especially with the amazing Italian wines we shared – a fiano / greco blend and a pinot grigio – both from Puglia.
Finally, Chat Thai, where we shared sai ouah (pork sausages with herbs and chilli), fresh spring rolls of smoked fish sausages, chicken and crab with tamarind relish, gaeng sohm cha-om goong (sour orange tamarind curry of king prawns with omelette of acacia fronds), and green papaya salad (the som dtum thai version with pickled crab).
The acacia omelette bamboozled our tastebuds – we had never tasted anything like it before and our brains were confused. My girlfriend thought it tasted like seaweed; I thought it tasted sweet and floral like how flowers smell. For a detailed explanation of the acacia and how to make the omelette, read Meemalee. I liked it.
We squeezed the third Thai meal in because the southern African street food bar Lucky Tsotsi on Oxford St, whose website says is open until midnight, was closed when we got there at 10.45pm one night. The door was locked and the bar was empty. The lights were on and one guy, perhaps a staff member, sat motionless at the bar. We thought the food and theme sounded worth trying, but evidently it’s not happening, so we walked down to Thai Town to eat at Chat Thai instead.
I recommend all 3 places if you’re in Sydney: Sailor for its refined elegance (even in the relatively relaxed canteen) and excellent wine list; Yok Yor for its informal cuteness; and Chat for its diverse menu. Expect all 3 to be full most of the time, and Chat is buzzing at midnight.