As you may have recalled, ‘The Mother’, Dragon and I went for a quick getaway to meet the extended family in Phuket. It was one of those holidays where we didn’t leave the resort and just ate around there. Didn’t see much to be honest, just hung by the pool, slept, ate and took Dragon to the mall where she spent a few hours in this kids area – will post about that soon. I have been to Phuket many times now and have stayed at different places, however, this time, we stayed at the most tourist-y place – Patong, which was ok, I prefer to stay in a much quieter area and the resort we stayed was definitely NOT 5 star, it was a little old, room was ok and pretty noisy at night as there are markets near the mall.
Anyhow, it was an ok holiday, unfortunately we didn’t eat as well as I had hoped, however, a good friend recommended that I go to Raya House and I am SO glad that we did! It was potentially the BEST meal we had in Phuket! HA! Raya House can be found in Phuket Town, a century year old house which has been converted into a restaurant – there’s a lot of character – rusting ceiling fans, vintage posters, very old photographs (which are cool) and the vibe is very down to earth and ‘rustic’.
The menu is quite extensive, however, it is famous for its crabmeat coconut curry which is a MUST order and potentially one of the nicest curry we have had. Real chunks of crab meat pieces which are plump and generous, the curry is served with coconut milk and rice vermicelli. This was a hit amongst the diners.
The salt and pepper squid was excellent, the batter was thin and not oily and the squid was tender.
My favourite dish would have to be the pork belly – extremely tender, extremely succulent – it was phenomenal. It had the right amount of fat to meat ratio and one of the best dish I’ve had in Phuket! Even Dragon had a couple of pieces!
The most disappointing would have to be the fried chicken which was topped with a mountain of fried garlic. The chicken pieces were small, and tough. I had meant to order this dish for Dragon but the chicken meat wGas so tough, Dragon couldn’t really chew it.
The vegetables were also fantastic – a little on the spicy side for Dragon though.
There weren’t a lot of options for dessert, however, we did manage to share grass jelly with longan topped with palm sugar – oh my my.. it was refreshing light and delicious. I probably should have ordered a serving for myself!
Meal was excellent, shame about the chicken, but the pork belly and the crab curry was definitely a hit. Definitely worth visiting when you are in Phuket!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
48 New Debuk Cross Road,
Amphur Muang Phuket
Ph: +66 76 218 155
Mama San is the newish venture by Dining Concept which is headed by Will Meyrick who has a Scottich heritage, Australian accent and an Indonesian home. Like its older sister restaurant in Bali, MaMa San offers diners Southeast Asian dishes and a whole list of delicious cocktails. The restaurant is located in on Wyndham Street – I can’t remember what was here before, however, I love the lay out, the relaxed vibe, the wooden tables and the bold and striking mural of the ‘mama san’ looking at everyone!
We were her for lunch and the set lunch was quite interesting. I had originally thought that you pick one dish from the set, however, that wasn’t the case. There are 3 different set menus and we opt to try all of them.
Makanan Siang set is the smallest set and perfect for one which includes vietnamese duck salad with carrot, green mango, coriander and dressing, green curry of clams or chicken with baby corn, long beans, coconut and thai basil served with rice (HKD118). I was rather surprised when everything came out in a bucket! It was definitely an interesting way of eating lunch. The duck salad was a little spicy but the duck was tender and the mango was a wonderful complement. We opt for the chicken green curry and the curry had a wonderful aroma and it wasn’t as thick as I had anticipated.
Next the Khao Gang Set (HKD138) – the crispy salmon with green mango and sweet fish sauce was a little disappointing. The salmon was a little dry and there was only ONE tiny piece? The salad itself was a little on the spicy side but gave it a nice kick. The cambodian duck curry with lemon grass, ginger, turmeric and yellow dahl was good. Generous pieces of shredded duck and the curry was excellent. The stir-fried baby choi sum was good but nothing special I thought.
The Mam San Treat Set (HKD158) – the biggest of the lot. The slow cooked crispy pork belly with green papaya and green mango salad was good. The pork belly was tender and I loved the crispy skin – but again, only one pieces?!?!?!?
The chili harbour prawns with deep fried garlic, iceberg lettuce and lemon was a hit amongst the diners. So was the southern Goan snapper with okra, fenugreek, curry leaves, yogurt and coconut.
For dessert, we thought we would share the Vietnamese creme caramel with coffee granite, tapioca, herbal jelly and palm sugar. This was refreshingly good and a perfect way to end the meal. The creme caramel was soft and wobbly – it was perfect and the palm sugar was a wonderful addition!
Majority of the dishes for the set lunch, including the salads were spicy. Thought there were some good dishes, some misses, overall it was ok. I am keen to try their dinner, however it was good to try a bit of everything for lunch
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
1/F, 46 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2881 8901
Wanchai is not a place i go very often. I’ve been to the odd bar and a couple of restaurants but that’s about it. I have never heard of the Chili Club until a friend suggested we dine here for lunch for his birthday. It’s been around for many years now (his parents know the owners of the restaurant) and is his ‘go-to’ place for Thai cuisine. Can’t miss it, there is a huge sign and is located on Lockhart Road on level one.
The menu is vast, we left all the ordering to my friend and he definitely ordered well! Started with some – chicken spicy soup – i can’t for the life of me remember the name of this dish. It was rather spicy eaten on its own but with rice was just perfect.
The pork neck I love! Tender and succulent – you can never go wrong with pork neck.
The fish curry was a favourite amongst the diners. Fish was tender and moist and the curry creamy – a little creamy for my liking though.
The Thai CKT was definitely one of my favourites. Thick rice noodles with lots of flavours served with beef, egg and vegetables. I remember when I was pregnant with Dragon, all i wanted to eat was CKT!
We ordered another 5 dishes which I didn’t take photos off as I was too busy eating. The beef brisket curry was probably one of my favourites – tender beef, and the curry was not too spicy. The fried chicken is one of the best I have eaten – crispy skin, tender and succulent meat. The pad thai I thought was OK – I am not usually a big fan of pad thai’s as they are generally too sweet but this lacked a lot of flavour. It was incredibly bland. The chicken curry (Kaeng kiew sarin) was surprisely ok. Thick and not too sweet and not too spicy either. Last but not least the vegetables, stir fried morning glory – it was definitely tasty.
Unfortunately we were too full for dessert. Service was a bit of a hit and miss, it was rather slow at the beginning, but definitely picked up. I’m no expert on Thai cuisine, it’s not something I eat a lot off but really enjoyed the fried chicken and the CKT.
However, I did have a little egg tart when I got back to the office though – I couldn’t resist as it was from my favourite bakery – tae cheong bakery! YUM!
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
1/F, 88 Lockhart Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2527 2872
An impromptu lunch date took us to Sugarcane. We had originally going to The Sandwich Shop but it was a little cold for salad and sandwiches. Sugarcane is located on Reservoir Street, not far from Central Station. The chef behind this hip restaurant is Milan Strbac where he started his career as an apprentice at Fez Cafe in Darlinghurst before a stint at Marque and Brooklyn Hotel Restaurant in the CBD.
We started with complimentary vegetable dumplings which was served with fried onions, coriander and shallots – thanks chef! They were incredible moreish and tasty.
Next came roti with curry sauce, cucumber and chilli ($10). The roti was flaky albeit thin, we like ours little fluffier and chewier but still pretty good.
I couldn’t go past the salad of crisp pork hock with papaya ($15). Mountain of salad, it doesn’t look as though there’s a lot of pork hock but there were! Bite size pieces, the pork hock was tender but crispy. The salad was fantastic, tangy and absolutely refreshing.
E had the crisp fish salad with Asian celery, ginger and shallots ($16). I didn’t have any of this, but E enjoyed it, she did say that it was a shame the fish was at the bottom as it made it soggy instead of crispy.
Uncle had the lunch special, fried chicken with rice ($10) – it looked really good actually, I had food envy. Crispy chicken… who can say no to that?
Unfortunately dessert didn’t really grab any of us, so we gave it a miss. The rest of the lunch menu sounded good, so does the dinner menu. Will definitely be back to try their other dishes.
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
40 Reservoir Street
Surry Hills 2010
Ph: +61 02 9281 1788
The newest addition to the Cha Thai chain, the biggest and the most fanciest which is located on level 6 of Westfield CBD.
I have not been a fan of Chat Thai, my previous experience has not been great. I was catching up with M, we were seeing a comedy at the State Theatre and thought we would have an early dinner. Everything on level 5 was pretty much closed except for Charlie and Co and the pasta place so I suggested Chat Thai. We rocked up at about 6pm and the place was already busy with only two or three tables to spare and within 30 mins, there was a queue already.
We opt for the kana mhu grob ($15) – stir fried chinese kale and crisp pork belly. The pork belly was indeed crispy, too crispy making it way too crunchy. The dish was seriously spicy, not what we both expected. It was good but nothing special I thought.
The gaeng daeng bed ($16) – red curry roasted duck with pineapple, lychee and holy basil was nice but also nothing special I thought. The duck was tender, and the pineapple and lychee a wonderful complement.
I am still not a huge fan of Chat Thai, their dessert would probably be the only reason I come back for – especially their sticky rice with durian! YUM! Even their banana fritters is pretty good, their food, it’s nice but definitely not for me. I still do prefer Longrain and Shortgrain!
GA’s rating: 6 / 10
Level 6, Westfield Sydney
Ph: +61 2 9221 0600
There are a few ‘new-ish’ restaurants on Quay Street in Haymarket. As most of you know, Thai cuisine is not something I know well. It was a family friends birthday and he suggested dinner at Satang Thai which is located on Quay Street, just underneath the Harmony apartments. Don’t get confused with Satang Thai takeaway, which is directly opposite Satang Thai Executive.
There are two levels, the downstairs is quite small but more seating upstairs. Left the ordering to our friends, as they have been here a couple of times now and love it. I have to admit, they ordered well!
We started with kana moon hoi ($13.50) – beef with chinese broccoli and thick oyster sauce. Tender beef, the oyster sauce was thick and a little on the rich side, but it was delicious.
Kana moo grob ($14.50) – stir-fried chinese broccoli with crispy pork belly was definitely a favourite amongst the diners. The succulent crispy pork belly, I love the sweetness of the sauce, my only gripe was there wasn’t enough crispy pork belly for the hunger diners.
MV ($13.50) – stir-fried beef with garlic and mixed vegetables. Delicious, you can never go wrong with broccoli and beef!
Sweet chili fish ($17.50) – golden fried ling fish filled topped with special made sweet chili sauce. Another favourite amongst the diners, the fish crispy and tender. ‘Drizzled’ in sweet chili sauce – it was a little on the sweet side, but we all fought for every single last piece.
Chili duck ($16.50) – stir-fried roast duck with garlic, fresh chili, shallot, onion and capsicum. Another favourite, I really enjoyed this dish. Fried duck cut into bite size pieces, succulent and full of flavour.
Garlic calamari was probably my least favourite. Compared to the others, it was a little bland and tasteless. However, the calamari was perfectly cooked – incredibly tender!
Chicken pad thai ($9.50) – stir-fried thin rice noodle with house special sauce, egg, bean sprout, garlic, chives and tossed with crushed peanut. Loads of flavour, the rice noodles cooked to perfection. Definite winner. Unfortunately this was demolished before I could even take a photo of it!
Fried rice ($9,50) – stir-fried rice with egg, tomato, onion and Chinese broccoli. I was getting full by this stage, but loved that work aroma, a little on the salty side but extremely tasty.
I think we ordered one too many dishes with sweet chili sauce, it was a tad sickening I thought. Nonetheless, it was still a wonderful meal with family and friends. Service efficient, the restaurant can get a little rowdy when busy, making it hard to talk to friends. Turnover quite quickly, so don’t be put off by the queue.
I probably should be used to this by now, we discussed food over food. We shared our favourite local eateries, where not to eat, and where to eat. We were full but we it didn’t stop us from having dessert at MeetFresh in Chinatown.
GA’s rating: 7 / 10
203-204/107-121 Quay Street
Ph: +61 2 9212 5885
Food really does bring people together! It’s always a common topic and of course one of my favourite!
I was meeting the lovely suzchef for lunch in North Sydney. She suggested Nu’s Thai which can be found in Sydney’s lower north shore and ‘specialises in middle kingdom Thai cuisine created from local Australian produce’. Opened in 2006, Chef Nu Suandokmai is the man behind this, ex Nu’s Thai Adelaide, Padi at the Ritz Carlton Bali and Baby Buddha at the Intercontinental Hotel Jakarta.
It was quiet when we first arrived, however, that didn’t last long and it was soon filled with diners in suits. S and I opted for the lunch menu – $19 for dish and drink which includes a glass of wine or soft drink. Six different choices, ranging from Thai omelette, kao pad du (fried rice with crab), crispy chicken, beef and noodles.
Whilst perusing the menu, I noticed bettel leaves with crispy pork belly and son-in-law quail egg (2) ($10) and WOW!
The caramelised pork belly was oh so very tender and delicious. Rolled the leaf and took a couple of bites – wow, the flavours burst in my mouth and each bite was better than the next I could have easily eaten another two! It was SOOO good.
S couldn’t go past Gaeng daeng nua (Nu’s red curry of sliced wagyu beef with Thai Eggplants served with steamed jasmine rice). S had this on her last visit and really enjoyed it that she couldn’t help but order it again.
I had cravings for chicken with cashew nuts (crispy chicken with cashew nuts and roasted chili served with jasmine rice). It was a very colourful dish, so bright and vibrant. The chicken wasn’t as crispy as I had hoped, however, I do love the sweet chili sauce and the cashew nuts a wonderful complement.
It is always hard to eat a two or three course meal for lunch, especially if you have to go back to work, hence we passed on dessert but would definitely be keen to try next time. Good service, presentation of each dish was wonderful and although we only had the lunch menu, it was absolutely delicious. Definitely keen to try their dinner menu – it’s not cheap though, prices is similar to that of Longrain so I have high expectations!
It was food that brought us and no doubt it will be food that will bond us! It was so lovely to meet the wonderful suzchef – and she is an incredible cook! Hoping to get an invitation to try her other cooking!
Reservation is highly recommended, this place does get busy both lunch and dinner with locals and people working in the area.
GA’s rating: 7 / 10
178 Blues Point Road
McMahons Point 2060
PH: +61 2 9954 1780