Tag Archives: thai

Treat 52: I am home

When I go to Sydney I feel at home. I’m a city girl at heart and I feel at ease among the frenetic pace, busy roads and huge buildings. On my December visit to Sydney I drove for the first time and I was surprised at how comfortable I was behind the wheel. There were moments of nervousness and panic especially on the narrow Parramatta roads. Then there was the time where we tried to avoid a toll on the way to Brighton Le Sands and added forty minutes to the trip. This actually has nothing to do with what I’m about to treat about, I just wanted to boast about my driving. What I did want to talk about is Home Thai restaurant on Sussex St in the Sydney CBD, which I was hinting at in the first sentence. As a frequent Sydney traveller I now have favourite dining spots including Home Thai, Marigold, Max Brenners, Wow Cow frozen yoghurt and the Winery. Ok some spots are chains but you will find me there at least once while I’m in Sydney. I first was introduced to Home Thai back in 2009 and have gone back a few times now. My first impression was how busy the place was, there was a constant line but the food service is so fast that you are sitting in no time. Another cool thing was that they took your orders from iPads, which back in 2009 was quite a novelty before everyone had them (and when I say everyone I don’t mean me because I’m a late adopter). On my recent trip in December 2012, I had just come from a Thai weekend binge in Perth (see Treat 48: Thai time). This is when I had my first papaya salad experience. However, the papaya salad in Home Thai was probably too authentic for us with the black crab leg pieces confusing the cousins and me. Do you eat them? Nat’s friend So-Fun answered this for us, yes you do. The sweet and sour combination also wasn’t as palatable as Saowanee’s Place in North Perth. It was overdosed in fish sauce. Now I’ve tried to make this tasty sweet and sour sauce and have struggled getting the right balance. So I can totally understand with the frantic pace of Home Thai that in the rush extra fish sauce contaminated the balance. Here am I complaining about my favourite Thai restaurant in Sydney, in a way it’s my way to discourage you going so that the place doesn’t get busier than it already is. The other two dishes ordered, the pad thai and the fried rice were hands down amazing. The plates were scraped clean. Packed with delicious vegetables, seafood and chicken we were in food heaven. I also remember fondly of a prawn curry dish here. I am envious of the workers in Sydney’s CBD who can go there on their lunch break. It’s definitely worth making Sydney a home just for Home Thai (another bonus is Max Brenners – I can’t wait to treat about my quirky brunch there).

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Not the best papaya salad - too fishy and the crab legs scared me.

Not the best papaya salad – too fishy and the crab legs scared me.

Fried rice yummy yummy

Fried rice yummy yummy

THE DESTINATION
Home Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Treat 48: Thai time

I am still learning about the abundance of different cuisines from the world’s largest continent. I mean technically Lebanese food is geographically under the Asian umbrella except you wouldn’t find any soy sauce in the traditional Lebanese recipes. With all this modern fusion going around you never know what they might do the traditional dishes. My mum is guilty for fusing her Lebanese flavours when she cooks an Asian dish. She’s shy when it comes to spice. So it was refreshing visiting Saowanee’s Place Thai Restaurant and getting dishes with punchy flavours. I loved it so much that after going there on Saturday night for Christmas dinner with friends I went back there the next night to take the parents. The standout dish was a recommendation from my Thailand loving friend Kirsty who always raves about the paw paw salad. Usually the only paw paw I digested was incidental from my Lucas paw paw ointment for my lips. I didn’t even bother to check the menu to see what was in the paw paw salad but I was happy as Larry to see prawns. My favourite part of the dish was the sweet and sour sauce. I tried making it last night and I could not get the balance probably because I used the wrong sugar. The lemons from my garden also weren’t the best. I could think of countless excuses as to my failed attempt at replicating the sauce that Saowanee’s Place has mastered. I recently bought a mandoline and besides making coleslaw I haven’t used it much. Now with the introduction to paw paw salad I will be saying hello again. This dish has crunch, spice, sweet, sour and with those flavours combined you get a party in your mouth. Another favourite was the duck curry. Normally duck can be quite rich and sometimes I get food regret when I order it especially if it’s dry. This duck curry was nice and light with a great kick of spice. My mum was happy with the amount of vegetables in the dishes; this is usually her chagrin when it comes to eating out on the cheap. One serve of fried rice though for $18.90 is not a cheap and cheerful and did not satisfy our party of five. So we ordered another plate. The tom yum soup was my dad’s favourite dish because he is man who likes his spice. This hot and sour soup had us all steaming and my mum in a coughing fit. It was disappointing to see canned mushrooms were used in the soup especially when you are paying more than restaurants that give you the real deal. The only criticism from my dad was the sambal. He loves the sambal at Kulcha in Joondalup but he barely touched the one here and he had to pay $3 for it. While at Kulcha it’s complimentary plus they always give him a container to take away with him. There’s not much that can be said about the décor and service. The yellow walls and the burgundy chairs are a feast for the eyes and well to put it kindly wouldn’t be colours I’d be combining in an outfit. The service was quite abrupt at first and when we requested if we could have a different table apparently they were fully booked. At 5pm only one other table was occupied. I’m assuming they didn’t want to clean in between patrons because no one came to claim the other tables in that time. Overall Saowanee’s Place has some standout dishes. I definitely recommend the paw paw salad and duck curry. I would avoid the fried rice, I just can’t the amount you pay for it. I’ve never been to Thailand but my friends Fran and Kirsty rave about it. I found the food addictive and am craving my next paw paw salad. I guess it’s back to the drawing board and attempting that delicious sauce again, hopefully this time I can get it right.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

The new love of my life - paw paw salad. It's overtaken my love for Thai beef salad.

The new love of my life – paw paw salad. It’s overtaken my love for Thai beef salad.

Is it worth $18.90...me thinks not.

Is it worth $18.90…me thinks not.

THE DESTINATION
Saowanee's Place on Urbanspoon