Time Out Sydney

From salads to curries to grills, these places give the best Bangkok for your buck

Caysorn Thai

Caysorn specialises in southern Thai cuisine – a part of the world known for its heat. Kanom jeen – a vermicelli-like noodle traditionally made with pounded fermented rice – is offered in several versions. But the house special is kanom jeen tai pla: noodles sauced with a dark, complex salted fish curry that seethes with chilli. Haymarket.

Chat Thai - Westfield

The Westfield venue is the flashest of the lot. Old favourites are executed with precision, flavours are sharp and seasoning is bang on. Order the pad Thai – it's the Prada of its kind, luxed up with roasted and boned duck, silky noodles, tamarind sauce and green onion. And it comes with its own condiment set! Sydney.

Home Thai

The menu here is easy to penetrate: start with crisp hunks of pork belly with greens, or super hot-and-sour prawn soup. Move on to some soft, glutenous dumplings filled with fine shreds of garlic chives, or some grilled Isaan-style sausage, packed with chilli and served with peanuts, raw ginger and dried chillies. Sydney.


It's the same team from Spice I Am, only offering the street food of northeast Thailand. That means salads, grills and fermented, dried and sour gear. They also do the hottest salad we've eaten in Sydney. Surry Hills.


Let's Eat Thai

Let's Eat is the rare Siamese outsider in the very Vietnamese neighbourhood of Illawarra Road. Order the Tar Zan in the Jungle. Putting the name to one side, it's as rich in herbs and eggplant (both apple and pea varietals) and as pungent as any jungle curry, but deploys those flavours not in a wet dish but a stir-fry of prawns. A must. Marrickville.


A decade and a half since its arrival transformed Sydney's understanding of high-end Thai cuisine, Longrain remains a destination stalwart on the scene. Don’t even think about leaving without trying the whole crisp market fish with sour, mouth-puckering tamarind sauce. Surry Hills.

Muum Maam

House and Spice I Am may only be a two-step away, but neither offers a comfortable dining room like Muum Maam. The genuinely tasty gear includes their winning version of crisp pork belly with Chinese broccoli and a red curry of beef with crisp noodles that's a rich mess of potato, meat and sweet curried coconut cream. Surry Hills.

Sailors Thai Canteen and Restaurant

Try hitting up the canteen, rather than the dining room, at this Thai institution in The Rocks. It’s cheaper, and the harbour views far more kick-ass. Sit back, relax, and gorge on buttery curry puffs, crisp and melty pork belly and one of the city's finest pad thais. The Rocks.

Spice I Am

Spice I Am feels like a genuine little piece of Thailand in Surry Hills. It’s busy, buzzy and the staff even write down your order in Thai. Order the nam khao tod, a kaffir-heavy salad of fermented rice, chilli and Thai sausages. Its freshness is on a whole other level. Surry Hills.


This Surry Hills favourite returned in 2014 with a brand new dance and a whole new flavour. Try the pad thai with deep fried chicken, and don't forget to leave the car at home, because the wine list here is a reason to visit all its own. Surry Hills.

Surry Hills Eating House

The latest one from the Spice I Am team looks to Southern Thailand for inspiration. Order the kanom jeen set of fermented rice noodles served with fish curry sauce and a creamy, slightly sour mung bean paste. It is an absolute triumph of texture, spice and flavour. Surry Hills.

Yok Yor

Among the selection of snacky-type things, there's not merely salt-and-pepper squid, but a whole S-and-P menu covering tofu, squid, prawns and soft-shell crab. Among the more interesting smaller things are the tod mun, the traditional fish cakes leavened with a healthy addition of minced pork. Haymarket.

More: Best Thai restaurants for a date. Or, do you want to cook Thai at home? Sydney's best Thai providores.

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Updated on 9 Feb 2016.

Photos by Daniel Boud   |  
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