Caysorn does Thai food for Thai folks, and everyone else. Highly recommended for southern Thai specialities and some great desserts.
Last year we did a quick trip in Southern Thailand, eating our way from Phuket and Krabi and down to Trang and some islands. One of our favourite Thai street food dishes on this trip was kanoom jeen, a simple dish of noodles and currry sauce that you mix up with your own selection of herbs and fresh veggies. It's the promise of kanoom jeen that drew us into Caysorn Thai Restaurant in Chinatown.
Caysorn Thai has a buzzy almost RSL décor about it, not too formal (no tablecloths) but when the waitress pops your beer for you and flashes a wonderful big Thai smile you know you are not sitting in a food court. This place is hugely popular with Thai folks and has a stack of dishes we haven't found elsewhere. We dig it bigtime.
On our first visit we hook straight into the kanoom jeen, here only $5.50. There are about four different sauces to choose from, from sweet to blow your head off spicy. Above is Namh Ya Pah curry (blended flathead with spicy curry paste, fish stock and kaffir lime leaf). You get rice noodles in a curry and choose a plate of fresh crunchy vegetables and pickles from a salad bar. They are supposed to help mitigate the spice blast. Fat chance, order a $5 Singha instead.
Pla Tod Kamin - shallow fried red spot whiting with tumeric and garlic - $9.50. Neck the crunchy buggers up heads and all. Recommended.
Chili relish with fried steamed mackerel and steamed vegetables - $10.50. We tried a dish similar to this at Thai Thai Thai in the Market City food court. The vegetables here are served partially cooked and cold, which helps you to appreciate the fishy nam prik. The mackeral has a hearty sardine taste, a great oily fish high in omega 3, low in mercury levels and not overfished. Why isn't he loved more?
Black sticky rice with coconut dressing - $5. Shawn decides he will have this in lieu of birthday cake that didn't materialise the week before.
Goong Paer Tod - turmeric batter with school prawns, green leaf with chili sauce - $6.90. This is a must try, lovely crispy batter with sweet prawn flavours poking through underneath. We had this a couple of times in Thailand and love it. This is a must try dish.
Kao Yum - $8.90, marked as a signature dish. Jasmine rice tossed with a mixture of herbs, dried shrimp, roasted coconut, vegetables, green mango with a boodoo sauce. We seem to have a little bit of pomelo instead of mango but it makes no difference.
One of the friendly waitresses explains you mix all the ingredients together and that this is mostly a morning dish but you can have it any time of day. The fresh ingredients balance the hits of chilli and give some crunch so you get a different texture and taste with every bite.
Gang kati gai - $12.90. Chef special curry of chicken with bone, chicken liver, coconut milk, turmeric, choko and lemongrass. Not much of a liver flavour at all, much to Shawn's relief. This dish inspires the first ever cooking of choko in our household and certainly not the last. It makes a great addition to a curry or a stir fry, it's neutral flavour allows the stronger ones to shine through and the texture holds the curry together.
Poached monkey banana in syrup with ice flake $5. The bananas tasted a little salty, which was a great taste contrast to the sweet syrup. The desserts here are highly recommended.
Isaan Sausage - $9.90 - grilled eastern Thailand style pork sausage served with ginger and fresh cabbage.
Nahm prik kapi - spicy shrimp paste with cha om omellette - $8.80. The omelette is plain but chili paste is blow-your-head-off hot.
Gang kee lek - curry of cassia leaf, cassia flower with grilled fish, kaffir lime leaf - $13.50. There was some heat in this dish, some little chilli hits hidden under the green leaves. We've had a Filipino and a Madagascan dish with similar green leaves.
Pandan custard with sweet Asian bread, steamed or toasted, $5 with a Thai ice tea. We're big fans of Thai ice tea and this is our new favourite in town, big rich tea flavours and easier on the sugar than other joints, the crushed ice is a nice touch. Pandan custard? Of course it's good.
Caysorn Thai is in the tops little complex at 8 Quay Street, head up the escalators and a flight of stairs (or take the magic elevator) to that pinkish looking joint in the middle.
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