22 April 2014
Rim Tanon ~ Thai - Haymarket\Thainatown
The stretch along Campbell Street and a little up Pitt Street we've always thought of as Thainatown or Thai Town. It seems even the City of Sydney is getting in on the naming act, adding bright blue 'Thai Town' directional signs off George Street to help you find your way.
Chat Thai leads the way in popularity along here and there are more worthy eateries in this enclave that serve up Thai food that is more than green curry and pad thai. Yok Yor, Saap Thai and Chonsiam are all worth a lengthy exploration of their menus, especially if you are looking for northern Thai comfort food or a small bowl of brown broth and fishball boat noodle soup and don't want to wait in a long queue.
In place of what used to be More More Cha, Rim Tanon has taken a step further along the Thai food trail and offers more street style focused food. At first this street food claim turned us off, our natural reaction was 'you can't put street food in a restaurant!'. So while it isn't the same, it still has a good whiff of spice and street style without the car fumes, rotten fish smell, bike noise and tiny stools. If only they could crank the heat up, bottle that smell and spray it around and have a few stray dogs you could throw your chicken bones at to make it feel more like eating on a soi.
The other point we like about this place is the price for most of the dishes. Sitting around $8 a pop you can really reach out and try a few new things without breaking the bank. Food court prices, street food style and super friendly service all in one.
From the cheaper side of the menu: Pork knuckle rice - $8. Super tender slow cooked fatty pork in a sweet five spice sauce on top of pickled and fresh greens, with a chili vinegar on the side. The greens, sauce and chili vinegar work together masterfully. This is our new favourite pork & rice in town, we've tried it twice at the time of writing.
Guay Jup - $8. A dark, sweet, meaty broth with all kinds of piggy from lovely crunchy fried pork belly bits to blood cubes and various gizzards, and a few flat noodles beneath the sea. This has stronger offal flavours than other versions of this soup that we have tried around town.
Watergate Chicken - $8 - Thai style Hainanese chicken rice. A great version of one of our favourite dishes: the poached chook is moist and there's a nice subtle chicken flavour to the rice, which is a blend of regular and sticky rice. The sambal has a nice bite and even the soup is pretty good. Not sure what Richard Nixon has to do with it.
Duck noodle soup - $12. A generous serve of duck, a whole maryland, in a sweet meaty broth with five spice/star anise flavours. There's a couple plain tasting mushrooms and blood cubes which you can easily turf if blood cubes aren't your thing. Always a fan of Thai duck noodle soup.
This is a "I'll have what she's having", ordered by pointing at a neighbouring diner's plate. It's pork, sweet pork neck we think, cooked to a light crisp; served with a spicy chili and eggplant paste and sticky rice. $12. Terrific.
Ya Wa Rat noodle salad - $8. A stew of pork mince and tofu on top of flavour soaking flat rice noodles - more like spag bog with rice noodles than a salad. Not mind blowing on it's own but great zinged up with the supplied chili and fish sauce.
Tom yum ma-now - $8. A hot and sour soup with pork mince, fish balls, fried wontons and your choice of noodle: thin rice, egg or fresh (flat) noodles. The fish balls have a good bite without the bounce.
Khun Sri Lerd Moo - $8. A thin clean peppery soup with pork blood jelly and offal. There are no noodles in this soup so you might want to share or get a serve of rice with it. The intestines are clean flavoured and the blood jelly isn't overpowering.
Crab fried rice - $8. 'Crab fried rice in the style of "Muang Tong" in Bangkok'' says the menu. The rice is nice and light, the flavour reminds us of the Chinese classic of salted fish fish fried rice. Don't expect a heap of crab, it's a flavouring more than a meat addition.
There's changing monthly specials which are worth checking out and going back for. We haven't exhausted our eating here by any means.
Rim Thanon Thai Street Food is at 40-50 Campbell Street, Haymarket - www.rimtanon.com.au - phone 02 9211 2025.