13 June 2012

Caysorn Thai ~ Chinatown

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 d├ęcor 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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  1. Happy birthday Shawn. I trust you enjoyed the sticky rice.

    Congrats to all concerned for this post.

    Great to see that that a southern Thai place in Sydney offers Isaan snag (is this the equivalent of grilled Tassie salmon in Cairns?) I'd stay away from the Singha beer (or, Chang for that matter - drink Chang, wake up with Changover). If i can get hold of it, Beer Lao, is always my choice (Laos, Thailand or Cambodia).

    Goodness, that Goor Paer Tod, looks wonderful. Another place to add to my list for my next visit to Sin City.

    My last ( recent) memory of southern Thailand is characterised by 200 or so armed Thai Army soldiers paraded on the main platform of Hat Yai railway station at around 7 am (and yes,many of them were eating fish balls on sticks ((or similar street food)) while having a cup of coffee in the the other hand). Very Thai.


    Trev of Canberra

  2. I agree re the evils of Thai beer. Bintang is my fave from Southeast Asia.

  3. Went here the other day it it was great! had the $5.50 kanom jeen and it was sensational. more authentic than any other thai places I have been in Sydney which seem to be chinese-thai (no fishy taste, no chilli, no sour) I couldn't eat it all and got to have it all over again as a snack later. yumm!

  4. +1 on the topic of Thai beer - I was told it contained preservatives, including stuff that is used as cooling liquid in the refrigerators... this would certainly explain the hangovers which I experienced as well! So I avoid this stuff and it's not like we have a shortage of local, decent quality beers in Australia.
    The food looks very nice though, I'm going to head there soon. Thanks for the tip!

    1. Beer Chang gets a nasty rep for this and it's not our favourite Thai tipple. The Singha here tasted fine.

  5. What a gem this place is! Delicious food, decent servings, nice people... and I found it thanks to your blog. I owe you one! :)

    1. Thanks Andrew - it is a great venue and great value. Have a Singha for us next time you are there.


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).