Chat Thai seems to have a bit of a cult status amongst hardcore Thai food lovers though this is the first time I've ever been. Chat Thai in Haymarket has the reputation as "the best Chat Thai" (probably as it's been around for the longest) but as I was dining with Miss M who works at the big end of town we choose to dine at their Westfield branch as it's a shorter walk in her power-heels and just a short ride up what has to be the longest escalator in Sydney.
Chat Thai's style of cooking focuses on traditional Thai street food, which we all know is the best kind of food. Street food is often the most delicious and the most authentic experience you'll have of a culture whilst traveling. It's what the locals eat and it allows us, as visitors, a brief insight in to their food and way of eating.
We start of with some pretty metal cups filled with water. At first I didn't realise these were water cups. What did I think was in the cup then? Umm, no idea so it seemed a fair call to order a cool, tall glass of coconut juice that came topped with slithers of fat, chewy coconut flesh. I love these drinks that are sort of a drink and dessert rolled all in to one.
First cab of the rank for entrees is the todt mun goong gaeng keaw. Translation for those of us who cannot speak Thai is fried green curried prawn mousseline, drizzled with pickled plum sauce ($16.00).
Next up is a serve of fresh spring rolls ($12.00) - no translation needed. I really REALLY liked these. The skin was almost like a popiah wrap (in layman's terms popiah is kind of like a fresh Malaysian spring roll) that is common in Malaysian cuisine . The roll is filled with all sorts of fresh and flavoursome goodies such as smoked fish sausages, chicken and crab. The roll is then drizzled with a caramelised tamarind relish that is tart and sticky.
The mhu grob padt prik khing ($15.00) was suggested to me by a few people on twitter - so thanks Adam + Swah as this is one of the best things I've eaten in a long time. Pieces of stir fried crisp pork belly come served in a wild ginger red curry paste . This was such a flavoursome dish....quite sweet rather than spicy which I was expecting from the red curry paste. And, finding tasty little morsels of crispy crackling was....well, it was delicious!
Another twitter recommendation was the gai yaang ($14.00) - char grilled turmeric and lemongrass marinated chicken with smoked chilli and tamarind relish. I liked that this dish seemed simple on the surface but the chicken was moist with a lovely fresh flavour from the tamarind.
Chat Thai is on Level 5, 188 Pitt Street - Westfield Sydney.