WORD ON THE STREET

TUCKED INTO A ROW OF SHOPS IN A RES­I­DEN­TIAL NEIGH­BOUR­HOOD, THIS TINY THAI EATERY HAS BIG IDEAS ON FLAVOUR AND SER­VICE

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Kids love din­ing out, but it can get ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially as they get older. Once you get past the kids’ meals stage (and let’s face it minis­cule serves of spag bol or fish and chips wear thin pretty early on in life) and they start or­der­ing from main menus, it all gets a bit hairy.

It’s even worse when they be­gin to de­velop a sense of culi­nary ad­ven­ture, only to dis­cover be­lat­edly they’re not quite ready for the spicy beef ren­dang and now want some­thing else.

Ev­ery week par­ents ask me about af­ford­able qual­ity eat­ing for fam­i­lies.

Of­ten they’re seek­ing some­thing a lit­tle bit out of the or­di­nary, some­thing a bit finer than pub food, but not too fancy.

While Thai food has be­come main­stream, with a wide price scope, it is great to find a gem where the food is fresh and tasty, ser­vice quick and it’s light on the pocket.

Cue Thai Bangkok Street Food. Yes it’s a funny name, Bangkok’s in Thai­land, right? But it def­i­nitely should be taken se­ri­ously.

We ar­rive with our BYO full-bod­ied red pre­pared for some se­ri­ous spice (for adults only, it’s a fresh chilli on the side sit­u­a­tion).

Shown to a ta­ble for four in this diminu­tive restau­rant, we are seated at a sim­ple tim­ber ta­ble with clean white plas­tic cloth.

Bright red walls and the odd plant and knick knack are the only con­ces­sions to dec­o­ra­tion.

Wait staff are friendly and ef­fi­cient, bring­ing cold wa­ter and glasses, along with menus. There are a hand­ful of ta­bles in­side and a cou­ple on the pave­ment. It’s quite early on Wed­nes­day even­ing and there’s a steady trickle of dine-ins as well as a good reg­u­lar flow of take-aways.

We’re start­ing with chicken sa­tay sticks, six for six dol­lars seems crazy, but who are we to ar­gue? They’re crisp, tasty and pip­ing hot. The sa­tay sauce, on the wa­tery side is a bit bland.

Next a house spe­cialty, ta­marind duck, which is prov­ing pop­u­lar with other din­ers, is served with a hearty por­tion of steamed rice. Lightly sea­soned with ta­marind paste, the duck meat is thinly sliced and stir-fried with loads of fresh veg­gies in­clud­ing green beans, red pep­per, broc­coli, zuc­chini, mush­room, onion and bok choy. It’s clean eat­ing at its best and with a cou­ple of slices of chilli, it’s a hit.

The kids love a good pad thai and this one with chicken is packed with healthy veg­eta­bles, tofu cubes, glass noo­dles (not over-sauced), a wedge of lime for zing and plenty of crushed peanuts atop. On the pad thai scale it’s a 10.

We’ve or­dered green chicken curry and crispy pork, both of medium heat and while they’re quite tame in that re­gard, they’re still packed with flavour.

The curry, an ex­cel­lent ver­sion in co­conut cream with sliced bam­boo shoots, beans, pump­kin, broc­coli, basil and a hint of kaf­fir lime is an in­dul­gence. But the pork, crisped to per­fec­tion with sub­tle chilli, co­conut cream and again abun­dant veg­eta­bles, is its equal.

Rice is topped up for no ex­tra charge and it’s a lav­ish ban­quet we re­ally can’t fin­ish, not mat­ter how much we want to.

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