FOOD is fashion . FASHION is food . a VICTIM of fashionable food*

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thai Pothong*

"Winner of the Best Thai Restaurant in Sydney 4 years in a row,
Thai Pothong (Golden Pho Leaf) refers to the “Pho” tree under which Buddha became enlightened.
In the 19th Century, King Rama V deemed knives to be a symbol of battle and could not be used at the table.
This is why Thai food is prepared bite-sized, and it is customary to eat with a spoon and fork!"

To discover the essence of Thai cuisine, it is without question that one must venture to King Street in Newtown. There is a never-ending stretch of Thai restaurants littered along this main road, which are literally located right next to each other. During lunch hours, most places offer a $6 lunch special to attract Sydney University students to make the trek down the road for some quick cheap eats. But that is another food journey for another day!

The first challenge was to locate Thai Pothong amongst the myriad of Thai restaurants. Think of it like finding a needle in a haystack, or as I would say, like taking a bite out of a macaron without eating the whole thing- basically Impossible! Finally we see their trademark green pot plants and bright signs outside. Sliding open the glass doors to walk inside, it feels like I have just entered a fine dining restaurant in the heart of Thailand. In every corner something quirky catches the eye: Benjarong artefacts, exotic wall tapestries, wood carvings, original paintings from Thailand, and golden buddha statues- just to name a few.

Khow Suay
Endless steamed Jasmine rice for everyone
(Contained in a beautiful silver urn, just because.)

Peeg Gai Mom Mae
Stuffed Chicken Wings Filled With Minced Chicken, Vermicelli, Black Mushrooms and Sweet Chilli Sauce
(Looks like ordinary fried chicken wings upon first glance. However, a cross sectional view reveals the chicken wing has been deboned and filled with a moist mixture of chicken with vegetables.)

Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork
Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli, Crispy Pork and Fresh Chilli in Yellow Bean Sauce

Northern Thailand Jungle Curry
Spicy Chicken, Combination of Vegetables and Hot Basil
(The fun begins when the spiciness kicks in. Be prepared for your tastebuds to be inflamed: as the normal combination of chicken, curry, vegetables and basil becomes abnormally tasty.)

Pla Gra Tiam
Whole Deep Fried Fresh Snapper with Garlic and Black Pepper Sauce


Baked Egg Custard
Taro, Homemade Coconut Ice Cream with Jackfruit Flavour
(Baked egg custard is served warm with a smooth creamy texture. In contrast, the coconut icecream is obviously chilled, and contains strings of fresh jackfruit.)

Stuffed Rambutan with Pineapple
Lychee, Homemade Coconut Ice Cream with Jackfruit Strings and Lychee Sorbet
(The slight sourness of the lychee sorbet balances well against the sweetness of the deseeded lychees.)

Kao Neaw Mamoung
Steamed Thai Black Sticky Rice Served with Fresh Mango and Desiccated Coconut
(My favourite dish for the night, both in presentation and taste. Thin mango slices were arranged to form the shape of a yellow rose, and definitely looked too good to eat! Underneath is a layer of black sticky rice topped with coconut milk that was a bit too sweet for me. But a glass of water later, and the dish was finished!)

Throughout the night, our dinner conversations were punctuated by the staff bursting into a chorus to sing Happy Birthday to a fellow diner. For the birthday cake, Thai Pothong offers a special party ice cream decorated with fresh seasonal fruits, candles, and sparklers to make celebrations extra festive. When we asked for the Bill, we were pleasantly surprised to find complementary Thai Pothong Dollars to use at the Gift Shop!*

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Thai Pothong Restaurant and Gift Shop
294 King Street, Newtown
(02) 9550 6277
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