Thursday, 19 July 2007

Spice I Am

You could book a ticket to Koh Samui, sit in a deck chair, letting the squeaky fine grains of sand sift between your toes, shaded by a technicolour umbrella, iced coconut on your lap, looking out into the crystal blue waters watching the sunset out over the horizon. Getting dark and hungry, you head down the main road, avoiding the scantily clad hookers and greasy muffin top white men with short skirted hookers clinging to their arms, discovering a local open air restaurant to get into some Thai tucker. Or you could just pay for a bus fare to the fringes of Surry Hills and eat at Spice I Am. It’s a hole in the wall, sliding doors open out to let the breeze in. Heaters keep the diners on the pavement happy. A familiar sight of a line to get in, bring an Ipod to help pass the time. It’s not comfortable, hard wooden benches and stools greet your gluts, but it’s not meant to be at this high turnover business. Eat and GET OUT.

However the staff are friendly in the customary Thai manner. A snap of the fingers after they take your order, the plates start streaming out of the kitchen. Pad Prik Crispy Pork Belly is extremely popular and rightly so, the chilli, kaffir lime and other spices fried til aromatic and forming a dry curry attaching itself onto the crackling skin and soft pork meat. Thai Basil Chicken is akin to popcorn chicken with chilli tones. The Zinger looking piece of fried fish could have fooled me for KFC but was infinitely better, even more so with the mango infused salsa. Massaman curry, brimming with of cumin and tamarind, broke down the lovingly stewed beef cubes to a mashy existence. Papaya salad is not for the weak, though you can request for the heat to be cranked up or down. Refreshing from all that coconut milk. Finally, an off the menu item which is available if you ask politely is the duck red curry. Unusually presented in a hollowed coconut, its contents a rich blend of spice and herb taking on a deep red hue. Sweetened with lycees, the duck takes on all the flavours. Delicious. Lucky I came during the day when most drinks were available. The Rosella (a fruit which resembles a just bulbing rose), tasted much like blackcurrants, similar to that of Ribena (though the rest of the boys though it had the extra hint of soil). The longan looked a little strange. Needless to say bad jokes were made about it.

Sydney’s little secret and now you know about it. Now how do I get to Haad Rin from here?

4 / 5 yums!


Where? Shop 1, 90 Wentworrth Ave, Surry Hills

What? Average Main - $14

Left to Right : Rosella, Ice Tea, Longan, Massaman Beef Curry, Papaya Salad, Duck Red Curry, Pad Prik Crispy Pork Belly, Basil Crispy Chicken, Fish… ?

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