Bangkok, caramelised port belly, fish cakes, kung pad pong kra ree, moo palo, Phuket, sang kha ya fuk-thong, street food, Sukhumvit Soi, Sukhumvit Soi. 38, Thai, Thai food, Thai street food
I had walked past Sukhumvit Soi. 38 in Pulteney Street so many times and the sign promoting Thai Street Food always caught my eye. With fond memories of holidays in Bangkok and Phuket, today was the day to reminisce. Named after the famous street food address in Bangkok (which is facing closure), Soi.38 aims to bring the best of Thai street food to Adelaide.
I love the simple décor of this small restaurant. The black walls and tables are offset with bright yellow highlights and large windows along the northern and western walls allowing plenty of light.
With 18 tables available, varying from two to four seaters, the restaurant quickly filled up for lunch. There were three menus to choose from: the lunch menu, the specials and the regular menu.
For entrée we had fish cakes (from the regular menu) with house made sweet chilli sauce. The five fish cakes were just warm and quite chewy but had a strong lemongrass flavour. The sweet chilli sauce was full of sticky sweet flavour without the heat.
From the specials menu we had moo palo: the slow cooked caramelised pork belly with five spice, lemongrass, galangal, coriander root and egg. The broth had a nice depth of flavour and the pork was soft and tender. I expected the rind to be crisp and crunchy, but instead it was soft and didn’t look appealing enough to eat. Nevertheless, the pork was chunky, soft and tasty, and this was an enjoyable meal. The five spice wasn’t anything special, but it had some heat for those who need a kick of chilli.
Also from the specials menu we had kung pad pong kra ree: South Australian king prawns stir-fried in curry powder, egg, onion, celery, chilli, coconut milk and coriander. The prawns were very big and meaty and served with the head and tails intact. The coconut milk sauce pooling on the bottom of the plate was only luke warm so most of the heat was in the prawns themselves. The sauce was full of flavour but a little heavy on the salt.
As much as we really didn’t need dessert I was intrigued by the sang kha ya fuk-thong: steamed pumpkin filled with sweet coconut custard. I could understand how these flavours would combine and I was curious to see how it would be executed. The quarter slice of pumpkin was filled with baked coconut custard. The pumpkin was soft but still holding its form and the custard sat nicely inside. There wasn’t really anything special about the pumpkin itself – it tasted just like pumpkin. The baked custard was sweet and flavoursome but it was quite thick and not normally what I’d expect from a custard. This dish was interesting and I’m glad I tried it, but I’m not sure I would order it again.
All the dishes were served warm but not steaming hot like some of the other dishes served to other tables. The staff were friendly and attentive and kept busy with the lunch time crowd. There’s certainly plenty on the menu and I enjoyed the flavours of each of my dishes, even if they weren’t what I’d describe as perfect. I look forward to returning to try more of what Sukhumvit Soi. 38 has to offer.