I'm a teacher, musician, blogger and uni student living in Sydney and always dreaming about living & experiencing a new corner of the world. Visit my blog at www.jessiejournals.wordpress.com.
Published August 11th 2015
A perfect place for Thai street food in Sydney
Apart from their hipster culture and their invariably crowded pubs and shops, the thing Newtown's also famous for would be their Thai food. Walking along King Street- Newtown's central thoroughfare that gives it its reputation, my friend and I found Bangkok Bites at a convenient location near Newtown train station. We were first drawn in by a basket full of colourful menus outside, followed by a friendly greet by the door outside on a chilly night. It was at this point that we both looked at each other and nodded.
The interior was just as hip as the outside. With graffiti across the wall, dimmed lighting and a variety of contemporary furnishing to create a dynamic atmosphere.
Flipping through pages and pages of their many-hued menu, we were both struggling to decide on what we wanted. The menu consisted of various sections- little bites, exotic bites, first bites, noodles, rice dishes, duck dishes, vegetarian dishes. The list continues. In the end, we both narrowed our possibilities to 3 and had to revisit 'Eeny, meeny, miny, moe' to help us decide.
While the whole restaurant was chattering away, the open-kitchen provided customers with a full view of the chefs at work. Everyone cheered whenever a giant red flame filled the kitchen, adding to the vibrant ambience of the restaurant.
We first had a 'Kung Fu Fritters' ($8.90) to share from their '1st Bites' menu- dangerously delicious deep fried corn fritters, paired with tasty tofu wedges. All comes sprinkled with a crunch of peanut and tangy sweet dipping sauce. After an initial bite into the corn fritter, we were both salivating for more. The balance between the sweetness of the corn and the saltiness from the deep-frying was achieved, so there was nothing too overpowering in every bite. The tofu wedges were fried perfectly so that they were crunchy enough, but too crunchy either as I wouldn't like the diametrically opposing textures in one single piece of tofu. The "chips ball" as I would call it was also quite yummy and, needless to say, eccentric too. These individual pieces of chips were somehow cooked into a perfectly shaped sphere. As you take a bite, the crunchy sound would fill the whole table. I should also mention that the dipping sauce was the glue of the dish- the amalgamation of sweet chilli sauce and cashews combined well with every element on the plate. Overall, a distinctly mouth-watering dish to start the meal.
Our main meals arrived soon after that thanks to the efficient chefs who didn't even need verbal communication- they just seemed to know which aspect of the dish they were responsible for. My friend had a 'Satay Noodle' from their 'mix'n match' menu- a choice of meat stir-fried with peanut satay sauce, flat rice noodles, egg and fresh veggies- all finished off with a sprinkling of fried shallots. She chose to have duck with the dish, which came down to $19.90. The photo below does not do its size justice, but after an initial glance at the plate, she immediately stated: "I won't be able to finish this." The generous pieces of duck were not too oily, much to her liking. This was combined with the diverse variety of veggies that are unsparingly cut. All of which blended with the rich and flavoursome rice noodles. All in all, she gave the dish a massive thumbs-up.
I had a 'Beautiful Bangkok Noodle', also from their 'mix'n match' menu- flat rice noodles stir-fried with homemade creamy coconut, soy and garlic sauce. Basil leaves, eggs and cashews are thrown in to complete the taste. I settled to have it with veggies and tofu, which came down to $16.90. I loved the assorted types of vegetables in it. From looking at the picture below, I'm sure you will already see at least 5 different kinds of vegetables, plus more! The rice noodles had bags of tangy flavour that just melted in my mouth with every bite, whilst not being too oily at the same time. Furthermore, the enormous pieces of tofu and scattered beans gave the dish a contrasting yet equally as tantalising taste and aroma. The basil, eggs and cashews that were "thrown in" sure completed the taste with their freshness and pleasant surprise. On the whole, a very generous and vibrant dish filled with love for any day's indulgence.
Although my friend looked like she kept eating, the amount of food just didn't seem to diminish. She eventually managed to finish a quarter of the dish, while I managed about 3/4 of my dish. We noted before we started eating that her dish somehow seemed bigger! We inferred that it was because my massive but fewer pieces of vegetables took up a lot of space compared to her smaller yet denser pieces of duck, so make sure you're aware of that while you order! We did ask to box the remaining food home. They charged 50 cents per box, but they're enormous boxes guaranteed to fit even your whole meal in there. Luckily, I had a lunch box in my bag, and they were happy to pack the food in my own box. So... Tip: Bring your own container when you eat here, you'll DEFINITELY need it!
The staff here were also very welcoming and loving. They were always smiling, and constantly came around to every table despite the business and buzzing of the full restaurant. Hats off to them all!
The only downside to this restaurant is that they only accept cash. I'm attributing that restriction to the fact that Newtown is very hipster, and hipsters don't use credit cards. Actually, I'm not so sure, but ATMs are everywhere in Newtown, so there's nothing to worry about.
A visit to Bangkok Bites was ultimately a very pleasant and enjoyable experience. We bumped into a friend dining with his family while we were there, and when we saw him a couple of days later, he also complimented on the quality of the restaurant. We're already organising for another outing at Bangkok Bites- a perfect place in Sydney for Thai street food.