Yogi, Foodie, Editor and Writer. I blog/edit at thescientificyogi.wordpress.com
Enjoy authentic Thai food in Perth without the heat
Sawadee! That is "Hello" in the Thai language. I was very happy to be invited by the Thai Australian Association of Western Australia to their fortnightly Thai Food Feteat Asia House last weekend. I brought along my friend W, who is an absolute Thai foodie (She has gone to Thailand 3 times alone this year!).
Located at 275 Stirling Street, Highgate, the event is fairly non-descript. W and I parked our cars at the 1P free carpark just behind and walked a short 200m towards Asia House. We were guided in by a Singha beer umbrella – it is a Thai beer and we knew we hit the right spot the moment we walked into the halls of Asia House. It was that familiar smell of fish sauce and spices swirling in the air. Oh my.
We were greeted by Saowarak, our hospitable Thai host at the event. She introduced the stallholders to us and the objectives for holding the fete. Other than to promote Thai culture and food, it is also to promote unity in the Thai community in Perth and raise their profile. The event is not for profit, as I clearly observed from its pricing.
The fair was hardly crowded, though we went in at lunch time, which is great! It turns out that most people take away their food. Just look at the number of bags this dude and his partner bought!
There were 8 stalls that sold easily more than 5 different dishes each (And there weren't any repeats either!). The fete brought together the best of Thai food – there is more to Thai food than Phat Thai or Tom Yum soup!
I was most impressed by the "fish pie". Not only is it pretty, but it is also equally tasty. Made with mackerel fish flakes, curry and coconut, this steamed dish packs a real spicy punch. The best part is how there is some cabbage hidden at the bottom of the fish pie and it has soaked up all the beautiful juices from the mackerel and spices. This is easily my favourite with its authentic taste. The price for this is at a value for money $7 only. I bought some to my friend's dinner party at night and she was so impressed that she finished almost the entire box herself.
Saowarak told me herself that "kway chap" is possibly the best dish in the whole fair, but it hasn't garnered the support just yet because the soup base is brown and the dish doesn't look that impressive. But my gosh, when I took the first spoonful of soup... This dish had me. It was rich in terms of the taste, but was not oily. The pork slices simply tore apart when I used my spoon to prod at it. This is the result of either hours of braising or a really good pressure cooker. Either ways, I loved this. There was some fried garlic topping and its bitterness really tied the entire dish together beautifully. I'd personally recommend that some dried chilli flakes be tossed on if you are able to take spicy food. It will add an extra punch!
Other than eating, I got to meet the wonderful Thai stallholders and their wonderful families. I got to talk a little more to Anna, who told me that she prepared more than 10 dishes on her own with her daughter Natasha and some other family members help.
The preparation is clearly effortful and Anna told me that it took her family the whole day to put the food together. It is out of the hospitable Thai spirit that they want to present the best to their guests of the day. The chicken skewers she sold was priced at only $2 for 2 sticks. I have to highlight some of the other dishes that Anna's put together as well, they are absolutely brilliant.
This is a technically difficult dish. While I did not actually get to try it, Anna told me that its made with glass noodles, corn and chicken. Its usually made with minced prawn, but because there are people who can be allergic to it, she made a change to the dish. You get chicken wrapped in chicken! Haha. Still the luscious gold fried chicken looks delectable. I must try it at my next trip down.
"Som tum" or green papaya salad is almost a staple at most Thai meals. Due to its sourness, it is a great appetiser. I was amazed by the authenticity of the tools that the stallholders had! Its the real deal. Needless to say, W loved her "som tum", which she ate happily with some glutinous rice that a stallholder offered to her.
I took home Kanom Peeak Pom or "black coconut slice" and it was amazing. Made of rice and tapioca flour, this chewy dessert is actually coloured using burnt coconut husks (as I found out online). I am not sure how they colour the dessert at the fete, but it was fragrant and very soft to the bite. It wasn't too sweet and the grated coconut added a gentle nutty flavour to it. Sadly, I didn't take any photos of this.
If you are feeling experimental, you can always try Yum Lab Meau Nang or Spicy Chicken Feet Salad. I don't actually eat chicken feet, but hey... If you are up to it, its sold there! For the less queasy, there's the usual Thai hits like Phat Thai (Fried Kway Teow), Red and Green Curries.
Siri, the beautiful stallholder, served us with some great Thai dessert like black glutinous rice with coconut milk and steamed cassava cake. Sadly, Tub Tim Krob or Thai Red Rubies were not on sale when we visited. But there's always next time. The desserts were luscious with flavours nicely unfoiled by the saltiness in the coconut milk once again. Thank goodness for the spare room in my stomach!
As mentioned, lots of people takeaway and by the looks of it... They probably bought enough to last them through for the next fete! If you would like to make your own Thai food and don't know how to... Try getting started with organising a Thai sausage sizzle! One of the stalls was selling sausages that you can buy home to fire up your barbeque with.
W was pretty pleased needless to say about her fascinating Thai experience here in Perth and she was one happy customer. She bought a fair bit of food from the fete for her housemates to try and I bet she will be more than happy to come again to the fete to tide her over to her next Thailand outing.
I'd like to thank the Thai Australian Association of WA, Ms Saowarak and the lovely stallholders for their yummy food and hospitality last weekend. I will be so happy to be back again to enjoy a lovely weekend brunch at Asia House. Khob-kun-krub and I hope to see you soon.
Here's details of the next event: 14 and 27 October, 25 November and 9 December 2012, between 10am to 2pm.
We take the kids there every fortnight with our Thai and Laos friends. It is cheaper than flying over for a holiday but I leave just as satisfied, especially with my Ha Mok, Lap and Thai Herbal Sausage.
Next to going to temple it is hands down the best Thai experience in Perth.