Archive for the 'Thai' Category

Sydney Last Day: Sydney fish market and Cronuts

I am blogging my final post on Sydney just before I’m about to fly to Singapore for our sisters weekend, woohoo! The daitaoha sisters are all based in Perth now and it’s been pretty amazing…

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Ok back to Sydney. It was our last day in Sydney and probably my favourite day of all. We knew we were going to Sydney fish market for our seafood brunch. It was pretty easy getting there using the light rail system which was located at the Central station.

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A short ride away and we were there! I was quite surprised that we could only buy the light rail tickets when we were on the carriage itself with ticket guards approaching each passenger to issue tickets during the journey. Talk about an honesty system.

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Sydney fish market map. The market looked very big on the map, but really, the retail section of the market that was open to public was pretty small and not what I expected at all.

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The majority of customers were Chinese tourists, trust the Chinese to know where to find good food. You could see many tourists posing with their giant crabs before digging into a giant plate of noodles with steamed crab.

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I loved ogling at all the seafood on display. Giant swordfish for sale.

_DSC3736 (Medium)Prawn galore.

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Our favourite stalls were the sashimi counters, I wanted to buy everything because the seafood all looked so fresh and yummy.

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Lobsters and giant prawns all very popular with the tourists. They also had cooked food counters where many people bought the pre grilled lobsters with cheese.

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Another favourite! Oysters priced by size and variety. They were all quite affordable, around $17 per dozen for rather large oysters.
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Our oyster brunch! These oysters were sooo good, fresh and creamy, we were so tempted to go back to buy another tray but resisted.

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Tuna at $99.99 per kg. This was gorgeous too and even better than salmon.

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We took the lightrail back to the Star Casino. The casino itself wasn’t overly impressive (Crown Perth is better) but the only reason why I was there was due to Adriano Zumbo of macaron, croquembouche tower, V8 cake Masterchef fame.
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Bright, colourful and minimalistic. That’s how I would describe Zumbo’s patisserie which had his famous desserts on display.
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Can’t leave Zumbo’s without buying some boxes of macarons for friends and family.
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I’m not a big macaron fan finding them too sweet but R likes macarons a lot and he enjoyed these.

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Instead of the cronut (croissant and donut hybrid that was all the craze last year), we had the zonut (as in Zumbo’s cronut).

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Behold the Zonut! I had mine with a lovely cup of coffee, it was the ultimate afternoon treat.
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I’m not sure I would line up for hours for these, but I did like the croissant flaky texture and the sugary glazed sinfulness of donut. Best washed down with a smooth cup of hot coffee.
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Afterwards we headed back to Pitt Street for the shopping malls. Where to for an early dinner? None other than the ever popular Chat Thai famed for their tasty, affordable Thai food. We went to their Westfield branch and luckily there wasn’t the usual crowd because were so early.

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I had the gai yaang ($12.50) which is char grilled turmeric and lemongrass marinated chicken with smoked chilli and tamarind relish. It was well marinated and really tasty. I loved the relish too which was great with the rice.
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R had the boat noodles soup ($12.50) which was delicious, full of flavour and packed a punch, very similar to what you would get in Thailand. I was really pleased we managed to get to Chat Thai and happy that it lived up to the hype. Can’t wait to go back and try all the other dishes.

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And that wasn’t even the end to our wonderful Sydney food experience! We bought this pack of sashimi takeaway from the fish market and had it at the airport haha. It was worth it and the perfect ending to what was a glorious long weekend in Sydney.

Yeah, can’t wait for all the good food and family time in Singapore! We will be meeting up with my parents too so it will be wonderful, started to get excited (*____*).

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Ahoy Matey!

It’s been a while since I’ve done any creative cooking in the kitchen :(.

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I’m no where near diminishing my 30 must-cook list, so far I’ve only cooked one out of the 30, but I promise I will do one more this week. Instead, I have been relying on my old-time favourites, such as this teriyaki beef onion, tamagoyaki and stir fried cabbage and carrot bento.

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But at least I have been trying new food places! This is Tao Cafe, which while not actually new (they have branches in Myaree and Innaloo), is pretty new in Victoria Park. Already it is very popular and was buzzing on Saturday night. The upside of Tao? They have a wide variety on their menu ranging from Vietnamese, Thai to Japanese (they even have a sushi train). The downside? Jack of all trades, master of none. The Pho Tai above was very average, in fact, while the broth was alright, their noodles were not the usual smooth rice noodles that we’re used to from the Vietnamese fare in Northbridge. Prices also on the higher side (around $15.50 – 18.00 for a dish) compared to their counterparts in Northbridge.

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HC’s Com Tam ($15.00) broken rice with pork chop, egg and shredded meat. His first reaction was ‘very salty’ haha, so I guess that means it was pretty tasty.

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I have to say that the presentation of Tao’s dishes were all very appealing and nice, the orange hue of the rice of my Com Ga Chien Don ($15.50) a crispy chicken with rice and sweet and sour sauce, was very pretty. Unfortunately I’m not sure what they put in the rice to get that nice colour because the rice itself was rather bland and didn’t taste of anything much. It was much better after I mixed in the sweet and sour sauce which tasted like sweet chilli sauce.

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Jo enjoyed her Pineapple Fried Rice ($15.00) and said that she would return in the future. While the food was only average and portion perhaps on the smaller side, I can see why Tao Cafe is popular in the neighbourhood especially with its BYO policy, good location and bright cozy interior. I think it will be here to stay.

Tao Cafe
Shop 1, 860 Albany Highway,
East Victoria Park 6101
Phone: 08 9361 1100
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All aboard! A different Sunday evening in Fremantle. The guys accompanied me on a work function of a different kind (no, I am not a sailor) which saw us board the Leeuwin II.

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Baby was dressed up in his Sunday nautical best for the voyage haha.

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Lots of romantic stories regarding the Leeuwin. My colleague once proposed to her husband on board the Leeuwin II.

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The tiny bunks down below. No individual cabins or captain quarters here.

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The whole family on the decks of Leeuwin II. I wish my parents were here, I think they would have enjoyed a tour around this little ship. Ah well, two more weeks till they arrive and we can go fishing in Freo. Bon voyage!

Bangkok Day 1: Pratunam

We arrived in Bangkok mid morning. We had several options for getting to the hotel from the Suvarnabhumi Airport including using the airport rail link which connects to Bangkok’s fantastic BTS Skytrain system. Instead we chose the fuss free method of catching a public taxi. For fellow travellers, don’t get conned by the fake taxi drivers waiting for you outside the arrival hall, instead, head to Level 1 and follow the signs outside to the Public Taxi stand where you will be given a ticket listing your taxi driver’s details.

Your total taxi fare will include toll charges (70 Baht), airport pick up surcharge (50 Baht) and your meter fare (ours was 250 Baht). It cost us 370 Baht in total to get to our hotel in Pratunam. Please note that there is no airport surcharge to be paid for the return leg to the airport.
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Citin Pratunam Hotel was our humble abode for the rest of the trip. Very affordable and located conveniently in Pratunam (10 mins walk to Platinum Mall). Overall Citin is situated in a good area if your main destination is Platinum Fashion Mall, they provide a free tut-tut service every half an hour which sends you to Platinum or the nearest BTS station (Ratchathewi sstation for us). However it also requires quite a bit of maneuvering through crowded streets /markets to get to the main road. Citin is situated along a narrow alleyway lined with food stalls (good part) which makes it difficult for vehicles to get in and out (bad).

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Their wifi was patchy at best, but they also have PCs for use in the lobby. The staff were very good though, friendly and conversant in English. There’s also a tour agency booth at the lobby, a currency exchange office outside the hotel and a tailor shop!

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The hotel room wasn’t spacious, but bright, clean and neat so that was good enough for me.

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Once we were settled, we headed straight out to explore the nearby surroundings. While we were initially not hungry, the enticing smell of food wafting out from all the nearby stalls called to us. We only lasted about 10 metres before sitting down at one of the stalls for some food. First meal in Bangkok had to be none other than Tom Yum! It was spicy, sour and all things Tom Yum should be.

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I ordered Pad Thai, one of my favourite Thai dishes. Not sure whether it was because it was the first meal in Bangkok, but I reckon this was the best Pad Thai that I had in Bangkok. Everything was bursting with flavour and so tasty. The best thing was not feeling like you had to gulp down gallons of water to wash out tell tale signs of MSG afterwards.

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This is Pantip Mall, also known as the IT Mall in Bangkok. So as you can guess, the whole mall was just filled with IT accessories and all things computer related. This is where I would recommend all geeky computer nerds to go.

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I wasn’t in the market for IT goods, so Pantip Mall was a quick scan and we headed for more important things like PLATINUM FASHION MALL! Dear sisters and female friends, this is THE place you go to for shopping heaven. I will put up some pics of the shops in the mall in future posts (I visited it err.. close to everyday) but this is six floors (two buildings btw) crammed with little shops selling all kinds of fashion at wholesale prices, shoes, bags, accessories, clothes. You will get lost but I discovered the system (ok, R did, I’m not so organised) of making sure you don’t miss out on a single shop, the mall is spilt into zones, floors and numbered lanes, so just go by number and you won’t miss anything.  And the bonus attraction, they have a great food court on Level 6!

Platinum Fashion Mall and Pantip Mall is located on Phetchaburi Road.

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Shockingly, I didn’t buy anything from Platinum on the first day.. because I hadn’t exchanged any money yet. So that was my next destination. The best currency exchange place offering the best rates in Pratunam is Super Rich, which is located next to this Big C supermarket opposite the Central World shopping plaza. Don’t forget to bring your passport or photo id to Super Rich.

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After getting our $$$, we escaped the heat by exploring Big C. April is the hottest month in Bangkok, obviously we found out too late and it was really very hot and humid. So when I spotted this Swensens at the ground floor of the Big C building, I knew we were going to get some sundaes.

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I’ve never been a big fan of Swensens. I remember reading a Bangkok travel blog where the author stressed that Swensens was her must eat place in Bangkok because it’s so much cheaper than Swensens in Malaysia. Haha, being such a cheapskate, that point stayed with me. They had great looking posters of their summer specials which was all about mango too, so we had a summer mango sundae. It was actually really nice (69 baht) and very Thai with green coconut milk infused glutinous rice and mango icecream.

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This was our main purchase from Big C hahaha.

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Bangkok traffic is terrible, especially around the Pratunam area, it’s just jam packed with vehicles. Which adds to the overall heat of the vicinity.

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Central World, which according to Wiki is the third largest shopping center in the world. Hmm.. it didn’t feel that big to be honest. My first impression of Central World wasn’t great. I mean it was definitely lush and clean and big, just like those Singaporean shopping malls, but there wasn’t much to buy besides the big branded stuff (Wendy and Jason, they have Zara there) and I’m more about bargain goods. I changed my mind a couple days later and Central World soon became our second most visited mall besides Platinum.

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What changed my mind about Central World? It wasn’t just because there’s an ice skating rink in Central World. They also have Mister Donut. (^__^). Beard’s Papa creampuffs (^__^). BreadTalk (^___^). 399 Baht international buffets.  And a fantastic cinema.

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Back outside in the heat. The outside of Central World is also pretty great. Locals can be seen praying at the shrine in front of the plaza any time of the day. In fact there seem to be more people praying late at night. At night, stalls selling knick knacks like flowers, clothes, belts, sunnies line the street. And then there’s the food carts and the seafood stalls with bbq whole fish on the racks.

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Time to head back to the hotel. This husband and wife combo became a daily sight on our way back to the hotel with their food stall located along the narrow alleyway. They sell oyster omelette and pad thai which somehow are always sold together in Bangkok. Eash dish costs 30 Baht.

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Dinner is tasty.

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And so is dessert of fresh mango and sticky rice, also bought from one of the food carts along the street.

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First day in Bangkok, first Chang beer in Bangkok. Guess how many beers he went through in our days in Bangkok?

Winner wins a crystal elephant. Just kidding, I couldn’t find a crystal elephant anywhere! Hope you enjoyed the first Bangkok post!

Weekend feasting: Dizzy Witch & Ying Thai

This weekend I didn’t have just one but two foodie adventures. Somehow weekends have evolved into ‘trying out new places’ with my makan gang. I already have a breakfast place scouted for next Saturday, anyone up for it?
dizzy witch

This Saturday it was the Dizzy Witch cafe which I’ve passed by many times(en route to Phi Yen) and always wanted to try because of their cute name. The cafe itself is spacious and comfy, definitely a good place to have coffee or breakfast with a bunch of friends.
coffee

Weekend coffees always taste especially good probably because I’ve given up on my daily work coffees. I’m also partial to coffees made from Five Senses coffee beans and nice latte art, so this one went down well.
fetta cheese

My breakfast was a fetta cheese and spinach muffin, nothing to shout about but it satisfied my craving for a spinach something.
brek

The Warlock’s Last Meal ($18.50) is actually the Dizzy Witch’s version of the big breakfast, came with the usual condiments of bacon, eggs, sausages, mushrooms etc. I didn’t try this but had a bite of the potato rosti which was pretty good.
egg

Half serve of the Griselda’s Egg Benedict ($12), I know Jo enjoyed this dish.

eggs

Dizzy witch’s signature dish, Moroccan eggs ($15) which was fried eggs with home-made dukkah and hommus, mint, red onion and tomato relish on Turkish bread. I think Jason said this was pretty good but he has had better hommus elsewhere. I had a bite and found it refreshing (must be the mint) with a distinct spice (cumin?) flavour to it.

pie

Sometimes you just need a pie … and best if it’s a hot piping lamb curry pie. This was yummy and comfort food. Overall, the Dizzy Witch cafe was alright, the food wasn’t outstanding but  it was standard breakfast fare with pretty good coffee and a nice relaxing atmosphere.

The Dizzy Witch cafe
197 – 199 Brisbane St
Northbridge Perth, Western Australia, 6000

With all the new restaurants and cafes popping up around the Victoria Park Albany Highway cafe strip, Ying Thai is a bit of blink and miss. Having spotted it quite a few months ago, I’ve been meaning to try this Thai restaurant for quite a while

pad thai

The restaurant space is tiny, fitting maybe around 10 or less little tables. The lunch menu featured usual favourites such as green curry, red curry, pad thai etc. Almost all the guys ordered Pad Thai ($9.80) and found it alright. It wasn’t the best Pad Thai I’ve had, but all the guys agreed that it was tasty.
chicken

HC and I had the Kao-Mon Gai-Tod which is crumbed fried chicken with coconut rice and sweet chilli sauce ($10.80). I enjoyed this dish and found it really tasty, I mean how can you go wrong with fried chicken AND coconut rice, surely one of the most fattening combinations of all time?  The coconut rice was fragrant and lovely, going well with the sweet chilli sauce and crispy salty chicken. I would order this again.

tom yum

Jo had the Kway Teow Tom Yum Seafood ($11.80) which I thought was quite nice but she says she prefers Toto’s Tom Yum which I agree is more flavorful . I personally think Ying Thai is a great addition to the Victoria Park cafe strip, there aren’t enough little Thai restaurants around offering affordable individual meals. Their ala carte menu looks extensive and pretty good too with main dishes hovering around the $14 – 17 price range. I will definitely return.

Ying Thai
Shop 3/895 Albany Highway
East Victoria Park

pork

It wasn’t all eating out during the weekend. I also cooked a big pot of mei chai kou rou which was more mei chai than belly pork. I thought about buying a pressure cooker which would save so much time on braising these harder cuts of meat but then there’s the satisfaction of biting into the oh-so-tender texture of belly pork that can only come from hours of braising. Perhaps a pressure cooker would yield the same flavours and texture? I’m not sure. Ah Ma?

mei chai

The lunch bento the next day was soo comforting and good.

bittegourd

Tomorrow’s very traditional Chinese cooking bento of minced pork and mushroom in bean paste and stir-fried bittergourd with eggs. I never knew I would like bittergourd but now I’m a convert, I’m looking forward to it to lunch tomorrow(^___^).

Maggie comes to town

Last weekend Richard’s younger sister  Maggie came to Perth so we had a whirlwind tour of Perth during the weekend.I think we managed to capture the highlights of Perth pretty well in that short span of time but Maggie must be suffering from indigestion now because we ate and ate and ate ( = ^ ^ = )

Dinner started with our favourite Italian in town, Ciao Italia. We ordered the usual suspects, the risotto marinara, chilli mussels, but I tried a new dish at Ciao this time, the penne alla vodka which wasn’t as good as Il Ciao’s but still very tasty. It was a case of over ordering again so we had to ‘dapao’ quite a few things home at the end of dinner, but everyone still had space for a bit of tiramisu.

It was still light out when dinner was over so we headed over to Kings Park and UWA for a bit of photo taking. I always like it when people say that my alma mater is very pretty because it’s possibly one of my favourite places in Perth, besides Matilda Bay of course.

Day 2 Richard had to work so Jo and I brought Maggie out for a spot of shopping at Harbourtown. Perth was going through a heatwave then, it was so hot that all of us were kinda listless and tired. Luckily Japanese food at Hanami perked us up a bit and the guys all enjoyed their bento boxes. Brought Maggie to Burswood for some gambling but mostly we just took photos and basked in the atmosphere of whistling bells and chiming token machines.

The heat wave reached a peak on Sunday but the heat didn’t stop us from visiting the Fremantle sea port. This was the day where we over ate because we kept trying to hide in coffee shops, ice cream shops, any place with air conditioning . There wasn’t a cloud in the sky but it was so hot that even fish and chips were unappealing No one had much of an appetite but I did enjoy my usual soft cone twist.

We couldn’t go back without stopping by the famous Cottlesloe beach. But everyone in Perth had the same idea to go to the beach on that day and it was hard to find parking. I don’t understand why people flock to the beach on summer days, it’s still hot! I pretty much gave up by then and cowered under my umbrella while the brave sister and brother took photos around the Indiana Tea House.

No one had much of an appetite for dinner but S & T Thai Gourmet saved the day with their yummy curries, sweet and sour salads and sticky rice. Most importantly, they had strong air conditioning.

Monday it was back to work for Richard and I, Calv dropped Maggie in the city and I met up with her for lunch. Then it was dinner at home where Richard cooked scotch fillet steaks with sweet potato mash. My contribution was a new recipe of tofu topped with ricotta cheese, basil, bonito flakes, sesame seeds and drizzled with  a sweet sauce. Interesting combination which I would try again.

It was a very hot four days but I enjoyed showing Maggie around, she’s a cute girl with lots of funny lame jokes with mannerisms that are surprisingly similar to her brother’s. Hopefully it won’t be so hot the next time she visits Perth!

S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe

Not many people know this, but I actually really like Thai food. When Jo and I go home to Malaysia, our whole family loves going out for great Thai food in Kuching, I remember numerous birthday celebrations at Bangkok Thai and their must-order- in-advance mango chicken (so good) and the more recent favourite Pandan Delight at BDC. Their tom yum prawns are soo yummy. I love the Thai flavours of lemongrass, lime, fish sauce, galangal etc. I have been trying to infuse these sweet, sour and spicy flavours into my cooking, but of course, it’s nothing like the real thing.

Unfortunately, Thai food in Perth is quite pricey and definitely not as affordable or readily available as say Indonesion,Vietnamese or other South East Asian cuisine. So I was pretty happy when S & T opened up along the handy location of William Street, Northbridge and its menu included a range of affordable one-dish meals such as Pad Thai, or Red Curry with Rice for AUD$10 – $12.

I’ve heard Wendy say that they brought Xinlong and some friends to S & T and they were not impressed, especially disliking the small portions. So be forewarned, if you’re looking for giant portions of noodle/rice e.g. Taurus Hawker foods, this is not the place for you. Instead, if you’re looking for small/medium bowls of slightly sweet and spicy, coconut milk infused  flavourful green curry with rice (or in our case, noodles) for $10, then perhaps give S & T a try.

Their red curry with rice ($10) is more spicy than the green, but still deep flavours with nice tender chicken pieces. Good drenched with rice.

One thing I don’t like about S & T, the giant amounts of peas they put in their curries, the peas are rather hard and bitter, I’m not sure what they add to the curries, but we had to pick them all out and they pretty much too up the whole bowl. Also another recommendation for S & T, please beautify your menu, it’s messy and difficult to read, even ‘justify-ing’ the word document would make a huge difference.

I’ve since walked past S & T many times, and everytime it’s packed with Thai locals, so I’m assuming that’s a thumbs up for the authencity and flavour of its food? Personally I’m glad there’s an affordable Thai cafe where we can pop in for a taste of Thai under $15, so I hope it stays for a while.

Daitaoha ratings:

Food 6.5/10 daitaohas

Service 6/10 daitaohas

S&T Thai Gourmet Cafe

3/349 William Street Perth 6000

Tel: (08) 9328 8877

On another note,it’s the end of the weekend and I feel pretty miserable about the week ahead. I am trying my best to dish up some excitement, but truly, I feel like this ↓


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