Thursday, 31 May 2012

ChonSiam Thai

he says: 

I spotted ChonSiam the previous night on my way to Yok Yor for dinner and after noticing the sign offering $4 Boat Noodles and Hoy Tod (Crispy Mussel Omlette) for $10.90 I knew it wasn’t going to be a long wait for my return to try both of these offerings. I asked the wait staff what time they opened secretly hoping that I might be able to enjoy the Hoy Tod for breakfast as I believe that it typically when it is eaten in Thailand. Sadly that wasn’t going to be an option as they open at 11 which really wasn’t a problem as I was always going to be back down that way for lunch anyway. If I’d been able to eat three meals a day in Haymarket I would have. 

I’ve tried a few variations of Hoy Tod including one with oysters in Bangkok and a few mussel versions in Melbourne and this was easily one of the best. For starters the serving was massive, much bigger than any I’ve enjoyed previously. I’m not normally one to get excited over large servings but I was having a late lunch and the banana I had for breakfast had long since lost its appetite suppressing effects. The ChonSiam Hoy Tod was much thicker and almost frittata like with crispy textural edges that yield to a soft creamy inner peppered with luscious plump mussels. The idea with Hoy Tod is that you literally drown the whole thing with Sriracha (Thai Chilli Sauce) then break off chunks of the omlette and devour it with the fresh crunchy sprouts. The awesomely huge serving of Sriracha seems excessive at first but I easily managed to empty the bowl. 

If I had found this dish in a Thai restaurant within walking distance of my work in Melbourne I would have returned multiple times to enjoy it and was trying to work out how I was going to have time to come back for it again while still finding time to try all the other dishes I’d seen that I had added to my must try list. Sadly this turned out to be my last encounter with ChonSiam’s Hoy Tod but at least I have the memories. This was just a truly wonderful meal, if you’ve never tried Hoy Tod you can’t go wrong at ChonSiam. I absolutely loved this dish, it was probably the best thing I ate during my short stay. 

Of course I wasn’t going to let the chance to try a bowl of $4 Boat Noodles pass me by. Regular readers will know of my obsession with this dish. So the next day I returned to ChonSiam and forked out my hard earned $4 for a bowl of Kuay Tiau Rua. ChonSiam offer pork and beef versions and while I would have loved to try both I had just finished a bowl of Kanom Jeen noodles with Jungle Curry Fish balls at Thanon Khao San so I opted for the pork. This was my last visit to Haymarket before I had to leave Sydney so I was literally cramming in as much as possible! The serving size isn’t large like I’ve seen at some Thai restaurants in Melbourne but also not as small as the Boat Noodle alley restaurants in Bangkok. It was somewhere in between and had I not just eaten I would probably have been comfortable with two bowls. The broth was very rich and quite dark and left me feeling a bit intimidated as both times I’ve cooked Boat Noodles at home I haven’t been able to achieve a broth with these qualities, obviously more practice is needed! After adding my usual seasonings of fish sauce, dried chilli and sugar I felt the broth was a bit salty, perhaps due to my heavy handedness with the fish sauce but this was easily balanced out by the addition of more sugar. The noodles were perfect with a nice springy texture, you might say they were cooked al dente. With pork balls and small cubes of what looked like fatty pork belly and crunchy kanna (chinese broccoli) rather than the usual pak boong (morning glory) I thought this was a very traditional and equally delicious rendition of Kuay Tiau Rua. For a measly $4 how can you go wrong, I know some places that sell a cup of coffee for more than that! And Guay Jub for only $6, oh if only I had more time… 

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