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Thanon Khao San

“Dude! You’ve gotta go to Thanon and get the crispy pork belly. Zomg the crackling!” was the advice that I’d received from fellow food blogger Chocolatesuze when asking around for lunch options in the city one day, or at least that’s how I’d recall it were I ever to write a “based on a true story”, straight-to-TV-movie version of events. The establishment she was referring to was Thanon Khao San, a Thai restaurant situated near the Capitol Theatre. Suze knows good pork belly, so I had to go and check it out for myself right away.

Months later (don’t judge), I finally made my way out to the restaurant to try this glorious pork belly for myself. Before the main event graced the stage, a deep fried chicken wing, Pik Kai Tod ($2.50) was placed before me; the opener to a three act matinee for one. This overcooked, leather-fried disappointment had slits running along the wing; an attempt at black humour I’d imagine, as heat penetration was one of the few things this chewy chicken wing was not lacking.

Act 1 was loudly booed off stage, or perhaps quietly under ones breath as the plate was pushed to one side. booo… This did not bode well for the rest of the meal.

By contrast, Act 2 made its entrance as a rather large unexpected surprise, literally. A generous pitcher of Lychee Mint Blend ($3.90), a sweet and refreshing uptown slushie at downtown prices, was a meal onto itself.

It was a challenge more than a beverage. Though fraught with the perils of limited stomach capacity and brain freeze, it was one that was met and eventually overcome by the end of the meal.

The curtain rises for the final act – Khao Moo Krob ($8.90). It’s a name that will resonate in my head for as long as I can remember it (maybe a week). The description on the menu – crispy pork belly served with rice, soup and gravy plum sauce – really does not do this dish justice.

Slices of sweet, succulent pork belly, subtitled with a slate of crackling that gives with a little effort to a satisfying crunch. A small saucer of dark, sweet soy on the side serves as the perfect partner.

The supporting roles – steamed rice enrobed with a sweet plum sauce; a rich, flavourful pork soup with a subtle sweetness; and a garnish of fresh slices of cucumber and half a boiled egg – forms an ensemble that, along with the pork, isn’t just good value for money but is just good, regardless of cost. Each role has its part to play. The rice brings substance to the meal, the soup some body and warmth, whilst the garnishes serve to refresh the palate.

Looking back on this meal, while there were some highs and a seriously regrettable low, on balance were I to condense the essence of this theatre of food down to a single line, I’d imagine it’d be along the lines of:

“Dude! You’ve gotta go to Thanon and get the crispy pork belly. Zomg the crackling!”

Thanon Khao San (Haymarket)
413 Pitt Street, Haymarket
(02) 9211 1194

Trading Hours
Sun-Wed: 11am-11pm
Thurs-Sat: 11am-3am

View the heart of food: map

Thanon Khao San on Urbanspoon

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Wendy @ obesebaby May 30, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I went to this place once but was disappointed and then just received a voucher to get 2 main for lunch for $10 so will give it another go and trying the pork belly this time
    Wendy @ obesebaby recently posted..Spicy lamb Mince Tagine

    • Simon May 30, 2011, 5:38 pm

      Sorry to hear it. What did you have that was so disappointing?

  • Apple @Polkadotsandchopsticks May 30, 2011, 2:00 pm

    The great thing about sydney city is all the amazing little food joints there are to be discovered! The pork belly looks like it would just melt in your mouth :)

    • Simon May 30, 2011, 5:38 pm

      The pork belly is a bit firmer than that but it’s still pretty awesome :)

  • Raff (Ramen Raff) May 30, 2011, 2:46 pm

    Dude! OMG crispy pork belly!
    On as scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate the Khao Moo Krob dish?

    • Simon May 30, 2011, 7:20 pm

      Hmm… if I were a rating sort of person, maybe a 4-4.5 over all, though I have a pork belly & crackling bias :)

  • Tina@foodboozeshoes May 30, 2011, 6:54 pm

    That lychee thing is crazy – for one???
    My mouth is admittedly watering for the pork belly though….. :P

    • Simon May 30, 2011, 7:21 pm

      Yeah, though it was enough for two.

  • Heather May 30, 2011, 11:44 pm

    Zomg, indeed! The pork belly looks so yum — but so does the wing! Sorry to hear it was a fail.

    And I totally thought that PITCHER of lychee goodness was for another table. How can you drink that much, but then again, how can you let it go to waste?!

  • chocolatesuze May 31, 2011, 12:31 pm

    heh my hood! i come here so often for the pork belly lunch special and with the pineapple blend

  • Phuoc'n Delicious May 31, 2011, 12:47 pm

    Mmmmm.. that pork belly dish sounds great! I’ve only been here once but I think I need to go back for that dish

  • Sara @ Belly Rumbles May 31, 2011, 4:44 pm

    That pork belly looks so scrumptious, tender, juicy and crisp. Will have to try it.

  • betty May 31, 2011, 9:38 pm

    looks gr8! my friend says the desserts there are the best!

  • sugarpuffi June 1, 2011, 1:13 am

    ohh~this is not far from where i work! i should go and grab one of these lychee blend. looks delish!

  • chopinandmysaucepan June 2, 2011, 3:10 am

    The pork belly looks decent but I’m not sure about the rice with sweet plum sauce though.

  • mademoiselle délicieuse June 10, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I always call this place tuk-tuk Thai… =p And that drink looks like it’s definitely made for sharing! *faint* Not that I mind brain-freeze…

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