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Friday, July 13, 2007

Saap Thai, Sydney

BBQ Pork Neck $9.50

After feasting on all things Thai at I-San City last week, we return to the same stretch of Pitt Street strip for more.

In the spirit of research we head to Saap Thai instead, only a block up the road and also reputed to serve authentic tasting cuisine.

Iced Thai tea with milk $2.80

It's a newer brighter shinier room here, and we're pleased to encounter the aromatic smells of lemongrass, coriander and fish sauce when we arrive. There are plenty of young uni students downstairs, but we're scooted upstairs with white tables, wooden chairs and a banquette lounge along both walls.

Tod Mun Pla Fish Cake $3.00

The Som Tum menu selection is very impressive. Here there are nine different som tum salads on offer, the pounded salad that contains green pawpaw, carrot, tomato and green beans. All are dressed with chilli, garlic and fish sauce but:

Som Tum Thai ($7.50) has peanuts and shrimp
Som Tum Pu ($7.50) has salty crab
Som Tum Thai & Pu ($7.50) has peanut, shrimp and salty crab
Som Tum Pu Pla Ra ($7.50) has salty fish and salty crab
Som Tum Talay ($9.50) has prawn, calamari and mussels
Som Tum Gung ($9.50) has peanut and prawn
Som Tum Pu Ma ($9.50) has raw crab
Som Tum BBQ Pork ($9.50) has peanut, shrimp and yes, bbq pork
Som Tum with Salted Eggs ($9.50) has peanut, shrimp and preserved eggs.

Som Tum Pu Pla-Ra $7.50
Green pawpaw, carrot, tomato, green bean, lemon juice,
fish sauce dressing, chilli, garlic, salty fish and salty crab

We choose the Som Tum Pu Pla-Ra, a salty fishy jumble that whilst warming, doesn't quite pack the psychedelic heat of the I-San City version.

Cashew nut seafood stir fry $12.00
with chilli jam and vegetables

We find that most of the dishes aren't quite as salty or spicy as I-San City. Instead there's a slight sweetness to the dishes that perhaps makes them more palatable to a majority of palates.

A few dishes stand out. The deep fried morning glory salad is an intriguing combination of lightly battered water spinach topped with pork mince and fried onions. The vegetables aren't are crunchy as I had anticipated, but the textural effect of golden batter with green vegetables and a saucy pork mince is rather addictive.

Deep fried morning glory salad $9.00
with Thai dressing sauce topped with deep fried onion and minced pork

Tom Yum seafood soup $9.00

The Tom Yum Soup has a beguiling scent of lemongrass and the BBQ pork neck [top] is tender, offering a bit more fire when dunked generously into the accompanying chilli sauce.

Vegetable stir fry with oyster sauce $10.00

Bamboo salad $9.00
with lemon juice, red onion, mint, coriander, spring onion, chilli and herbs

The bamboo salad arrives draped on regulation chunks of raw cabbage leaves. The cooked bamboo strips go well with zingy slivers of red onion and generous sprigs of bright green mint.

Nam Tok Beef $10.000
cooked with dry chilli, lemon juice and Thai herbs

Nam Tok is also garnished with mint leaves. There's also coriander and a light scattering of crushed peanuts. The beef itelf is thinly sliced and meaty in flavour, piquant with the taste of lime juice, fish sauce and a hint of chilli.

Grass jelly $5.50

It's been a busy night so despite the list of dessert options on the blackboard, only the grass jelly is available. These cooling squares of jelly, wavy on all sides from a decorative knife, rest quietly in a bowl of sweetened syrup, a couple of ice cubs chilling everything to a refreshing temperature.

M is trying grass jelly for the first time tonight. It tastes a bit like coffee, he decides.

We roll our way out the door and into the night, a chilly Sydney evening, just perfect for a spicy Thai dinner.

Saap Thai Restaurant
378 Pitt Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9267 9604

Open 7 days 11am-10pm
BYO $1.50 per person

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Thai--I-San City
Thai--Satang Thai
Thai--Spice I Am
Thai--Thainatown (Mar07)
Thai--Thainatown (Jan07)
Thai--Uni Thai
13 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/13/2007 11:48:00 pm


  • At 7/14/2007 2:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    that seafood soup looks simply delicious! one thing i regret leaving when i moved from the city to the country is the thai green curry

  • At 7/14/2007 6:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ooh dude love the bigger size fotos! and i would so get the Som Tum with Salted Eggs mmm salted eggs

  • At 7/15/2007 9:49 am, Blogger Eileen Chong said…

    Hi Helen, I just had to tell you about SinMa Laksa House in Kingsford; I've eaten there three times now and can't get enough of the cheap, cheerful and really authentic Singapore-Malaysian food!

    Uh, I don't have the address, but it's near the end of Kingsford at the large roundabout. try it try it

  • At 7/15/2007 12:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Helen, Som tum is my absolute favourite dish. I can't believe the different varieties available here. I def need to check this place out. Well written yet again.

  • At 7/15/2007 3:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    your post made me miss thaifood!
    nothing as cheap and as satisfying as thai food. i'm awaiting my take away order from saap thai as i type this :)

  • At 7/16/2007 11:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh i didn't know they have grass jelly. the tom yum looks nice =)

  • At 7/16/2007 6:04 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Airlie - You should get a tub of Thai green curry paste next time you're in the City :) But yes, I think that's why I'll always be a City girl. How would I eat?!?

    Hi chocolatesuze - thanks :) you're the first to comment on it. I was really intrigued by the salted eggs too. I presume they're the same as Chinese salted eggs?

    Hi e - I'm not often in Kingsford but I hear there's lot of good food there (last time I went past on the bus there were so many delicious looking eateries!). Thanks for the tip.

    Hi Peter - I know. Who knew there were so many different types of som tum? Enjoy your meal :)

    Hi Lyn - lol. That's hilarious!

    Hi Lin - I really wanted to have the sticky rice but grass jelly was all they had left. The tom yum was very tasty :)

  • At 7/16/2007 7:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My absolute favourite dish is the soup with the mixed pork bits (intestines, stomach), very sour and spicy.

    Photo of the soup is here:

    Pad thai is also very good quality.

    The new specials board also has some items worth trying - eg. the dry sunny beef/pork dish - a sweet jerky.

    Something I want to try next time I go is the thai style soup with gourami - the staff warned us away from it last time.

  • At 7/16/2007 11:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Walked past there tonight on my way to Hanabi. In retrospect, we should have gone there instead. There has been a disaster at Hanabi! Possibly new management, but the result was:

    1. No bbq chilli squid on the menu anymore!!! (Apparently it's a new menu, started a week ago).
    2. Service has gone way downhill (two tables occupied, six people working there, took about 20 minutes to get a water jug refill - this used to happen automatically)
    3. Previously when I have gone with a group of uni friends, they would say "would you like to split the bill?". This time it was not only not offered, but it was grumbled about and only done with a lot of fuss and faffing around.

    It must be new ownership... very disappointing :(

    I now need a new favourite Korean restaurant in Sydney.

  • At 7/19/2007 10:38 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Sir Duck A Lot - Wow, the staff tried to warn you away from a dish. That would only make me want it more!!!

    Hi Yay - No bbq chilli squid? That's outrageous. Glad it's since been amended :)

  • At 1/11/2009 3:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Went there twice recently, following the glowing report you gave them. Was totally delighted by the fresh tasting food. I wish we had Thai food like that in South Africa!

  • At 1/12/2009 9:06 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Tim - Glad it lived up to your expectations. There seems to be quite a bit of ongoing development down that end of Pitt Street so glad that it's still there. Sydney has a great range of very good SE Asian cuisine. Still haven't made it to South Africa myself. Would love to try a real boerewor!

  • At 11/13/2012 12:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, i just found you blog which is very informative (right down to the details like price and correct names of the dishes). I like it!!
    Thai food has always been in my top 3 (other two are japanese &korean), but i think its rating has gone up and i am addicted to sticky rice! Unfortunately i am on diet. Your blog has revived the love & appreciation to thai food, and i cant wait to eat my heart out next year on my first trip to thailand.


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