Back working in the City again and I’m too spoilt for choice, minutes from fast feeds in Chinatown or trendy cafes and diners in Surry Hills.  Noodlies, Sydney food blog returns weekly to this humble take away, with its no longer shiny bain-marie and dusty, petrol fume filled location.

Khao Thai has a lunch time special, rice with one choice for $6 and it’s the familiar choice, basil chicken, other stir fries, a few Thai curry variations.  Each week I order the caramel pork.  It’s not only because I’m a cheapskate, Khao Thai is also my lunch time exercise; being 10 minute walk each way and I know I’ll get a seat; I hate queues – besides, there’s no greater humiliation than being seen queueing at a $6 bain-marie.  Any fears about occupying one of the six small tables inside would be completely unfounded, I’ve been the lone diner during four of the past five weeks.

If there’s no one at the counter, just call out (make sure it’s loud because you’re competing with peak hour traffic) and someone comes forward with a smile.   Strangely a different Thai person emerges each time, sometimes older, sometimes young, sometimes male and sometimes not – gladly, they’re always friendly.  And sometimes you pre-pay and other times you pay after, with my Lipton ice tea, it comes to $9.50.  These days, I insist on pre-paying because they disappear again and I don’t want to yell out a second time.

And it’s not for the place for a private rendezvous, the eatery faces Elizabeth street and it’s usual for traffic to be banked up, expect many sets of curious eyes watching you eat.  But it’s alright, when the lights change, they’ll speed up leaving only their exhaust fumes behind.

And the food, should I talk about the food?

khao thai surry hills caramel pork

The pork isn’t to dark, probably because it’s  been cooked quickly not giving enough simmer time, it’s been roughly handled too, the boiled egg broken and yolk separated.  As a result the pork is generally over-cooked with little flavour, find your taste in the not-so-thick fish sauce gravy. It’s edible.

‘Enjoy’ would be an exaggeration, but I do like coming to Khao Thai, I get my exercise, I’m not bothered by people (apart from nosy drivers) or queues.  Noodlies is pretty social, this place gives me private ‘noodlies time’, when I can be me and enjoy my own company. It’s my weekly meditation.

That meditation has help me to conclude that it’s not always just about the food.  And yes, I’ll be back.

Do you go to a restaurant or eatery, despite its food? Let me know in the comments…

Khao Thai
559 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills
Ph: 8084 5884