When it comes to Thai food in Sydney, we couldn’t be luckier. Our multicultural society paved the way for regional cuisines to sing on their own, introducing ingredients and techniques from all over Thailand, not just Bangkok.
Where other cities get a mashed-up version of Thai food, Sydney is spoilt for choice, with green curry from the south, stir fry from the north, and modern iterations of traditional dishes.
Chin Chin is Sydney’s top go-to for all South-East Asian cuisine. They have a reputation for offering a surprisingly affordable luxury dining experience, with a modern chic eatery and late-night shenanigans. The food will transport you to its origins, including the favourite Chin Chin fried rice — a must-try. You need a booking as most of the time, Chin Chin is full of hungry diners and won’t always have a table for walk-ins.
Part cafe, part grocer, and part Thai restaurant, Boon is the hole-in-the-wall establishment you would expect to find in the backstreets of Thailand. Sitting in the heart of Thai Town, you can expect to see locals stocking up on imported goods or sitting down with a pandan croissant. You can order takeaway Thai dishes, including some amazing sandwiches and rice bowls. For dinner, they bring out curries and soups. The prices are reasonable, and the service is friendly.
CBD, Manly, Chatswood, and Randwick
Chat Thai is an institution. Founded back in 1989, this long-standing establishment has been the poster child for Thai cuisine in Sydney. Now, with a few more locations, there are more chances to enjoy the delights of Chat Thai. There is an entire menu dedicated to takeaway, although if you want to dine in, enjoy a big bowl of som dtum (papaya salad), tamarind curry, king prawns, and chargrilled chicken, served Thai style. Don’t give up the opportunity to try the guay tiew lohd — steamed tapioca and rice dumpling.
Long Chim, which means come and try, is run by Australia’s top Thai chef, David Thompson. Here, he serves street food with a fine dining twist at an affordable price. On the menu, you will find a saucy pad Thai and pad see ew made with rice noodles. There’s a pineapple curry, a classic massaman curry and sour orange curry to delight the tastebuds. Let’s not forget the stir-fries and crab-fried rice on the side. If you’re looking for good food for a low price, Long Chim is exactly that.
Moon is where traditional meets modern. Influenced by European cuisine and their personal Thai background, Chef Aum presents a degustation menu featuring a mix of seafood, pork, beef, and salads. The menu is always changing, but you can expect fine-quality ingredients with a fine-dining ethos. It’s $95 per person for the degustation menu, and it’s worth every dollar.
Joe Kitsana is the mastermind behind Joe’s Table, an airy, casual restaurant behind some of Sydney’s most delicious South-East Asian cuisine. Expect Thai-inspired noodle bowls, curries, and hefty seafood mains. The pork hock is all anyone talks about, braised for four hours, then tossed in sticky chilli jam.
This restaurant has won awards for its Thai dishes and flavour explosions. It’s a Sydney classic, bringing diners authentic Thai dishes with a creative twist. The eggplant stir fry is a standout, as is the mieng kuay teaw, and som pla — a fish curry that packs a punch. Most of the dishes here are regional to specific parts of Thailand. Chances are you will find something you’ve never tried before.
Barangaroo and Surry Hills
Named after “little glutton”, Muum Maam will leave you in a food coma. This street-style tuck shop started in Surry Hils and has since opened a restaurant in Barangaroo that still delivers quick street food during the day and casual dining in the evening. They offer traditional flavours but with contemporary techniques, so expect to see noodle dishes, scallop dumplings, and a crunchy mushroom stir fry.
Yok Yor pumps out some of the spiciest Thai dishes in Sydney. They operate the same way restaurants operate in Thailand. Dishes fly out of the kitchen, full of flavour. They offer street snacks from the Northeast and all the central dishes you know, including Pad Thai, and a papaya salad with salted egg, that’s the star of the show. The boat noodles in pork broth are a godsend.
Chatswood, Haymarket, and more
This restaurant is all about good food, with no fuss. The decor might be a little bland, but the food definitely makes up for it. Try the special noodles. Their most popular dish is the Tom Yum soup—a 30-year-old recipe. The menu is filled with soups, noodles, and seafood for mains. The best part is it’s cheap to eat.
While Paste is located in the Southern Highlands, under two hours from Sydney, it still deserves a spot on this list. This modern restaurant serves revived Thai cuisine and has won several awards for its dishes. Its predecessor, Paste Bangkok, is actually a Michelin-starred culinary institution, so you can expect the same quality here. They use fresh Australian ingredients to reimagine Thai dishes. It doesn’t come cheap for seating, but the flavours and exploration of Thai cuisine are worth it all.