Salty, spicy, sour, sweet – Adelaide’s best Thai establishments have the flavours of Bangkok (and beyond) well and truly nailed.
The pink neon light at the entry sets the tone: contemporary, upbeat and fun and while the menu is extensive – almost to the point of overwhelming – friendly and helpful staff will steer you to tastebud heaven, whether that’s lettuce cups with spicy southern style chicken, stir-fried crispy pork belly with snake beans or the feed-me feast known as the ‘tuk tuk’.
309 North Terrace, Adelaide; (08) 8227 0799
Lantern By Nu
The latest offering from Adelaide’s master of Thai cookery, Nu Suandokmai, is tucked off Gouger Street and boasts a cool fit out of exposed brick, raw timbers and Edison lights galore. The menu is filled with authentic street-style dishes like crispy chicken winglets (peek gai tod), marinated BBQ pork sticks (moo ping) and a knockout pad thai.
10 Selby Street, Adelaide; (08) 7078 3559
The quality of the cooking at Nu Thai is topnotch under the leadership of chef/owner Thomas Ng. The dining room is airy and inviting and the menu features traditional favourites and updated classics—think: tom kha gai, duck curry, pad see ew and salt and pepper bay bug tails.
228 Morphett Street, Adelaide (08) 8410 2288
Star of Siam
A Gouger-street mainstay (it’s been here 30 years), Star of Siam is buzzing most nights because the food is always on point. Their famed sea star dumplings are a must-order to start. Follow it up with kaeng-ped pet-yang (roast duck red curry) and choo chee prawn curry.
67 Gouger Street, Adelaide; (08) 8231 3527
So, it’s not strictly Thai. Instead, this cavernous upstairs haunt on Gouger Street is a self-titled “Asian kitchen” with culinary influences spanning China, Vietnam and Indonesia as well as Thailand. Having said that, the pad thai chicken is excellent, as is the pad kra-prao beef and the starter prawn dumpling, which comes doused in spicy green curry sauce.
1/128 Gouger Street, Adelaide; (08) 8211 8887
Sukhumvit Soi 38
It’s named after one of Bangkok’s famed street food areas, which has shut due to building developments. Luckily Adelaide’s Sukhumvit Soi 38 is unfettered by construction. Inside, there’s a fun, urban vibe: an edgy black wall, polished timber floors and bright pops of yellow. The menu changes seasonally but diners can expect sensational street food and consistently excellent staples like green chicken curry and pad thai.
54 Pulteney Street, Adelaide; (08) 8223 5472
Social Street S2
Vibrant, fresh flavours and swift, convivial service make Social Street S2 a natural inclusion on this list. Menu highpoints include tastebud-pleasing tom yum, chu chee prawn and phat krapow moo sab (Bangkok-style stir-fried pork mince with basil), which, like several of the dishes comes in varying spice levels, from no chilli, to ‘traditional hot’, to ‘freakin’ hot’.
174A Hutt Street, Adelaide; 0451 166 576
Kin Kin Thai
It’s easy to recommend a place that boasts well-balanced flavours, generous serves and warm, friendly service – and Kin Kin ticks all those boxes. The menu at this unpretentious gem includes a pad thai, full of texture and zing, moreish tord mun pla (fried fish cakes), a piquant kaeng pa (jungle curry) and a rocking larb gai.
Shop 4/ 242 Hutt St. Adelaide; (08) 7073 0328
Top image: Golden Boy