What most of us think of as “Thai food” is better conceived as several regional cuisines that share common ingredients and techniques. We're lucky – Sydney is the only place in Australia where you can experience them all distinctly. Other cities have to make do with a mash-up.

Take a trip to Thai Town to find dishes such as kaeng khiao wan (green curry) and tom yum (hot and sour soup) from the country's fertile heart, in and around Bangkok. Also easy to find: the grilled meats and eye-watering som tam salad (chilli, papaya, tomatoes and snake beans) endemic to Isan in the north-east.

The cooler north is more about roots and herbs, sticky rice and dishes such as naem maw, a raw, fermented pork sausage. In the south, where Thailand's Muslim population is most concentrated, Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisine are all influences. The climate also brings pineapples, cashews and plenty of seafood into play.

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Joe's Table

It's all about that cold fermented sweet glutinous rice with mango and coconut cream.

1 28 Kings Lane, Darlinghurst

Cheng Kitchen

One of the few spots in Sydney to try genuine northern-style Thai food.

54 Campbell Street, Haymarket

Yok Yor Thai Food Factory

Where the chefs wear hardhats.

Shop G06 323 Castlereagh Street, Haymarket

Long Chim

Run by Australia's best Thai chef.

Corner of Pitt Street and Angel Place, Sydney

Dodee Paidang Haymarket

Pulls no punches.

9 37 Ultimo Road, Haymarket

Spice I Am

A well-established Sydney classic.

90 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills

Alphabet Street

A beachside joint with a minimalist industrial aesthetic.

5/8 Kingsway, Cronulla

Khao Pla

Bangkok-inspired dishes with an accompanying '90s soundtrack.

Shop 7 7 Anderson Street, Chatswood

Chum Tang

Restaurant number two from the team at Khao Pla.

Shop 4, The District Podium Level, Chatswood Interchange 436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood

Chat Thai

A long-standing institution with restaurants across the city.

20 Campbell Street, Haymarket


Sour, spicy and fishy – the only place to try southern-Thai cuisine.

Shop 106-108A Level 1 8 Quay St., Haymarket

Boon Cafe and Jarern Chai

Part cafe, part grocer, part Thai restaurant. Where else can you find a fiery Thai salad between Brickfields bread?

1/425 Pitt Street, Haymarket