Yok Yor Thai Food Factory
There are no assumptions around spice tolerance at Yok Yor; more than half of the dishes are spicier than the hottest dishes at other Thai restaurants. Some are intensely sour, too, others overpoweringly fishy or salty, some are all of the above. Brothers Joe and Mek Phungsamphan believe they have to do things the same way they're done in Thailand, to keep their Thai Town customers happy
The two siblings come from a large family of chefs and restaurateurs in Thailand – their parents founded the original Yok Yor there in 1982. The brothers opened this branch in 2007 after Joe became sick of cooking other cuisines for pocket money while he studied.
While restaurants such as Spice I Am helped turn Sydney onto real Thai food, Yok Yor took it a step further by exploring Thailand’s regional cuisines. Thailand has four distinct cuisines, but almost all Thai restaurants here serve food from the country’s central region, such as pad thai, tom yam and green curry. It serves gang leaung pla insee, a southern soupy curry loaded with soft discs of sour bamboo and chunks of mackerel.
From the north-east Yok Yor has a spread of street snacks including eight varieties of papaya salad (including some offensively pungent varieties with fermented fish sauce and pickled crab). And from the north, Burmese-influenced, massaman curry-like gang hung lay with peanuts, pork, mini pickled onions and crunchy pork-skin crackers.
The two signature dishes, though, are from the centre of the country, which makes sense considering all the recipes here come from Joe and Mek’s mum, a Bangkok local. The first is their boat noodles, a pork-broth noodle soup enriched by the addition of blood and dark soy sauce. The other is pad phed pla dook, catfish medallions stir-fried with red curry paste, Thai eggplant and green peppercorns.