In Bangkok, Soi 38 is a street known for its curbside food, dishing up authentic snacks to both locals and tourists. In Adelaide, it’s the name of a Thai restaurant bringing the same food, at the same high quality, to the city.
Friends and kitchen team, Terry Intarakhamhaeng and Vee Kaeopoklang, have brought the traditional experience to Pulteney Street, all while showcasing the best produce South Australia has to offer. They’ve partnered up with Terry’s wife Daisy Miller and hospitality veteran Frank Hannon-Tan to achieve a mutual dream of bringing aspects of northeastern and regional street style Thai cooking to Adelaide’s table.
Despite coming from completely different backgrounds, both Frank and Terry were perfectly placed to take on such a venture. Frank has been in the business since he was 17, working his way up in bars, restaurants and nightclubs while studying. Fourteen years ago he was presented with the opportunity to buy into Italian restaurant Amalfi, before expanding his portfolio to Soi 38 in 2014.
Head Chef Terry’s expertise in Thai cooking was born from experiences with an adventure tour guide company, where he showed travellers around Southeast Asia (including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China and Nepal) introducing them to local street food and cooking for them when trekking. Along the way, he learnt about the local food; lessons he now draws on when creating Soi 38’s menu. Upon his return to Australia, he refined his skills at Street ADL and GinLong Canteen, before making the move to open Soi 38.
The menu focuses on presenting fare that’s as genuine as possible. It changes regularly to fit with the seasons and places an emphasis on using sustainable and local produce wherever possible. For example, seafood is chosen based on what comes in off the boat as by-catch that day, instead of a particular species.
The food offerings are designed to be shared, falling into line with traditional Thai style of eating. Start with a few plates from the snacks menu, including sah koo sai moo – sago dumplings filled with pork and peanut and served in coconut cream sauce.
Move onto a selection of salads, such as the yum makau yao, a mouth-watering combination of charcoal-grilled spicy eggplant, egg, mint, lemongrass, coriander, chilli and red onion.
If you’re still hungry, there’s a range of stir-fries, curries, noodles and charcoal-based dishes, including muak pad cha, a combination of stir fried South Australian line-caught squid with krachai green peppercorn and fresh chilli paste.
Pair your meal with a wine off its exclusively South Australian list, or a Thai beer. Cocktails follow the traditional flavour pairings, with options like the Isaan Colada, which features Sangsoam rum, house-made iced tea, coconut milk, fresh pineapple and palm sugar syrup.
With such a variety of delicious dishes and a fantastic drinks list to match, Sukhumvit Soi 38 brings the best of Thai street food to Adelaide, offering an experience that’s indulgent enough for a nice night out but also perfect for a casual impromptu dinner.