9/37 Ultimo Road
Haymarket, NSW 2000
It may sound bizarre, but one of my favourite go-to snacks is tom yum noodles. And although that sounds fancy on paper, the reality is that it’s barely any more involved than instant noodles. All I have to do boil up some noodles, add in a spoonful of tom yum paste from the Asian grocer, and if I’m feeling really fancy and/or hungry, I’ll chuck in some frozen fish balls or a hard-boiled egg. It may not be much, but sometimes the bold flavour of tom yum and the comfort factor of noodles is exactly what I need when I’m up studying until 2am, and as a result, feeling generally displeased with all my life decisions up until that point.
So with all that out in the open, it’s probably pretty obvious why I’m keen on Dodee Paidang. Not only are they known for having one of the most extensive Thai noodle menus around, they also happen to specialise in tom yum noodles.
Like most Thai establishments in Sydney, Dodee Paidang is nothing if not authentic. The restaurant is cosily decorated in a bright, traditional style, with enormous portraits of the Thai royal family hung cheekily on the walls.
Now, I’ve heard things about the legendary spiciness of the noodles at Dodee, and that, combined with my experience at Spice I Am, left me very cautious. So despite having a reasonable chilli tolerance, I decided to just go with the Do Dee Monster ($6.9, small), which was a measly 1 out of 7 on the spice scale, and just one step up from the shameful Do Dee Nursery, which had no spice at all. That proved to be a smart move, because as it turns out, even this was just borderline tolerable. But oh boy was it good. The freshly-made, gelatinous rice noodles soaked up the spicy, tangy soup, so that each slurp was unabashedly full of flavour. Alongside the noodles were accompaniments of pork slices, pork balls, pork crackling, and even some fried wonton skins for extra texture. It was such a bold and unrestrained take on tom yum, and tasted exactly like something you’d get on the streets of Thailand.
There was plenty of other stuff on the menu to tempt, but the sight of the table-sized Tum Tard Platter ($22.9) was just too good to go past. If you like your food deep fried, this will be your jam. There was everything from school prawns to fish cakes to chicken wings – all deep fried of course, served with accompanying pickles, veggies, and rice noodles.
But the best part of the entire platter was the Som Tum Thai. I’ve never gotten the fuss about papaya salad before, but now I completely understand. Each bite was refreshingly crunchy, the sweetness of the fruit offset by the tang of lime and fish sauce, with the occasional briny pop of school prawns. It was a medley of flavours and textures, and utterly addictive.
With room left for dessert, but only just, I decided on the lighter Mixed Jelly with Coconut ($6). This was exactly what I was after – a cooling treat of shaved ice doused in coconut milk, with a trove of jellies and water chestnut at the bottom.
Once again, Sydney has blown me away with how effortlessly delicious their Thai food is. But for once, Melbournians don’t have to be jealous, because Dodee Paidang actually recently opened up in the CBD! I’m already super keen on visiting the Melbourne branch, just to make sure that I can still get my Thai fix when I move back to Melbourne.
Rating: 13.5/20 – getting the dodee nursery next time. not even ashamed.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.