Poemphun Thai, Cairns North
After recently discovering a penchant for Thai food and more specifically Pad Thai MS has been wanting to eat it more and more. I have no problem with that since Thai food is definitely one of my favourite cuisines (that and Japanese are probably tied for first). The other day while driving down Sheridan Street, deciding that we both wanted Thai food and wondering just where the hell we could get it at 3pm in the afternoon (seems eating a late lunch is becoming the norm for us). All the other places were closing up for the lunch trade and wouldn’t open up until dinner. That is, coincidently, when we both noticed Poemphun Thai on the other side of the road. Neither of us had ever seen it before but we took it as a sign and after a bit of a ‘u-ey’ we headed back to this newly discovered Thai place.
Poemphun Thai is located in the building where Little Italy used to be and then after that a Brazilian place that must not have lasted long because I didn’t actually notice it was there until it was closed down. We went in to have a look at the menu and it turns out that Poemphun Thai had only just opened up the day before. What luck for us! True to form and not the straying type MS ordered the Pad Thai Gai for AU$12.90 while I ordered the Som Tum (Paw Paw Salad) for AU$10.90 (medium heat). Although they do takeaway here we decided we would eat in since we weren’t in a rush to get home.
The kitchen is pretty much right in front of you at the counter and you can see the two Thai cooks in front of the flaming woks throwing the ingredients in as they go so you know that it’s fresh. The restaurant itself is a little dated but neat as a pin with cute little wooden booths to sit in and serviettes all folded up like a lotus flower and colourful plastic tablecloths. When we sat down to eat there was two other tables occupied in the little restaurant and while we waited for our food to arrive the waitress brought us out a jug of water and I had a look over the menu. The menu is very reasonably priced in fact I would go as far to say that it is some of the cheapest Thai food that I have seen in Cairns if not the cheapest (AU$12.90 for a Massaman Curry!). There are some delicious sounding dishes on the menu and I vowed that if the food was good we would return for Round 2 to try some other dishes.
We waited no longer than 10 minutes for our meals to arrive at our little wooden booth. MS’ Pad Thai came with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the top, a small pile of sugar (no doubt to sprinkle over the top to make it sweeter), a small pile of ground peanuts (in case you wanted more) and a small pile of chilli flakes. MS squeezed the lemon over the top, sprinkled on a bit of peanuts and sugar and just plain avoided the Chilli Flakes since he doesn’t like hot stuff (although he has come a long way since he met me and I opened his eyes to the wonders of food). He claims that this Pad Thai is the best one he has had to date. Better than the one at Orchid Plaza (Chilli Thai), better than the one at Lemon Tree (Main Street Arcade) and better than the one on Minnie St (J & L Takeaway and Minimart). That not to say much since it’s only 3 out of sh*tloads of Thai places in Cairns but this Pad Thai had everything going for it plus I tasted it and gave it the thumbs up as well.
My Som Tum was so damn good! It had all the right things tht Som Tum is supposed to have in it – Green Beans, Tomatoes and the perfect mix of Palm Sugar, Chilli and Fish Sauce. Mind you it was bloody hot but not too hot for my liking. I’m going to have to go against everything I have said in my previous post about Som Tum in Cairns and give this one the gong for Best Som Tum. Sorry Lemon Tree you guys are great but… This Som Tum just tasted so fresh and not pre-prepared at all. I ate up every last tasty morsel of that Paw Paw Salad right down to using a spoon to finish off the dressing.
We finished up our meals and made our way out to the car only to be followed out by the little Thai lady that owns the shop to thank us for eating at Poemphun Thai by clasping her hands together and bowing with a huge smile on her face. It was really lovely and made me even more happy that we had stopped in to have a look and in turn found some truly delicious Thai food.
About a week later MS and I found ourselves looking for a quick and early dinner and ended up back at Poemphun Thai for Round 2. MS ordered the Pad Thai (AU$12.90) again with the BBQ Pork for an entree for AU$6.50. I ordered a Thai Curry that I had already drooled when I read it on the menu on our first visit… the Pad Phed Moo (Dry Pork Curry) with Lean Pork, Stir-fried Red Chilli Paste, Coconut Milk, Green Peppercorns, Galangal and Fresh Basil for AU$12.90 or you can get Prawns for $14.90. A bargain if you ask me! Again we sat down at a little wooden booth and waited for our meals to arrive. This time there was a lot more people – some dining in and some coming in to pick up their takeaway. Seems that Poemphun Thai is already getting a little following of Thai-hards (I made a funny).
First up out came the BBQ Pork that MS ordered. Well he ordered it but he certainly wasn’t going to eat the whole thing by himself. There were four skewers of BBQ Pork in total and we both really enjoyed them. The Pork was super tender and flame grilled which gave it that yummy slightly charred taste. MS only problem was that he wanted more and didn’t think that it was a very big dish. I actually thought that it was very reasonably sized for an entree and pretty stock standard for a Thai restaurant, though some skewers were certainly bigger than others.
Again MS gobbled up his Pad Thai, making sure to avoid the Chilli Flakes. Same goes as what I already said about it his previous Pad Thai experience at Poemphun Thai, I’m not repeating it. He loved it and can’t wait to go back and get another one. My Pad Phed Moo or Dry Curry Pork, whatever you want to call it was superb. It wasn’t as dry as I was expecting from the name but then again it wasn’t swimming in sauce like a Massaman. Sort of in between I guess. The sauce was so yummy that I wished that I had ordered a bowl of Steamed Rice to mop it all up but alas this wasn’t part of my meal allowance. MS tasted it and although he liked it claimed that it was a little too spicy for him. I actually didn’t find it spicy at all so the only thing I can conclude from that is that he is just a big sissy. The Dry Curry Pork’s only downfall was that there was quite a lot of peppercorns in it still attached to the vine. I was a little unsure as to whether I was supposed to eat them or not. I erred on a side of caution and after nibbling on one and finding it far too peppery for my liking I didn’t continue with the peppercorns, other than that I loved it!
So like I said the food at Poemphun Thai is absolutely delicious. The woman that runs it is super friendly as are her staff (and pretty much all Thai’s). The food is fresh, fantastic and cheap as chips. If you are looking for somewhere for your Friday night takeaway or somewhere to dine without all the fuss of dressing up to go out then Poemphun Thai is it- plus it’s BYO. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
343 Sheridan St, Cairns North QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4041 6367
Opening Hours: 7 days 10.30am – 9.30pm