Spice I Am
I'm not a fan of hot food. There are some people who eat chili on their own or slather everything in chili sauce. When asked 'mild, medium or hot' they'll go for the 3rd option or any menu item that has the maximum number of chilies drawn next to it. That's definitely not me.
Having said that, I can handle hot food quite well. It's just that - when the whole point of asking for chili is to burn a hole in your mouth, I don't see the point. When it adds flavor or a new dimension to the dish, I can appreciate it.
That pretty much sums up my whole experience at Spice I Am. I read that it was one of the best Thai restaurants in Sydney. When we got there, we saw a dark, deserted street and one eatery that was flowing with life. It turns out that this was Spice I Am and we were very, very lucky to get a seat.
Crammed at the table, you get a mixed feeling about the place. The restaurant is tiny and has a very street-side eatery feel. However, the menus are nicely printed, rather than just scraps of paper and the dishes, when they came, were presented aesthetically.
We ordered rice noodle rolls to start with, a duck red curry (they are famed for this), sour prawn curry and a crispy rice salad to share. Drinks were: coconut juice and 2 serves of Thai milk tea.
I had no idea what Thai milk tea was before I tried it but it was delicious! Heavier than normal Cantonese milk tea and slightly spiced but perfectly refreshing. I really recommend you order this if you're going to Spice I Am because without the milk tea, I probably wouldn't have survived the heat of the curry.
The rice noodle rolls were different to Vietnamese paper rolls and I thought they were quite tasty.
Although the coconut juice didn't arrive in a coconut like we expected, the duck curry did! All the dishes came super quickly. The duck curry was good - very hot (chili-wise) and the duck was nice and tender. The chilliness overwhelmed me and I couldn't really detect the coconut flavor, which is a shame because I love coconut in curry.
The crispy rice salad was supposed to have chili powder but it was relatively heat-free compared to the other dishes. It was a relief to have a mouthful of this between the curries.
My favorite dish was the sour king prawn curry. It had omelet pieces in it that really soaked up the curry flavors whilst maintaining a sort of... spongy crispness (if that makes sense).
I was dying throughout this meal. We all were. As in... tears down the cheek, runny nose and burning mouths. I loved it though. The sour curry was killing me but I could not stop eating it. Spice I Am tops up your rice too and that is also a life-saver because you need something neutral to have the curry with.
My dislike for pointless chili hotness doesn't apply here because at Spice I Am, things are not just slathered in chili for no reason at all. The heat really compliments the dishes and brings out something extra. I'm glad we went at night, on a cool rainy day. I imagine this to be perfect Winter food (which prompts me to think... why are Thai people so into hot food when they live in the tropics).