Thai flavours explained by Camp Hill’s award-winning Mons Thai | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Thai flavours explained by Camp Hill’s award-winning Mons Thai

You know it’s delicious, now learn why.

Named Brisbane’s best Thai restaurant for several years, Mons Thai is a verified institution among Brisbane’s long list of suburban eateries.

From the rich massaman to vibrant som tum, we asked owner Danny Venzin to explain some of the flavours and ingredients that go into great Thai cooking, and this is what he dished.


Salt just makes food taste better! Thai food mostly uses nam pla (fish sauce) to impart its salt. Our chicken laab salad is a good example of the unique saltiness nam pla provides, while our take on pad see ew, a classic street food noodle dish, uses dark soy for more of a rich saltiness.


Two words: som tum! Thailand’s unique green papaya salad is a sour delight that’s balanced thanks to all the other ingredients. Ours mellows our the young papaya with peanuts, tomato, and chilli, with some added lime juice for punchiness!


It wouldn’t be Thai food without a little kick! Another name for those tiny birdseye chillies is Thai chillies, and though they’re small they’re mighty! We use fresh chilli in our Thai basil stir-fry and chu chee fish curry, where it’s mellowed out with coconut milk.


Our Thai menu simply had to include some traditional sweets, because they are so perfectly balanced! While sweetness is found in most savoury dishes by way of coconut sugar or fresh ingredients like pineapple, Thai desserts are a perfect simple showcase of fresh fruit; our sticky rice with lychee and coconut ice cream is a must-try.

Danny’s biggest tip, though? “It’s all about the ingredients themselves,” he says. “You can use things like dried lemongrass, dried kaffir lime leaf, or bottled imported ginger, but if it’s fresh and local it tastes so much better.” At Mons Thai, we even grow our own herbs and chillies right outside!


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Words by Georgia Condon
- the gourmet who's Thai-ing to perfect an authentic massaman.