Palisa's Little Black Book

Palisa Anderson is a second generation restauranteur of Chat Thai, Boon Cafe/Jarern Chai Asian Grocers, Assamm and Samorson and a first generation farmer of Boon Luck Farm. 

She grew up in the kitchen and running the floor of restaurants, her mothers and a few others. After studying a B.A in International Studies and Sports Biomechanics then working in those fields in Hong Kong, London, New York and Tokyo she decided to return home to help with the family business because inevitably feeding people good healthy food is her first passion.

She lives alternate realities between Sydney and Byron - raising humans, chickens, organic fruit, vegetables and herbs in both places.


I’m the child of an immigrant who is very aware not to botch it up for everyone
— Palisa

Palisa and her Mum Amy

As a single mother, Amy Chanta knew she could build a better life for her babies in Australia. So after two years after arriving from Thailand with only $300 in her pocket, she had made enough money for son Pat and daughter Palisa to join her. She was working in the kitchen at U-thong in Cammeray, one of the Sydney's first Thai restaurants. After five years at U-thong she began working with McDonald's in Cremorne where she was able improve her English and learn management systems. 

In 1989, Chanta and a Thai friend opened the first Chat Thai in Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst. "We would come home from school and there'd be nobody home but there'd be a big pot of food on the stove," says Palisa, now 30, remembering how her mother toiled around the clock to establish the business. The Darlinghurst restaurant failed but Chanta was undeterred. There are now five restaurants in the Chat Thai chain, the highest profile being Chat Thai Campbell Street in Haymarket, where crowds queue for a table as teams of chefs prepare desserts in a streetside galley kitchen. 

Amy opened Chat Thai in Randwick in 1993, which earned a huge fan base from the locals, and followed that up with outlets at The Galeries in George Street in the city and at Manly Wharf. By 2006, when Chanta was offered the lease on a rundown shop in Campbell Street, Haymarket, son Pat had graduated as an architect. Now 32, he put a contemporary face on the Chat Thai brand, which most recently opened in Westfield Sydney. Palisa and her husband, Matt Anderson, are now also part of the business. "The pull of a family business is strong," says Palisa. 

Thai food in Sydney is better than the thai food in Thailand
— Palisa

Palisa's Favourite New Restaurant
Queen Chow


Palisa's Coconut Lesson

Palisa's Top Tips

The one To Watch: Josh Niland, St Peter
Most memorable Meal: Fleet, Brunswick Heads 
Favourite Date night Venue: The Dolphin, Surry Hills 
Best Cheap Eat: Chat Thai
Favourite Takeaway: Malabar, Darlinghurst

Palisa's Fav Tunes to Cook to

Cranes in the sky: Solange
I wish I knew how it would feel to be free: Nina Simone
In a sentimental mood: Duke Ellington and John Coltrane
Jackson: Johnny Cash
Sunshine's Better: John Martyn

This week I am farmer Palisa, next week I will be Chat Thai/Boon Palisa
— Palisa

Recipe - Lazy persons Nasu Dengaku (Thai Green Long Eggplant with Miso)

My kids love this because I ask them go and harvest the eggplants and green onions while I make the paste.


  • 1/2 cup white miso
  • 1/4 rice vinegar
  • 1/4 mirin
  • 3 tbs honey or coconut nectar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 medium sized Thai green long eggplants- halved lengthwise
  • 4 green onions- sliced thinly 
  • 4 tbs toasted sesame seeds- black or white
  • Good quality sesame oil



  1. Make paste up by whisking together miso, rice vinegar, miring and honey/coconut nectar- set aside.
  2. In a frying pan with sides (make sure you choose one that can accomodate all your eggplant at the same time) heat up olive oil for a minute then place all your eggplants cut side down. Pan fry for approximately 2/3 minutes after which time they should be a lovely golden brown then turn them, immediately after turning pour half your loose paste mixture into the pan- keep your pretty face  away as it will splatter. Flick and agitate the pan constantly to keep the paste from clumping but make sure your eggplants don't turn from their skin side. Once the eggplant is cooked thoroughly (approximately another 2 minutes) it will be soft without falling apart.
  3. Plate up the eggplant and pour the sauce on top if it loosely, sprinkle the green onions and toasted sesame seeds and drizzle sparingly the sesame oil. 
  4. Serve as a side or with steaming rice for a filling main or with some lettuce cups as a snack.
  5. Et voila!

Palisa's Favourite Breakfast Spots

The New Brighton Farmer's Markets Byron Bay

Every Tuesday morning food lovers flock to the New Brighton Farmers Market.

Set in a beautiful riverside location just metres from New Brighton’s pristine surfing beaches, the market is a meeting place for the area’s arts-loving community, who come to shop, socialise, chat with the growers and soak up the laid-back North Coast lifestyle.

The market is home to more than 30 farmers and food producers who offer the region’s best and freshest produce: seasonal fruit and vegetables, sourdough bread, eggs, milk, cheeses, tempeh, macadamias, olives, spices, coffee, honey and more.

Relax at a shady table with a cup of freshly brewed local coffee, or enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared with fresh seasonal produce. There’s live music each week, along with regular workshops, cooking demonstrations and the Kiddies Plot; a weekly kids space with free art and craft activities.

The market is a not-for-profit organisation, which means every dollar you spend goes toward supporting farmers, the local community and a more sustainable future.