The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Thai @ Koh Thai, Hong Kong

I can't remember the last time I went to a Thai restaurant - could have been more than a year ago when we were visiting Sydney. I don't go out of my way to eat Thai food, nor do I miss it when I haven't eaten Thai for a long time, mostly due to its similarity to Malaysian food, and my preference for the latter. Every weekend we are near the Lan Kwai Fong area for Zak's Tinytots soccer class, and I discovered that there are quite a number of choice dining spots in this area. (Lan Kwai Fong is a very popular night spot for the Hong Kong expats with many clubs and bars, but the area looks quite different - almost unrecognisably civil - during the daytime. There's no escaping the broken beer glass bottles on the roads and pavements though.) Last weekend we took the opportunity to have lunch at this hip-looking Thai restaurant called Koh Thai on Wyndham Street. The ceiling fans are spinning flowers, as our fascinated 2.5 y/o son kept pointing out all during lunch.

Flowers for ceiling fans:

We'd arrived just after the restaurant had opened its doors for lunch at 11am (because that's when the soccer class finishes), so the restaurant was still empty. However I have seen it filled to the brim on other days, so it is a popular place, and for good reasons. The pretty Thai waitresses are friendly, and they greet you with the wai and a pleasant "Sawadee Ka" (translates to "Hello"). There's a good variety of food on the menu, and the curries we got were pretty good. Pricing was quite average for the expats' pockets, but probably would be considered expensive by the locals who can get noodles or a rice dish for less than a tenth of the price at Koh Thai.

The boy mesmerised by the overhead spinning flowers:

We started out with Som Tum Thai, a salad of shredded green papaya with lemon dressing. There's nothing subtle about this salad (in a good way, of course!) - pungently salty with fish sauce and dried shrimps, piquantly sour with the lemon juice, and very crunchy with just the right amount of spiciness! I felt that the sweet dimension was somewhat lacking, which would have made this salad perfect.

Som Tum Thai:

Rob ordered Gaeng Massamun Ka Gae, a slow-roasted lamb shank 'fall off the bone' meat in massaman curry, baby pumpkin and okra. He's not very keen on okra (aka lady's finger or gumbo) so I happily polished off both that were sitting in the hollowed baby pumpkin. The lamb meat was very tender, and the massaman curry went very well with the red meat. It was a novelty eating lamb shank in a Thai dish.

Gaeng Massamun Ka Gae:

I also went for a curry dish, Gaeng Phed Ped Yang, a roasted duck breast with lychee, cherry tomato and kaffir lime leaves in a red curry sauce. I was curious about the lychee, but it had been blended into the curry so it just lent a sweetness which was barely detectable, but noticeable when compared with Rob's curry. The duck breast was lovely, and the curry was delicious.

Gaeng Phed Ped Yang:

It was a lovely meal, good enough for revisits to try the other dishes, but to be honest, with the number of restaurants in the area, we probably would opt for to go to another restaurant for the sake of trying somewhere different.

Koh Thai
G/F, 57 Wyndham Street
Lan Kwai Fong
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2840 0041

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