Renowned for its unique, flavourful taste and spiciness, Thai food is an ethnic cuisine that I would recommend you try if you haven’t already. As a matter of fact, Thai food is the only thing I miss the most from my home country. While I honed some cooking skills myself, they couldn’t be compared with eating out at a nice Thai restaurant. Below are four Thai restaurants that captivate me and make me want to go back for more in no particular order. I also recommend some dishes you should try for each restaurant.
- Lao Café (Covent Garden)
For background reference: Thai cuisine can be categorised based on different regions in Thailand, each featuring entire different types of cuisine. We’ve got northern, southern, typical central (or Bangkok), and north-eastern cuisine. Lao Café specialises in the last one.
It is worth mentioning that north-eastern food is best enjoyed with relatively high spicy levels. Still, it is not a problem at all to lower the spiciness level down to what you feel comfortable with. Consult the staff about the spiciness level before placing an order! With a location very close to campus, I highly recommend you visit there at least once during your term time.
North-eastern Thai food, nicknamed ‘Isan’, is famous for the spicy papaya salad (Somtum) and minced pork with Thai spices (Laab Moo), both of which are recommended dishes. Although Somtum has tons of variation, you can try Tum Khai Khem (papaya salad with salted egg) for your first time.
Other recommendations: Jee-Moo (char-grilled pork skewers) and Tom Zaap Gadook Moo (spicy and sour pork ribs soup)
- Thai Tho Restaurant (Soho)
One of the all-time favourite Thai restaurants for Thai students in London. They serve a variety of Thai food, mainly Central and North-eastern cuisine. What is unique about this one is they have a karaoke room for guests to enjoy and a minimum spending amount (£80/hour at the time of writing). So if anyone wants to experience a quirky Thai song and karaoke, this is the place to go!
As for the food, they have both main dishes and sharing plates, which they call “karaoke menu” (meant to share while you are singing with your friends, but it is also fine to share on the standard sit-down table). I recommend Moo Ping (marinated barbecued pork), Khai Yeaw Ma Ka Prao Krob (fried century egg with minced pork and crispy basil leaves), and none other than Tom Yum Goong, the famous hot and sour prawn soup.
- Khun Pakin Thai (Ravenscourt Park)
This one may be a bit far from central London. But trust me, it is worth the trip! The closest tube station is Ravenscourt Park (in the Hammersmith neighbourhood) on the District line. Khun Pakin Thai is jokingly said to be a “secret” Thai restaurant in London due to its location perfectly blending next to an English pub called the Salutation. When my friends and I were there for the first time, we had the time of our lives. The food is very authentic and phenomenal, with a Thai dessert that was just right to finish our meal.
My recommendations are, among others, crispy spicy pork salad (this is a must-try), weeping tiger (beef on a sizzling hot plate), Gai Yang (grilled chicken). As for the finisher, the Kati (coconut milk ice cream) is a Thai style dessert that is very delicious.
- Krua by Na Thong and Ekachai
Apart from these three restaurants, other honourable mentions are Krua by Na Thong and Ekachai
If you are a foodie in search of good exotic food, again, Thai food is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings! Let me know your favourite Thai restaurant in London in the comments.