I think, therefore Siam. The connection between Hong Kong and Thailand is one of love, economic growth, and community. Locals love nipping to Thailand for a quick holiday, and the formerly notorious Kowloon City is known as Little Thailand, the home to our city’s tight-knit Thai community and a dizzying amount of Thai restaurants.
We love getting all Thai’d up seeking the balance between the four key flavours of Thai cuisine: sweet, sour, spicy and salty. Whether you want to experience the gut-punching spice of Southern Thailand or the salty comfort of North and Northeastern Thailand, we’ve made it easier for you to sate your hunger by rounding up five of our favourite Thai restaurants in Hong Kong.
Located in Tai Kwun’s historic Armoury building, Aaharn is a continuation of Chef David Thompson’s exploration in authentic but elevated Thai gastronomy. Run the gauntlet of traditional pan-Thai flavours with their signature tasting or set menus (there’s even a set that caters to vegetarians!), but for large parties, we’d recommend ordering from the a la carte menu as the dishes are all made to share.
Start off with some Ginger, Peanuts, Toasted Coconut and Lime served on betel leaves, split a couple of curries (the Red Curry or Coconut and Turmeric Curry are a solid choice) and finish with a light dessert in the form of classic street food. No, not mango sticky rice… Coconut Dumplings with Palm Sugar and Grated Coconut.
Aaharn, 1/F, Armoury Building, Block 2, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2703 9111
Bringing powerful flavours from Thailand’s Northeastern regions is Chachawan, a fun Isaan eatery on Hollywood Road. If you’re unfamiliar with Isaan cuisine, it’s influenced by neighbouring Cambodia and features sticky rice (khao niaow) as its staple carb, clear broths, and a thicker more intensely flavoured fermented fish sauce (blah rah).
You’ll find Chachawan packed out during weekday lunches, as the fast and easy Chacha Lunch is a great way to sample your Isaan favourites without breaking the bank. The signature Gai Yung is a crowd-pleaser: a chunky piece of chicken thigh marinated in Thai garlic pepper and coriander then grilled till crispy and served skewered. The Laab Moo, a minced meat salad with chopped pork, crackling, and spicy toasted Jasmine rice, is another firm favourite.
Chachawan, 206 Hollywood Road, Tai Ping Shan | (+852) 2549 0020
Fans of Kowloon City stalwart Chaophraya were in for a world of hurt when it was announced at the end of June that they were closing its doors for the last time following urban renewal works at their location. The third-generation owner, Ah B, is grandson to Kowloon City Thai icon Lung Jie and is determined to keep his family’s spirit alive, reviving Chaophraya off the beaten path rebranding as Kok Kok.
We love the signature Fried Soft Shell Crab Curry, served in a whole pumpkin which soaks up all the fatty goodness from the creamy curry and creates heaven in a spoonful. There’s also an extensive vegetarian-friendly Omnipork menu that has gotten heaps of attention from the plant-based community in Hong Kong. Kok Kok is worth the mission out to Yuen Long, we promise.
Kok Kok, G/F, 90 Shing Mun San Tsuen, Kam Tin, Yuen Long | (+852) 9889 8579
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Mini Bangkok Seafood & Grill
Mini Bangkok is one of Kowloon City’s many Thai restaurants, and the story of blood, sweat, and tears behind their operations just makes the food that much better. Mini Bangkok’s owner, Ah On, came to Hong Kong 30 years ago and taught herself Cantonese while cooking in various kitchens before returning to Kowloon City, the first neighbourhood she stepped foot in after leaving Old Kai Tak Airport.
Ah On supported her and her family by selling satay, each meat skewer made with her love and her mother’s recipe straight from Bangkok. Now Ah On and her godchildren run several successful Thai restaurants around town, but for a meal that feels like a hug, go to their Seafood & Grill location and order a Tom Yum Goong, made from fresh lime juice that Ah On and her Thai kitchen team squeeze daily from 5,000 limes.
Mini Bangkok Seafood & Grill, Shop 1–3, G/F, The Prince Place, 398 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon City | (+852) 2716 7868
Recommended by the Michelin Guide for a couple years running, Samsen is a noodle shop run by Chef Adam Cliff, who formerly worked under Chef David Thompson of Nahm, and another local Thai favourite Chachawan. The menu at Samsen draws inspiration from the traditional boat noodles of Thailand’s river markets and quick and easy street food of the bustling night markets.
The must-eat dish here is the signature Wagyu Beef Boat Noodle, a heartwarming bowl of rich and dark broth combined with premium Wagyu beef, noodles and Thai herbs. The broth is made fresh daily and simmered all afternoon allowing the most sweetness to be released from the bones. Grab a seat at the bar and slurp away as you watch the team cook up a storm, and count your lucky stars that you could even get a seat at the bar since Samsen is almost always packed out.
Samsen, 68 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai | (+852) 2234 0001