Header image courtesy of Sip Song (via Dishtag)
When thinking about Thailand and its vibrant foods, the first thing that often comes to mind is pad thai (ผัดไทย; Thai-style stir-fried noodles). Simultaneously sweet, savoury, spicy, and tangy, this dish is uniquely Thai in nature and is constructed with the most traditional of Thai ingredients.
While stir-fried rice noodles were initially derived from China, the concept was carried into Thai cuisine centuries ago. Pad thai, however, was introduced only in the 1930s by then prime minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, who sought a way to boost national morale and pride. Although this quintessential dish boasts a short historical background, it has quickly gained notability and is highly synonymous with the essentials of Thai cuisine. Thankfully, there are plenty of places in Hong Kong to get your hands on this flavourful and delicious plate of noodles. Here are our top five places to get pad thai in Hong Kong.
Cooking up pleasant and simple Thai street food dishes since 2016, Samsen is brought to you by Chachawan’s former head chef, Adam Cliff, and his partner Bella Kong. With over 10 years of experience in the F&B industry, chef Adam Cliff has worked with some of the best Thai chefs in the world, counting celebrated chef David Thompson and his Bangkok restaurant, Nahm, among his tutors.
Ingredients and products used at Samsen are flown in from Thailand, making the dishes as fresh and authentic as possible. With queues out the door every single day, this restaurant has gained a notable reputation and makes for a popular hangout spot for anyone seeking authentic Thai street food dishes. Samsen’s interiors are rustic at best, with influences that remind customers of the organised chaos of Bangkok streets. While Samsen is most well-known for its slow-simmered Wagyu boat noodles ($138), it also dishes out a simple yet delicious plate of pad thai ($138) with succulent tiger prawns.
At first glance, this shopfront seems to be a takeaway stand, but Mak Mak is actually a full-service Thai restaurant that focuses on classic recipes with a vegetarian twist. Brought to you by hospitality experts JIA Group, Mak Mak sports a vintage design that screams stylish and elevated, and its atmosphere mimics the old-school shophouses of 1960s Bangkok. They pride themselves in serving an extensive array of plant-based dishes, perfect for vegetarians who are not looking to sacrifice their diets. Not to mention, their pad thai ($138) is also packed with explosive flavours. Besides savoury noodles, rich curries, and belly-warming soups, Mak Mak also dishes up tempting desserts—a perfect way to end the meal.
Mak Mak, Shop 217A, 2/F, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road, Central | (+852) 2983 1003
If you are looking for Thai food around the southside of Hong Kong Island, Sip Song is the place to go. Conveniently located at The Pulse in Repulse Bay, this casual Thai eatery has firmly established itself as a favourite amongst neighbourhood locals. While their atmosphere is buzzing and lively, their food is a rustic affair, paying homage to the simplicity and delectability of Thai cuisine. Sip Song offers everything from grilled meats and skewers to curries and wok-fried items, and their pad thai ($210) is cooked to perfection and loaded with succulent shrimps, tofu, and peanuts. They also have a lip-smacking selection of tropical cocktails to instantly transport you to the white-sand beaches of Phi Phi Islands.
Sip Song, Shop 114 & 115, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay | (+852) 2328 8385
Located on the top floor of an indoor fresh market in the heart of Kowloon City—a.k.a. Hong Kong’s capital of authentic Thai cooking—Amporn Thai Food is a family-run business that has withstood the test of time. Operated by a Thai native and her Hong Kong-born spouse, this hidden gem serves up tried-and-true Thai favourites and specialises in pleasing flavours and traditional recipes. From a mouth-watering grilled pork neck salad ($60) and deep-fried fish cakes ($60) and all the way to their crowd-pleasing, prawn-packed pad thai ($50), Amporn is a down-to-earth dining experience you will hold dear for a long time.
Amporn Thai Food, Shop 9, 3/F, Kowloon City Market, Kowloon City | (+852) 2383 1700
From the team who brought you divine Italian pasta dishes, authentic Indian food, blazing teppanyaki grills, fragrant Vietnamese noodle bowls, spice-filled Sri Lankan cuisine, and so much more—yes, we’re talking about Black Sheep Restaurants—prepare yourselves for Soul Food Thai, a neighbourhood restaurant located in the heart of Soho. This casual dining spot takes inspiration from the vibrant and diverse food culture offered up in Thailand, providing a one-stop-solution to satisfy your cravings. Soul Food Thai presents a modern soft-shell crab pad thai ($148), with tofu, beansprouts, egg, radish pickles, and a heap of battered and deep-fried soft-shell crabs, taking the creativity of pad thai to a whole new level.
Soul Food Thai, 26–28 Elgin Street, Soho, Central | (+852) 2177 3544