Header image courtesy of Sip Song
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 as we seek 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 seven 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 à la carte menu, as the dishes are all made to share. Start off with some ginger, peanuts, toasted coconut & lime ($128), served on betel leaves, and split a couple of curries—the red curry of pork with green peppercorns & holy basil ($318) and the coconut & turmeric curry of mud crab ($358) are good choices. Finish with a light dessert in the form of classic and authentic street food—and no, not your basic mango sticky rice… coconut dumplings with palm sugar & grated coconut ($148), of course.
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 (ข้าวเหนียว; khao niaow) as its staple carb, clear broths, and a thicker and more intensely-flavoured fermented fish sauce (ปลาร้า; pla ra). You’ll find Chachawan packed out during weekday lunches, as the fast and easy Chacha lunch ($148) is a great way to sample your Isaan favourites without breaking the bank. The signature gai yung ($158) is a crowd-pleaser: a chunky piece of chicken thigh marinated in Thai garlic pepper and coriander, then grilled until crispy and served skewered. The larp moo ($128), a minced meat salad with chopped pork, crackling, shallots, mint, coriander, and a spicy and sour dressing, is another firm favourite.
Chachawan, 206 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan | (+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 the 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 that soaks up all the fatty goodness from the creamy curry and creates heaven in a spoonful. Their flavourful take on Thai-style boat noodles ($68) is also worth a mention. Additionally, there’s 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
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. The restaurant’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 love and her mother’s recipe straight from Bangkok. Now, she and her godchildren run several successful Thai restaurants around town, but for a meal that feels like a hug, go to this location and order a spicy tom yum goong with king shrimps ($178), made with fresh lime juice that Ah On and her 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 of 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 soup noodle ($138), 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.
If there’s one Thai restaurant in Hong Kong that’ll have you feeling like you’re lounging on the sandy shores of Pa Tong or Phuket, it’s beach-hugging Sip Song out in sunny Repulse Bay. Decked out in glowing colours and vivid floral patterns, the interiors will have your heart screaming for summer holidays and your tongues craving for spice. We like it here because it’s good for any occasion, whether it’s a weekend catch-up with friends, a hearty family meal, or to celebrate with loved ones.
Dig into the roti kor muu yang prik pow ($95), a tantalising starter of roti pancake topped with barbecued pork neck, chilli jam, fresh herbs, and crispy shallots, and the yum woon sen ($135), a fresh seafood glass noodle salad with a sour and spicy dressing. You can’t go wrong with mains of tom kha gai ($95), a creamy coconut chicken curry with mushrooms, lemongrass, and lime, and the finger-lickin’-good moo se krong naam pla waan ($185), the flavours of which will make you denounce your relationship with any other pork ribs. A word of warning: their phad kee mao gai ($135), a drunken-style spicy noodle dish with free-range chicken, green peppercorns, and baby corn, packs quite the chilli kick—not one for milder palates!
Sip Song, Shop 114–115, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay | (+852) 2898 3788
Newcomer Ruam does up a wicked gaeng phed ped yang ($188)—that’s duck leg curry with lychees, banana chillies, and peanut for non-Thai speakers—that you don’t want to miss. But you’ll have to find the restaurant first before you can get a taste of it. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai, Ruam is just up a set of steps from trendy Ship Street, nestled amongst lush foliage and perfect for both intimate dinners and casual group affairs.
Fortunately, their alfresco terrace provides a welcoming environment for both two-legged and four-legged diners—yes, it’s pet-friendly! Stop by for relaxed drinks accompanied by delectable drinking snacks like tod mun pla ($88)—flavourful fish cakes seasoned with red curry and kaffir limes—and moo ping ($78), tender pork belly skewers served with a dipping sauce of jim jaew (แจ่ว; Thai chilli sauce).
Ruam, Shop 9, 1/F, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road, Ship Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 3160 8535