5 best Thai restaurants in Hong Kong

5 best Thai restaurants in Hong Kong

5 best Thai restaurants in Hong Kong
People shop at a market in Hong Kong. (File photo: Reuters)

Hong Kong-born Vita Chan was seven years old when she first visited her mother's home city, Phitsanulok, in northern Thailand.

Chan, whose father is Chinese, fell in love instantly with the country's food and festivals. Songkran, a Thai New Year celebration that is held around mid-April, struck a chord.

"I've celebrated Songkran in Thailand many times over the years, from Chiang Mai [in the north] to Pattaya [in the southeast]," says Chan.

With Thailand consistently ranking among the five most popular destinations for Hongkongers - the three-hour flight to Bangkok appeals to travellers' seeking a short-haul holiday - Chan was determined to promote Thai culture in Hong Kong.

In 2015, she founded Songkran HK. While last year's celebrations landed some participants in legal hot water, the festival, Chan says, is all about washing away misfortune - a time to cleanse the mind and body.

"If you did something wrong to your parents or grandparents, then Songkran is about washing away those problems and starting fresh," she says of one of the most important events on the Buddhist calendar.

Songkran HK 2024 will be held at The Space at D2 Place One in Lai Chi Kok from April 4-8, with Hong Kong celebrating the festival before the official April 13-16 dates to avoid clashing with another event in the city.

While a water party on April 6 will be one of the highlights, Chan says the festival offers a lot more - from traditional Thai dancing, Muay Thai displays, a Buddha bathing and monk offering ceremony to stalls selling Thai-made goods. Thai food will also be served.

For those hungry for Thai food options, Chan recommends Kowloon City, Hong Kong's "Little Thailand". The moment you step out of the MTR's Sung Wong Toi station (exit B1), you are greeted by dozens of Thai restaurants and grocery stores.

Thai flags flap in front of shops selling street snacks, Thai Singha beer and ready-made soups and sauces (green curry, tom yum), while Buddha offerings of fruit, flower garlands (phuang malai) and incense are everywhere.

The community grew in the 1970s when Chiu Chow men and the women they married in Thailand settled in the area. Today, it is set for a facelift under a HK$15 billion (US$1.9 billion) redevelopment scheme that will impact around 1,600 households and 140 shops.

Chan shares some of her favourite Thai restaurants in the neighbourhood and beyond.

Pepper crab with jelly noodles is a popular dish at Thai Palace Restaurant in Kowloon City. (Photo: Thai Palace Restaurant)

1. Thai Palace Restaurant

Two adjoining restaurants have the same name, owner and menu, which is not just vast but heavy on seafood: its pepper crab with jelly noodles is a bestseller.

The pad Thai, a traditional stir-fried dish made with rice noodles, shrimps, peanuts, scrambled egg and bean sprouts - this one is topped with plump prawns - is also popular. Wash it down with a young coconut.

15 Nga Tsin Long Road, Kowloon City, tel: 2382 0900

Crispy pork knuckle at BTS Food Station in Kowloon City. (Photo: BTS Food Station)

2. BTS Food Station

On an Easter public holiday, this cheap and cheerful local favourite was packed with customers. Chan loves the yellow curry seashell and crispy pork knuckle.

The owner, she adds, operates another of her favourite restaurants - the Minibangkok Thai Food Station with outlets in Kowloon City and Causeway Bay.

G/F, 11 Nam Point Road, Kowloon City, tel: 27167828

Grilled pork neck at Golden Aroy Thai Restaurant in Lai Chi Kok. (Photo: Golden Aroy Thai Restaurant)

3. Golden Aroy Thai Restaurant

At this popular spot in Lai Chi Kok, Chan cannot resist the grilled pork neck boat noodles.

"Twenty years ago, people in Hong Kong didn't eat grilled pork neck," she says. That changed when Thai people started serving the dish. "Today, many Hong Kong people like it but it's become expensive and difficult to find."

Those with a sweet tooth and a love for coconut can dip into the coconut pudding with crispy shredded coconut, a layered dessert with coconut sugar on the surface, frozen coconut milk in the middle and frozen coconut water on the bottom.

Shop 102, 1/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok, tel: 2889 3478

Tom yum kung at Here Thai Market in Sha Tin. (Photo: Here Thai Market)

4. Here Thai Market

Chan's go-to dish at this Sha Tin hotspot is tom yum kung, Thailand's much-loved hot and sour soup with shrimp. She also likes the fried rice with crabmeat.

There is a good reason people are hitting this new restaurant in New Town Plaza: Thitid Tassanakajohn, the top Thai chef behind Bangkok's Le Du and Hong Kong fine-dining Thai restaurant Niras, helped with the menu.

Shop A216, 2/F, Phase III, New Town Plaza, 18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin, tel: 31082197

5. Siam Garden Thai Restaurant

Thailand has more than 1,000 islands, so it is not surprising that seafood is a big part of the nation's cuisine.

Chan gets her fish fix at Siam Garden Thai Restaurant in North Point, where she loves the salt baked sea bass and the basa fish with plum sauce.

Shop B, G/F, 116-122 Tsat Tsz Mui Road, North Point, tel: 2561 7288

Basa fish with plum sauce at Siam Garden Thai Restaurant in North Point. (Photo: Siam Garden Thai Restaurant)

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