Chachawan | Hong Kong

Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Most of the Thai restaurants abroad serve Bangkok-style cuisine, but Chachawan serves Isaan Thai cuisine from Northeast Thailand which I have never tried before. According to the restaurant, "Isaan food originates from the Isaan region in northeast Thailand and has a raw down-to-earthiness about it that is rarely found in other regions of Thailand. The flavors are intense with a sour, salty and spicy balance while focusing on grilled meats and salads." Since they don't take reservations, I was advised to come before 12:30pm for lunch to avoid having to wait for seats. I love its rustic and retro decor, especially the stairs right by the entrance with posters plastered on the walls which reminds me of old Chinese cha chaan tengs actually. Unfortunately as the restaurant has an open door design coupled with the AC not being strong enough, it was just really really hot to eat here in the summer heat even though we were sitting inside in the middle of the restaurant.

Pineapple and Guava Slushi ($50) - I needed a cold drink to cool down so I ordered the pineapple and guava slushi. I couldn't really taste the guava though while the pineapple flavor wasn't strong enough. The drink was not impressive and not really worth the price tag. [3/5]

Kai Jiaw ($122) - thank goodness the food was amazing though! This Thai omelet of crab, spring onions and sriracha sauce was crispy on the outside yet soft and fluffy on the inside with delicious crab flavors. Very well executed dish! [4.5/5]

Pia Mauk Yung ($98) - the flash grilled squid and coriander salad dressed with green chili and lime was another home run as the seafood was cooked just right with its tender texture. The sauce was spicy and tangy at the same time which was very refreshing to eat! [5/5]

Hoi Nung ($95) - the steamed local clams served with galangal and chili dressing was a mixed bag for me. Some of the clams were a bit overcooked while it didn't taste as sweet as I'd imagined. While I liked the spicy sauce, I thought the pairing overwhelmed the freshness of the clams so you're just tasting the dressing instead of the clams. [3.5/5]

Gai Yung ($158) - marinated for 24 hours in garlic, pepper and coriander, the chicken thigh was grilled until crispy on the outside and it was simply fantabulous! The chicken was so succulent and tasty to eat while the accompanying jhim jeaw - a spicy dipping sauce - enhanced the flavors wonderfully as well. [5/5]

Green Mango (free) - at the end of the meal, we were given a free dessert which were 2 slices of green mango with red and green chili sugar. The mango was firm to eat and not too sweet while I really enjoyed dipping it into the chili sugar. Yum!

Verdict -  we were joking that with the heat and the rustic decor, we felt like we were eating at a beach front restaurant in Thailand - everything felt exactly the same except for our wallets. While the prices can be steep for Thai food, the quality of food was certainly high and we will probably go back when the weather is much cooler. 

206 Hollywood Road
2549 0020

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