Restaurant review: Krua Walaiphan in Sai Ying Pun – tasty Thai food that every neighbourhood should have
The barbecued chicken thighs and deep-fried soft shell crab had us yearning for more but the Thai red curry with pork was dull and the food was slow to arrive
There should be at least one Krua Walaiphan – or something similar to it – in every neighbourhood. The Thai food might not be fancy and the presentations are very homestyle (in other words, it’s plopped on a plate). But it is casual and unpretentious – the menu is printed on the paper table mats and the counter has stacks of boxes filled with food for takeaway orders – and the staff give a warm welcome.
The menu lists starters, salads, mains and noodles/rice, but the dishes came out as they were cooked and in no particular order.
Fish cakes with home-made sweet chilli sauce (HK$78) were plump, moist and piping hot, although they should have been blotted better to get rid of the excess oil.
Grilled pork neck salad (HK$128) had bright flavours with plenty of fresh mint and coriander. There was a subtle crunch from the ground toasted rice, but the meat was slightly chewy.
Thai red curry with pork (HK$108; you can also have it with chicken) was very dull; the sauce had a rich, thick texture but not much flavour. It was the only dish we left unfinished.
Deep-fried soft shell crab with crispy garlic, white pepper and spring onion came as a choice of four pieces for HK$118 or six for HK$178. We ordered the smaller portion but regretted it as soon as we tasted it – we wanted more. The crabs were crunchy, moist and delicious; we even ordered some white rice so we could eat the toppings of fried garlic, chillies and spring onions.
Even better were the barbecued chicken thighs with house special sauce (HK$158). The boneless thighs were well-charred and so succulent and flavourful the dipping sauce wasn’t needed. The chicken went very well with a dish of stir-fried morning glory flavoured with garlic and chillies (HK$78).
The food came at a slow pace, possibly because much of the business was takeaway.
Krua Walaiphan, Ko Wang Court, 29 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, tel: 2804 1555. About HK$135 per person without drinks. There is no service charge.
While you’re in the area:
Restaurant review: Kaum in Sai Ying Pun – Bali import brings authentic tastes of the island of the gods