Siamese fire While Kowloon City has arguably the city?s highest concentration of Thai restaurants, more places in other parts of town are offering this often fiery cuisine, mostly with the focus on central and northeastern dishes. It is difficult to obtain work visas for Thai chefs and few chefs here are trained in the cuisine. But it is still possible to enjoy authentic Thai dishes. Hong Kong restaurateurs put a lot of effort into their menus, and many travel to Thailand a few times a year in search of new recipes. Sukhothai 1/F-2/F, 90 Stanley Main Street, Stanley 2899 0999 The fare The dishes are above average in taste and pleasing to the eye in presentation. The kaengs (Thai curries) are made from scratch, which makes a world of difference. The Ambience There is nothing that beats sitting on the terrace enjoying the sea breeze. The cost About $250 to $300 a person with a couple of drinks, which is pricier than regular Thai fare. But then this is not regular Thai fare. Who to bring A date, definitely. Turn-ons The penang curry with duck is simply delicious, with the skin slightly charred and the meat tender. Turn-oFFs The pumpkin custard is not as smooth as custard should be. The extras A chilled glass of semillon chardonnay will go down well with the food. Tom Yums Restaurant and Bar 44 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai 2527 2568 The fare Co-owner Greg Walk boasts of the authenticity of his restaurant?s food, and we are thoroughly convinced. The ambience The interior apparently resembles the inside of a house set beside a klong. Add to it a wall painting depicting a Thai water village, plus a bit of imagination, and you can almost believe you are in Thailand. The cost $200 a person with some wine. Who to bring Close friends. Turn-ons The som tam (papaya salad) is fiery and delicious, and all the kaengs (Thai curries) are well made. The tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup), creamy but with nice acidity, is also a winner. Turn-offs Repeated playings of the Backstreet Boys? Just Wanna Be Close To You. The extras Whisky soda and beer seem to be the best drinks to go with the food in this establishment, but there is also an adequate wine list to explore. Cafe Siam 40-42 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central 2851 4803 The fare The food is an eclectic mix of regional Thai dishes with a Central Thai bias (just like the restaurants in Bangkok). The ambience The exterior resembles a two-storey village house, with windows aglow. It is casual and cosy inside, with ethnic decor. The cost Two can eat happily ? from appetisers to desserts ? for less than $200 per head without wine. Who to bring Lan Kwai Fong partygoers warming up for a busy night. Turn-ons The khao soy (soft and crispy noodles with chicken in mild Burmese curry, $65), taken with a touch of lime juice; the aromatic red curry roast duck ($82); the mussaman 'Muslim-style' curry, slow-cooked with potato and peanuts ($68), and the Mekong whisky margarita. The pumpkin caramel (a dessert, $45) is smooth and creamy, sweet with a hint of salt. Turn-offs The low ceiling, especially on the second floor, makes the place feel claustrophobic. The extras The restaurant does promotions of regional Thai cuisine from time to time. Chilli N Spice - Shop 101, Murray House, Stanley Plaza, Stanley 2899 0147 The fare Tasty Thai dishes stylishly presented. The ambience Of all the branches of Chilli N Spice, this Stanley location arguably has the best atmosphere. A table on the terrace is recommended, but even sitting inside will provide glimpses of Stanley Bay. The cost About $150 a person without wine. Who to bring Whoever you would most like to spend a relaxing, peaceful lunch or dinner with. Turn-ons The ambience and the delicious Thai crab curry. Turn-offs The wine selection is limited. The extras At last count there were nine branches of this restaurant, with varying service and food. Chili Club 1/F, 88 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai 2527 2872 The fare Down-to-earth Thai fare, true to the restaurant?s style over the past two decades. The ambience Clean, bright and unfussy. The cost Two people can easily dine well for less than $400 without wine. Who to bring A big group of friends. Turn-ons The food is unpretentious but excellent. The hot and sour glass noodles are exceptional, and the deep-fried fish with spicy sauce has exciting, complex flavours. Turn-offs The beef in the red curry beef could be more tender. The choice of desserts is limited. The extras The venue is popular with both locals and expats. Green Shop 7, The Sanlitun, 28 Harbour Road, Wan Chai 2802 0666 The fare Traditional, stylishly presented Thai dishes with a twist. The ambience The interior, decorated in green tones, is like a stylish cafe. The alfresco area has mostly simple furnishing. The cost Around $200 a person without wine. Who to bring Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends ? whoever you would like to spend a relaxing evening with over fiery food. Turn-ons Deep-fried mixed shrimp (shrimp cakes) with preserved egg fish cakes, the seafood pomelo salad, and the deep-fried sea bass with lemongrass. The outdoor terrace. Turn-offs Some dishes are toned down too much. The extras A popular lunch spot, and the sets are good value for money. The Patio 7/F Harbour Plaza Metropolis Kowloon, 7 Metropolis Drive, Hunghom 3160 6880 The fare Fairly upmarket Thai food. The ambience The marquee on the terrace gives the impression the restaurant is preparing for a wedding. The cost $300 a person without wine. Who to bring Friends who smoke. Turn-ons The outdoor setting was pleasant and the staff were smart. The som tam (papaya salad) with shrimp was spiced to perfection; the beef curry was flavoursome and the meat tender. The service was efficient. Turn-offs The naan bread could have been fresher. The extras A good location to view fireworks at festive times of the year. Thai Lemongrass 3/F California Tower, 30-32 D?Aguilar Street, Central 2905 1688 The fare Old Thai favourites plus some original dishes. But the fare leans more towards the mild, grab-bag melange of curries than the clean, sharp flavours of Thai cuisine, which relies on assembling, rather than blending tastes and textures. The ambience Low lighting, bamboo features, split-bamboo blinds, stone carvings, fake banana palms and cane chairs. It?s all a bit kitsch, but the punters want to know they are eating tropical. The cost Quite expensive for what you get at $300 and more without wine. Who to bring People who have no intimate knowledge of Thai food but are likely to be impressed by a night out in D?Aguilar Street. Turn-ons Huge white napkins ? the best in Hong Kong outside luxury restaurants. Turn-offs Corkage charge of $200 a bottle and high wine prices, despite the pretty good list. The extras Nice use of lemongrass across the menu. Chung Shing G/F, 36B Tai Mei Tuk Village, Ting Kok Road, Tai Po 2662 6162 The fare All the popular Thai dishes one would expect. The ambience The seating is in the backyard of a village house, and the decor is simple ? like being at a roadside restaurant on the outskirts of Bangkok. The cost Less than $100 a person without wine. Who to bring Many, many friends. Turn-ons Truly delicious sauces and curries, and a memorable curried crab. The getaway feel is also a draw. Turn-offs Reaching the venue without a car can be taxing. (Take the KCR train to Tai Po Market station, and then take a bus or taxi to Tai Mei Tuk). The extras The owners also run a Chinese restaurant on the same strip, serving village-style 'food pots'. Klong Bar and Grill G/F, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai 2217 8330 The fare Papaya salad, well-tanned chicken wings and deep-fried prawn cakes start you off, preceding a limited array of bigger dishes. The ubiquitous duck curry contained the usual suspects-green tomatoes and significant fire. Good Thai inter-pretations, but the fare is limited. The ambience Dark and sexy in Thai style, with lots of polished timber, a moody bar and opium beds. The cost About $150 for a meal without drinks. Who to bring A significant or special other who you think might be seduced by a facade of the mystic East. Turn-ons The serving staff actually kneel when they take your order. Turn-offs Visitors to the restaurant have to remove their shoes before reclining on the opium beds, which can expose holey socks as well as unintentional odours. The extras Huge bowls of peanuts in their shells that are brought out when the drinks arrive. Chedi Restaurant and Bar G/F, 38 Elgin Street, SoHo 2868 4445 The fare Attractively presented dishes that range from average to delicious. The ambience The interior is cosy and unpretentious. The cost About $200 a person without wine. Who to bring A couple of close friends. Turn-ons The small patio at the back with its red brick walls and stone sculptures lit by spotlights is perfect for a cosy dinner. And the light and crispy deep-fried soft-shell crab is a must. Turn-offs There?s evaporated milk in the tom yum goong (hot and sour prawn soup). The extras The wine list is one of the best at a Hong Kong Thai restaurant. Wong Chun Chun Basement, G/F and 1/F, Belshine Centre, 23 Tak Ku Ling Road, Kowloon City 2716 6269442 8/F, Causeway Bay Plaza 2, 463-468 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay 2721 0099 / 2572 2911 The fare Diverse selection of wholesome Thai dishes. The ambience The relocated venue is a flashy space. The cost About $150 a person without wine. Who to bring Visitors to Hong Kong. Turn-ons Signature ones such as the curry crab pot, tom yum goong and marinated fresh prawn salad. Turn-offs The Causeway Bay location lacks the lustre that makes its Kowloon City sister restaurant so popular. The extras Fantastic discounts from time to time. Check www.wongchunchun.com.hk .