Hong Kong budget eats

Michelin-recommended Thai meals in Hong Kong for under US$13, and they do a mean Hainan chicken

Review: Thai Chiu restaurant in Central, one of several branches, offers tasty food for diners on a budget. Among the Thai classics, the stand-out dish was Hainan chicken

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2018, 12:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2018, 1:22pm

Is it possible to eat Thai food recommended by Michelin Guide experts at a reasonable price in Hong Kong? That’s exactly what Thai Chiu, a small joint tucked behind dai pai dongs in Graham Street, promises.

The branch in Central is one of several. The original Thai Chiu in Sham Shui Po has been featured in the Bib Gourmand section (for “exceptionally good food at moderate prices”) of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau since 2011.

“Simple it may be, but the food is good, and the prices are competitive,” the guide inspectors say about the venue.

The owners are not shy about letting people know about the inclusion in the guide, and the pneumatic French mascot can be spotted prominently on the wall stickers, table covers and menu.

As a reminder that this is a Thai restaurant, customers can find the front part of a green tuk tuk, the auto rickshaws seen on the streets of Bangkok, next to the entrance.

The interior, with metal tables and seats, and decorated with images of Bangkok’s nightscape, was clean and cool.

With barely a couple of tables taken, it was surprisingly quiet, especially in comparison to the bustling alley full of street food stalls outside.

The green papaya salad with lime dressing (HK$48) was a refreshing starter that combines sweet and slightly bitter flavours and will whet the appetite.

Thai deep-fried spring rolls (HK$28 for two) were on the small side and there wasn’t much filling, but they were a good match with the sweet and sour sauce.

The restaurant’s speciality is Hainan chicken rice (HK$60).We ordered it with chicken wings (extra HK$10), which were tender and delicious, served with yellow rice and an aromatic sauce.

Finally, we tried the Thai special curry rice (HK$60) with beef tendon and brisket. It wasn’t a spicy curry; rather, it was a mild yellow sauce that was enjoyable. We used the “Thai pizza” (HK$30) – small triangles of flatbread – to mop up the sauce.

Thai Chiu is a good choice for Thai food on a budget – and we’d visit again, just for the Hainan chicken rice.

Thai Chiu, 7 Graham Street, Central, tel: 2488 4444. Open: 11am-9pm 

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