Last week I unpacked my thermals, put on my faux fur-jacket and my beanie with the dangly ear bits. No, I am not going on an arctic expedition – what do you mean? In fact, winter is finally here in Hong Kong. As soon as the thermometer (OK… my phone AP) reads 15C it is time to dress warm – and, better still, to eat warming, rich and creamy green Thai curry.
This week I really felt like exploring a great curry recipe, so I decided to ask around and to go sample some of the finest tastes of Thailand in town. So where to get some authentic Thai green curry in town to fix your craving? Here are our top 3 picks in town not to be missed:
Step into the reddish warm wood decor, this fiery yet cozy place reminds me of the colorful Bangkok architecture. The manager of Ayuthaiya, Roberto, was also kind enough to answer some questions for my blog.
What’s in the chicken curry recipe? Tender, mouthwatering chicken cooked to perfection, with crunchy Thai eggplants, Thai basil and bell pepper, with a dash of coconut cream to finish
What is the secret? They make their green curry paste in house using kaffir lime leaves, Thai ginger and green chili blends with lime juice and fish sauce
What sets them apart? When asked what makes their curry chicken taste so delicious, Roberto explains consistency, fresh produce and authenticity are key. All of their kitchen staff, including the head chef, are from Thailand to give you the genuine taste of Thailand.
He recommends, to perfect your meal, pairing the green curry with their exclusive Thai red wine collection. Ayuthaiya is the only restaurant I have been to that offers wine from a thai vineyard. Their wines are made of colombard, French wine grapes, which are imported to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard to produce this surprisingly smooth, easy to drink Shiraz. It settles the spiciness and blends with the sweetness of the coconut cream harmoniously.
If you can handle the heat, ask for ‘Bangkok spicy’ when ordering Thai green curry chicken and they will know what to do to satisfy your chilly desire.
Good Luck Thai
Despite the less-than-glamorous location to the side of Lan Kwai Fong, Good Luck Thai is a hidden gem. Packed most week nights and weekends and beloved by locals and tourists-in-the-know, Good Luck Thai is an unpretentious but satisfying place to eat. They also have some of the friendliest staff in Hong Kong, and when I told the waiter about my task to find the finest green curry in HK, he brought out, one-by-one, each staff member for a lovely afternoon chat.
What’s in it? Made with coconut milk, coconut powder, eggplants, long beans, local chicken meat, and garnished with thai basil leaves and chili.
What’s the secret? Their green thai curry recipe is made in-house by blending a handful of ingredients including thai blue ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves, chili, shallots and garlic.
What sets them apart? One of their Thai chefs, Thing, (pronounced Ting), was working for different bosses and also preparing meals for them back home. Over time she has perfected her homemade green Thai chicken curry which she learnt from her mom. Combining technical skills with their head chef Amon, originally from Chingmai, who has been working at Good Luck Thai for over a decade, they have perfected this homey and warm green curry.
They believe their dedication and emphasis on the quality of the food is what keep customers coming back for more. Their ingredients are freshly delivered daily from their suppliers in town. They have been working with the same poultry supplier for as long as they have been open – a quarter of a century ago! I guess this explains why they have succeeded in holding down the same spot for over 25 years.
Why we love it? Good Luck Thai food recipes are creamy, rich and spicy with a tangy taste of thai basil. Topped up coconut cream balances the heat and sweetness. While fresh, long green beans add a layer of texture, their white rice has a slight chewiness and it just absorbs the sauce and allows the entire dish combination pops in your mouth. A taste of home cooking and genuineness, that’s why it made it into my 3 Thai green curries in Hong Kong to try.
Address: 13 Wing Wah Lane, Lan Kwai Fong, Central
TEL: 2877 2971
I had eaten at this Thai restaurant before, opposite the bar Pong in Sai Ying Pun, and really liked the steamed fish, so I thought I would let them know about my green curry challenge and called in advance. Chef Tom Samranjit has a lot of successful ventures under his belt. Marco Polo hotel groups, Conrad, Holiday Inn Macau, just to name a few, he has been providing his fine dining consultancy and culinary expertise all over Asia. But his passion is very clear: he wants to turn Thai curries into a new dining adventure for his customers. He was adamant about being on top of the food scene in Hong Kong and his dedication to exploring his craftsmanship and creativity through cooking.
What’s in it? Unlike most restaurants, this curry has Australian wagyu beef cheek as the main protein, thai baby eggplants which are round, tiny, and slightly bitter. These round babies give the green curry an extra depth of flavor, along with long snake beans, which are similar to French beans, bell pepper, chili pepper and krachai. The dish is complete with a fresh handful of fresh thai basil, krachai (a root vegetable similar to ginger) and a dash of their homemade coconut cream.
What is the secret? Every day, Tom takes coconut milk and put it into the freezer and waits for the water and cream to separate; he then takes the rich white coconut cream from the frozen mixture and combines it with his secret green curry paste, which is fresh made in Thailand and then transported to his Sai Ying Pun location. He adds a blend of oyster sauce, lime leaves, and turmeric to complete the explosively vibrant colors and flavors.
What sets them apart? Tom insists on the authenticity of his dishes which are clearly presented in his menu. Most of their produce is from Thailand to keep the dish’s authenticity. When asked why use wagyu beef cheek instead of chicken, he stresses beef cheek is often used in Italian and French cooking, as a main protein to compliment a great tasting stew or with a heavy sauce. He also infuses the beef with lemongrass, coriander and cardamom and you can definitely taste the extension of flavor through the infusion. Don’t reach for the rice just yet. Their thai green curry recipe also includes an amazingly buttery roti nann which is to die for.
If your diet skips beef, their chefs are happy to provide prawns or chicken as an alternative. Don’t be shy to ask.
Why we love it? From north to south, from street food, home cooking to fine dining, you won’t find a better harmony than Thai Na. Thai Na offers a very rounded menu with creative twists and techniques to traditional Thai cooking. If you want a culinary adventure and love Thai food, Thai Na is not to be missed. If you can’t make it to celebrate the first Christmas of Thai Na, you can get curry delivered to you!
This rounds up our top picks of Thai green curries in Hong Kong.