Over the past year Hangzhou has practically doubled its number of Thai restaurants. We were on a mission to find the best one in town and found seven that each have something unique to offer.
1) Bai Pho Thong – No. 29 Gao Yin Street
Bai Pho Thong has the most authentic Thai dining experience. Greeted with “Sawadee” (Thai for “hello”) as you enter the door, the greatest care and attention has been given to every detail. The entire restaurant has been imported from Thailand--from the wallpaper to the tablecloths. The warm interior is the perfect setting for couples on a romantic night out or friends going out on the town. With two Thai chefs at the helm, the large menu is full of enticing culinary treats with all the curries available (Green, Red, Yellow, Massaman and Pa-nang). Our favorite dish is the Green Lemon Steamed Fish (109 RMB); it has a lovely citrus twang and a spicy kick. We finished with the classical Mango Sticky Rice with Sweet Coconut Cream (49 RMB), the best in Hangzhou and a must have on the menu. The service is top notch, and their menu is easy to read and illustrated with brilliant food and place photos. As we left, we experienced the Thai thank you “Khob-kun-ka.”
Mango Sticky Rice
2) Sawsadees – The Wyndham Plaza, No. 555 Fengqi Road, 2/F
Sawsadee’s in the Wyndham Plaza Hotel is also authentic Thai food in a fine dining atmosphere. Dimly lit, the restaurant has great ambiance and Thai music adds to the charm. The wait staff is ever-present and speak decent English. The dishes are presented with simple elegance and never disappoint, with a range of fieriness that can be toned down upon request. Their Red Curry is served with juicy Duck pieces (52rmb), and they have proper Thai Jasmine rice (just 8 RMB a bowl). Their Thai Iced Lemon Tea is a much needed thirst quencher. Open for a year, Sawsadee’s has been making their presence known with a range of awesome promotions. On Wednesday nights they offer a Curry Buffet for 98 RMB per person, but being in the Wyndham, they do add a 15% surcharge to the bill.
3) The Shark’s Fin – JinShan Hotel, No. 3 North ZhongHe Road, 2/F
Continuing with elegant dining is the Shark’s Fin at the JinShan Hotel. As you climb the staircase admire the ornate golden elephants, you’ll know you are in the right place. This restaurant combines Thai and Guangdong dining, but surprisingly their head chef is Thai. Their focus is primarily on seafood, but there are a few traditional Thai dishes present for surprisingly low costs. The restaurant is one of the oldest of its kind, and the wait staff is well trained, always on-hand to top off your cup with hot jasmine tea. They have the largest Pineapple Fried Rice (48 RMB) with the biggest quantity of juicy pineapple chunks in town, so if you like your rice heavy on the pineapple side, this is the place to be. The Yellow Coconut Thai Chicken is decent but not very spicy. Although they don’t have the traditional Phad Thai dish, they do have a Thai-style fried noodle dish that turned out to be our favorite. Their Mango Pudding in Coconut Milk (15rmb) is the best in town. They offer private dinning rooms, too. Despite their Thai food selection being limited, what they do have is quite good.
Pineapple Fried Rice
4) Mango Thai – No. 18 Baishanquan, off of Shuguang Road
If you are looking for good Thai food with a lighter, more casual atmosphere, Mango Thai is the place to be. This bright, colorful place is just about to hit their one-year mark. Their Thai chef has created a menu full of mouth-watering dishes you can share with your friends. The many secluded nooks within their restaurant also make it a nice place to go for a date. The Asparagus in Bacon Thai-style (35 RMB) makes eating vegetables a real treat. The Crispy Vegetables in Tamarind and Chili Sauce (32 RMB) looks a little strange but is surprisingly delicious. For the meat lovers, try the Grilled Lamb Chops with Authentic Green Curry (68 RMB). The ‘Walk in Hangzhou Phad Thai Fried Noodles in Messy Taste’ (35 RMB) not only takes the prize for the Phad Thai with the longest name but is also voted one of the best. Finish up with the Banana in Coconut Milk (22rmb), served piping hot. This restaurant is also the only one with traditional Thai Milk Tea on the menu.
5) Curry Bistro – No. 391 Wantang Road, off of WenYi Road
Curry Bistro has the oldest reputation in Hangzhou for Thai dishes and placed in the top 10 South East Asia Restaurants in Zhejiang awards in 2008. Curry Bistro offers a casual dining experience in a little, two-story joint that’s never short of hospitality. They were once able to boast having 13 curries, but now only focus on a few: Thai, Malay, Japanese, and French. Their Seafood and Pineapple Fried Rice (38 RMB) is a real surprise with the strongest curry flavor of any rice in town. Additionally, Curry Bistro the only restaurant to offer a variety of seafoods in their fried rice, including shrimp, crab and shellfish. We also recommend the Deep Fried Chicken with Lemongrass (42 RMB). Their desert menu starts at 8 RMB for Sago with Coconut Milk. They have just opened a second location in the MIXC Mall on the 5th floor. They also offer delivery with Sherpa’s (www.sherpa.com.cn) with a complete ordering menu on line.
Deep Fried Chicken with Lemongrass
6) Banana Leaf – No. 39 Hubin Road, and No. 5 Hubin Road
The Banana Leaf must be doing something right, for they have many food awards hanging on their walls. However, the food is not authentic Thai. This is a Hong Kong based chain, and they are popular enough among the locals to have two locations in Hangzhou. The older restaurant, at 39 Hubin Road, has been around for nine years, and feels like walking into a fancy tree house. The theme is definitely exotic, and the owners have done a good job to allow their typical diner to feel transported. Their menu is eclectic, with lots of Seafood and a range of Asian dishes. There is an Indian Chef on display, showcased as he makes na’an at both restaurants. Filipinos liven up the entertainment at the 5 Hubin Road location, singing English songs on the 1st floor stage or walking around to serenade the guests on the 2nd and 3rd levels. Despite having the same name, the two locations don’t have quite the same menu. The older location offers more Thai dishes with Green and Red Curry being offered in Chicken, Pork, and Beef for 69 RMB—seafood for 68-79 RMB. The newer location isn’t as fancy as the first, and the tree house feeling is only on the 3rd floor. Their selection of Thai Food is very small, but they do have a simple Phad Thai (35 RMB) and Seafood Pineapple Fried Rice (36 RMB). Things don’t seem as nice as the other restaurants we have tried, but perhaps, we went at the wrong time.
7) The Oriental – Landison Plaza Hotel, No. 333 Tiyuchang Road, 2/F
Thai food is not the only thing on the menu, and therefore, may suit a larger group that wants a more broadly defined Southeast Asian, dining experience. The restaurant is an interesting mash of Thai and Japanese style, with private rooms that fall heavily on the Japanese side. The staff must be summoned for ordering. Offering a variety of South Asian dishes, the menu includes Indian food, but we stuck to the main Thai dishes. The Phad Thai is tasty at 38 RMB, although it did have a slice of lemon instead of lime. The traditional curries are offered as well: vegetable, chicken, beef and shrimp. We recommend sticking with the chicken. The Green Curry tastes authentic enough, but we don’t be surprised to see a full bowl of veggies in a normally simple dish. They have a large desert menu, including traditional Mango Sticky Rice (48 RMB), and Fried Filipino Bananas (18 RMB). Try the Mango Pudding, and an interesting interpretation of the Black Rice Pudding, which came out shaped like a heart and topped with grey icing as if it were cake. It looked great, but we’ll let you decide whether it’s worth ordering again.
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Keywords: Thai delicacies Hangzhou Hangzhou Thai food Southeast Asian Cuisine Hangzhou
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