The grid of streets sandwiched between Junction Road and Sa Po Road south of the Kowloon Walled City Park (one of our favourite urban parks) is Hong Kong’s Little Thailand. The Thai community in our SAR used to be based in Central before increasingly higher rents pushed them out to Kowloon City, near the old Kai Tak airport. What that means is, the area is now home to more Thai restaurants than you can shake a stick of lemongrass at – and they’re among city’s best, too. Here’s our pick of the finest...
And if Kowloon City is maybe too far to go, why not check out the best restaurants in Sham Shui Po or Kennedy Town?
Kowloon City’s best Thai restaurants
Somewhat hidden away from the casual foodie, Amporn Thai Food, housed inside Kowloon City’s cooked food centre, serves a mean pad thai packed full of meaty prawns, peanuts and crunchy green onions. It goes great with just about any dish on the deliciously varied menu and the chefs don’t skimp on the spice either.
Cambo is popular with the resident Thai population of Kowloon City for its authentic flavours and fresh ingredients. The decor and service are pretty rustic, so don’t expect too much on those fronts, but this is a great spot for a genuine Thai meal at a reasonable price. Two signature dishes not to be missed are the fried shrimp balls and the raw shrimp sashimi.
Shrimp sashimi, boiled cockles and grilled chicken are the most frequently ordered dishes at this Nam Kwok Road spot, but we think the main attraction is the grill and hotpot combo. This culinary creation consists of an elevated, sloped charcoal grill surrounded by a moat of broth. A ball of beef lard sits on top, which lubricates the grill and lends the meat an extra flavour. The meat juices then trickle down into the broth, making it perfect for cooking your meatballs, veggies and vermicelli.
A bright and spacious interior with traditional Thai hats adorning its wooden walls, Chalawan predominantly serves up hot and sour tom yum soups and fresh seafood. Drinks are, of course, served in coconuts and the restaurant’s famous ‘birds waiting for love’ – breaded prawns made to look like little chickens – are especially fun. They’re too cute not to gobble up in one go.
Named after one of Bangkok’s many rivers, Chao Phraya serves up all kinds of seafood delights in a funky street food style. Especially good is the soft-shell crab and pumpkin curry – served overflowing from a hollowed out pumpkin – which the restaurant is well known for. You can’t miss Chao Phraya – just look out for the giant neon sign.
Styled like a traditional pagoda on the outside, Friendship serves up seemingly every Thai dish you could imagine, from Thai hot pot and tom yum soup to won tons and curry crab. First-timers have to try their signature spicy fried crab and pineapple seafood fried rice, a perfectly proportioned balance of sweet and salty. Wash it down with a fresh coconut water served in a husky shell.
You wouldn’t think it from its shabby appearance but this is one of the very best of the Thai restaurants in Hong Kong. Try the green and red curries and the tom kha soup too. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, go for the raw prawns, topped with garlic and chilies and served with a lip-numbingly hot sauce on the side. Don’t forget to cool that burn with a bottle of Chang beer fresh from the motherland.
A safe bet for unpretentious Thai food with flavours that are the real deal, Wong Chun Chun delivers on the price point too with a large menu of bargainous dishes. It’s hard to miss the bright purple building on the corner of Tak Ku Ling Road, which is one of the largest and oldest in the area. The curry fried crab is a must.