So after some misses with Na Thai, I was finally able to make pay a visit for dinner one weekend night. Na Thai has been on my foodie radar for some time, and I do need a great Thai food spot to nurse that occasional craving. It is rather near to my place, and came recommended by a fellow food lover. Her recommendation has yet to stray far from being excellent, and this time it was no different.
Yum Pla Duk Fu – Deep Fried Crispy Crayfish (HK$95)
The star of the night. I was half expecting whole pieces of crayfish deep fried, but what turned out was a complete surprise. The bits of crayfish were fried to a golden crisp, almost like meat floss. Tossed with a refreshing spicy mango salad and peanuts, the contrast of texture and flavour was nothing short of intoxicating. I liked that, unlike many other Thai salad, the mango salad wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy. The sour in the green mango was nicely complemented by the bits of cili padi. Be warned though – it’s unlikely that one person can finish the whole dish, so play nice and share.
Tom Yum Goong – Spicy Hot & Sour Soup (HK$70)
In my time I have come across many tom yum goong, and I am happy to report the Na Thai’s rendition was a great start to our meal. Four pieces of succulent prawns (peeled) were served in a whitish clear soup, almost camouflaging the mild spiciness within. You may have come across tom yum which are rather on the heavy side. This one was light, almost like Chinese soup you would have at the beginning of the meal. I suspect this has much to do with the healthy use of lemongrass, kaffir leaves and coriander. It’s not a stellar tom yum per se, but definitely something you can write home about.
Gai Yang – Grilled Chicken (HK$155)
Despite the rather heft price tag for what appears to be servings of a spring chicken, I relished every pieces of this. There is nothing crispy about this plate of grilled chicken despite how it looked, except for the charred bits. The thinlayer of fat retains its natural juiciness with a faint taste of Thai herbs, and the chicken itself was nicely done without being dry (as of the usual case of grilled chicken). I would have liked the dish a bit less oily though.
Pad Kra Phrao – Stir Fried Minced Meat (HK$90)
The only disappointment of the night. I am a fan of fried minced beef with Thai basil, so I could tell immediately this was below standard. To be honest this came as a surprise considering the other stuff I had. The beefy taste of the meat is gone, and for the life of me I couldn’t taste the basil. I could have done this myself at home with some supermarket minced meat, some pepper and soy sauce.
Traditional Thai Milk Tea (HK$30)
Those who know their Thai drinks will go for Thai iced tea, but in my years of eating Thai in Hong Kong, I have yet to come across a decent one. Thai tea is a special breed – it’s quite smokey to the taste, almost herbal-like, which of course a delightful contrast when you mixed that with some sugar syrup and milk. Na Thai’s iced tea was that, though I would have liked the sugar and milk to have been mixed for me. I just could not get the balance right, so in the end I was just drinking some unsweetened, smokey tea.
A word about the place. It is a rather small outfit, tucked away along Min Fat Street. The facade was dim and rather subdued; you would have missed it have you not been looking for it. Little wonder that I never noticed it before. The interior can probably fit some 15 – 20 people at best, so call early to book a table. Service was great; the wait crew was attentive, almost to a fault, and water etc was refilled promptly. Despite the lack of space, I was able to carry out my conversation discreetly without having to shout. The background music of Thai instruments was soothing. All in all, a great place to have a great meal in the neighbourhood.
Verdict? A definite great find in Happy Valley for some very decent Thai grub. With one whole menu in front of me to try out, I can’t wait!
G/F, 8 Min Fat Street