Named after Dai Pai Dong—the large snack booths you’ll find littered across Hong Hong since World War II, but now are scattered throughout Guangdong—where people scarf down steaming bowls of noodles and dumplings aplenty. However, they haven’t just stolen the name, but indeed the entire concept. In fact, it feels more Cantonese than Thai, which is not exactly ideal.
On entering, it was suggested we venture upstairs to eat. After climbing the steep, narrow stairway, it suddenly is quite cozy. Bright, colorful chairs, red and white checkered table cloths you normally find in French bistros and dozens of cute Thai posters that look like they have been downloaded straight off the internet are hung throughout the space.
The menu looked promising: different types of curries, fried rice, noodles, salads, snacks and soups. Packed into the menu are all the Thai classics and every page offers a couple of lesser known “Chef’s Recommendations.”
Since it was our first-ever visit to the restaurant, we played it safe with well-known favorites: Pad Thai (18 RMB), Green Papaya Salad (22 RMB), Tom Yum Kung (small, 45 RMB), Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai (Green Chicken Curry, 42 RMB) and Fried Rice with Sambal Belacan.
The fried rice was the best dish, hands-down. Of course it was. The place is run by Chinese after all! The green chicken curry was a disappointment primarily because we couldn’t see much chicken. You get what you pay for, I guess. The rest of the dishes were fine without being particularly striking. None of our crew had an overwhelming desire to come back for the food, but we liked the atmosphere of the place, for sure.
As for the drinks, they only had beer and soybean milk. A pity, as the menu promised imported Thai green coconut milk. Maybe next time.
In essence, Thai Pai Dong is basically a Dai Pai Dong, which isn’t a bad thing. The staff is cold and mind their own business; you’ll need to raise your voice to get their attention.
If you generally like the environment of a Cantonese Dai Pai Dong, but want to change the flavor, this place ain’t bad at all. It is delightfully casual here. For the most authentic Thai food, though, you’d better start saving up for that flight to Bangkok.
Address: Diagonally opposite the South Gate of Kingview Spring Garden, Spring Rd, Dongcheng