Thai food expert Kay Plunkett-Hogge was born and brought up in Bangkok in the 1970s. Author of the excellent, Baan: Recipes and stories from my Thai home, Kay has written for various publications sharing her expert knowledge and passion for Thai food. For your next trip to Thailand, check out these dishes and recommendations from Kay as she shares with us 10 of her favourite restaurants in Thailand.
Soi Polo Fried Chicken
Not a trip goes by where I don’t eat here at least once. They may just serve my favourite fried chicken anywhere in the world. Order it with sticky rice and soop nor mai (bamboo shoot salad), and extra deep fried garlic. And of course a cold bottle of beer!
People rave about the charcoal roasted bone marrow with perilla seeds, and they should. It’s delicious. I also love the grilled oyster blade of beef with nam jim jaew and Isaan chimichurri. For dessert the green mango sorbet with nam pla wan brittle is a stunner. This is really creative modern Thai cooking. Great wine list too.
People travel for miles to eat their moo tom khem (slow braised pork ribs). I also love the 1000 year old eggs stir fried with holy basil (kai yeow ma pad krapow) and the prawns baked with vermicelli noodles (goong op woonsen). I’ve been visiting for 15 years, Anchalee and Mali, the chef-owners, have become great pals and I adore this place.
Everyone who knows Chiang Mai has a favourite khao soi place. This is mine – I’ve been going since I was a little girl. In addition to the classic curried noodles, try their excellent nam prik noom (green chilli and aubergine dip) and yum kanoon (young jackfruit salad).
Laap Sanam Gila
It’s called “The Laap Place By The Sports Ground” because you really have to have the laap, and the laap kua moo in particular. You should also try the lu – a very regional blood soup that is beyond delicious – only for the brave! The whole fish with crisp, battered deep fried garlic is also excellent.
Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort
Very much worth visiting for their Akha hill tribe menu, which is pretty much unique. The nam prik Akha and moo pad hom chu (pork stir fried with hooker chives and chilli paste) particularly stand out. The resort and its grounds are exceptionally beautiful.
The best of the old-style pier restaurants, they serve exemplary seafood including my favourite crab curry, excellent steamed or fried fish and, if you like it hot, a fierce oyster yum. I mean, it’s literally riddled with green scud chillies, so you may have to pick some out!
Tanya’s Home-made Eatery
Tanya (Tai) is a brilliant, up and coming chef, and I love visiting her place in the Khao Tao district. Look out for mee kati, a prawn curry with cold rice noodle nests, and gai toon matoom, braised chicken legs with bale fruit and a tamarind dipping sauce.
Monsoon Valley wine
I know that many people plump for beer or a soft drink with Thai food, or even a long whisky soda. But I love red wine with it. It has to be the right red wine, though. You want something low in tannins and big in ripe, fruity, juiciness. Monsoon Valley Shiraz is just such a wine. It goes with all those big Thai flavours like an all-embracing hug – never interfering, but rather enhancing the complexities of Thai cuisine.
Tu Kab Khao
Set in a beautiful Sino-Portuguese house, this place serves proper Phuket food. The betel leaf and crab curry is sublime.
Exemplary cooking and some rather more unusual dishes. Bai lep koot tort goong makarm is my favourite thing here – turmeric battered garuda leaves served with tamarind prawns.
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Food and drinks writer
Kay Plunkett-Hogge is an acclaimed food and drinks writer. Born and brought up in 1970s Bangkok, Kay spent her childhood between two kitchens – inside for Western food, outside for Thai – before forging an international career in the film and fashion industries. Bilingual in Thai and English, Kay’s most recent book, Baan: Recipes and stories from my Thai home was published in April 2019 and immediately became a best seller. Kay has also written extensively on Thai food for Delicious Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, and a number of other publications including the Thai Airways in-flight magazine, Sawasdee.