An anniversary celebration at Sawadee Chef means crossover dishes with a dash of imagination
Sawadee Chef is celebrating its first anniversary with a special collaboration. Being Olympian City’s landmark contemporary Thai restaurant, Sawadee Chef has invited Chef Uthai John, a master of Thai cuisine with over 30 years of experience, to join forces with LUBUDS’ Chef Ming to create new dishes that give beloved Thai plates a smart Chinese twist.
The specially curated menu showcases this Thai-Chinese collaboration, as well as each chef’s personality, with a line-up of creative dishes that feature bold, exotic flavours in vibrant colours .
Deep-fried runny egg (HK$88): to kick-start our dining experience, we were served an appetiser of deep-fried soft-boiled egg, prepared Thai style. The rich and buttery egg yolk is balanced with a tangy-sweet tamarind reduction. Topping this creative dish is fried pork floss, which gives the plate some much-needed texture. We would have liked to see some crunchy and nutty flavours, such as toasted peanuts, to truly elevate the dish.
Chiang Rai sliced pork belly (HK$98): this dish is a riff on the Shanghainese favourite of sliced pork with rough-chop garlic (蒜泥白肉). Thin slices of poached pork are served with a sauce made of fish sauce, lime juice, coconut sugar and garlic, a play on classic Thai flavours. The garlicky, pungent, sweet and sour flavours of the sauce are on point, but unfortunately, the pork slices were rather tough on the day of tasting. Regardless, we would have liked a larger portion to really dig into the mouth-watering flavours.
Deep-fried soft-shell crab with curry sauce (HK$218): here comes one of the star dishes of the night – a mountain of perfectly fried soft-shell crab with an airy and light batter served with a side of curry sauce. The batter is textbook crispy, encapsulating generous chunks of crabmeat. The curry sauce is slightly reduced so that the crab can be lusciously slathered in this fragrant dipping sauce. Despite this being a fried dish, it’s safe to say that we did not experience any excessive and gruesome greasiness, perhaps owing to Chef Ming’s 30 years of culinary experience in seafood preparation.
Shredded chicken and winged bean salad (HK$88): served as an interim course between the deep-fried crab and the hearty soup dishes later on, a refreshing salad was brought to us. The chicken is soft and tender and actually quite generous in portion too. Despite this dish being a seemingly lacklustre salad, it’s packed with different pleasing textures including the crispiness of the cabbage and lettuce, the springiness of the winged beans and the crunch of the fried rice puffs. The sauce is made using familiar Thai condiments, with the addition of lime leaf providing an extra punch of tanginess and zestiness.
Extra-rich boat noodles (HK$138): Sawadee Chef is renowned for its boat noodles, which showcase a complex cooking process and a nod to the dish’s authentic Thai roots by using pig’s blood. Given the darker hue of the broth, it’s surprisingly rather herbaceous, with a strong aroma of star anise, rather than having the expected savoury soy and pork-bone complexion. The broth is also less irony than anticipated, which is an attractive quality for those who want to savour their boat noodles without worrying about the mineral-like aftertaste. The toppings for this bowl are impressive in quantity, consisting of pork balls, sliced pork, fish cakes, fried fish skin and an array of pig offals – hugely comforting and guaranteed to fill your stomach. A worthy note of mention is the dollop of tom yum paste atop, which adds some extra acidity to the broth (an acquired taste for some – one may ask for it to be served on the side instead).
Khao soi with chicken drumstick (Hk$128): the meal ended with the traditional northern Thai noodle soup of khao soi, here served with a whole chicken drumstick. Not only is the bowl visually impactful, but texture-wise, the chicken is braised until the meat falls effortlessly off the bone. The soup is thick, rich and creamy, enabling it to efficiently “hang” onto the egg noodles, which are adequately al dente. The curry broth exudes a strong coconut aroma, with hints of chilli and lemongrass kicking up the taste buds. It was a true delight to end our meal with this classic Thai comfort food.
Sawadee Chef offers an extensive selection of Thai dishes with Chinese influences. There are a lot of appetiser options on the menu, and we feel the few we tried could be elevated to showcase their full potential. We’re particularly impressed by the eatery’s hot main dishes, which are very well executed. Likewise, the comprehensive menu encompasses a vast array of cooked dishes featuring different proteins and cooking methods. They are currently serving seasonal favourites – steamed Thai-style giant grouper with lime and roasted chicken with coconut and black sesame – and we expect these dishes to be just as flavorful and delectable as those we experienced. If you’re finding your usual pad thai or chicken curry slightly mundane, I’d recommend paying Sawadee Chef a visit!
Where: G/F, Shop G21–G23, G25–G27, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.