Thai food is amazing: simple as that. I relish the thought of planning a trip to Thailand, if solely for the fact that I'll be gorging myself on incredible food for less than a couple bucks per dish. Now, thanks to Adam Cliff, formerly of Chachawan, Hong Kongers can head to Samsen for their favourite Thai street food. Very authentic dishes prepared in a cosy, vibrant restaurant make Samsen the perfect choice if you're itching for a Thai feast without having to catch a flight.
While some people might be deterred by Samsen's 35-seat dining area, I found that the small space added to the restaurant's authenticity. Despite the size, the dining area is brightly lit and subtly decorated, managing, somehow, to make it seem much bigger than it actually is. I'd recommend grabbing a seat at the bar/cooking station to get the full in-your-face experience.
You can tell a lot about a Thai restaurant based on their papaya/mango salad (or at least that's what someone who knows Thai food would say). Samsen's green mango salad with prawns ($108) tasted just like it would if I was sitting on a plastic chair at a food stall along the side of the road in Bangkok. However, what really impressed me was the fried marinated pork collar ($68) with a tomato and chilli dip. Crispy yet tender, the pork collar was to die for, and the dip added a complexity of flavour.
My favourite main dish was the stir-fried fat noodles with chicken ($98). The flavours were all on point, with just the right amount of spice (and more on the side if you wanted an extra kick) – I could have literally eaten the whole thing myself. I'm usually not a huge fan of rice dishes because they fill me up far too quickly, but people at our table were keen on ordering the wok fried rice with crabmeat ($108), so we gave it a try, and I'm so glad we did. The rice was surprisingly light yet full of flavour, and there was a good amount of crabmeat throughout. Samsen's signature dish is the Wagyu beef boat noodles ($128), made with meatballs and vermicelli noodles. Having been to Thailand numerous times, I'd never heard of boat noodles before, so I was quite intrigued. The meat was incredibly tender and the broth was rich and thick, though I'm still unsure as to whether I actually liked it or not.
A big yes goes to the Thai mango sticky rice ($52). Samsen buys and ships their mangos directly from Thailand, so you know you're getting the real deal. If you have enough room for only one dessert, the mango sticky rice should definitely be it. Another great dessert choice is the young coconut ice cream ($58) topped with toasted peanuts, shaved coconut meat and sweetcorn. The combination might sound odd, but trust me when I say this was such a satisfying and light treat.
If you're looking for authentic Thai street food in Hong Kong, Samsen is your spot. Cosy, friendly, great vibe, authentic food, reasonable prices ... what more can I say?
68 Stone Nullah Lane, Wanchai, 2234 0001
This post was originally published on thisgirlabroad.com