HCM City’s Chilli Thai offers spicy kick that's hard to beat
For someone like me who loves Thai food and good old fried pork, Chilli Thai in HCM City’s District 1 was a delightful dining experience.
I wanted to try out its branch on Ly Tu Trong Street along with a friend, who also fancies Thai. Having gone there once before, she raved about the restaurant’s delicious tom yum soup and pad thai (stir-fried rice noodle), and also couldn’t wait to try more dishes.
When we arrived at the small restaurant, we were surprised to see a crowd of people waiting outside to be seated on a Tuesday evening, not exactly a peak day. The inside was also packed with customers, always a reliable indicator of quality.
But despite the crowd, it had a laidback vibe with some unobtrusive music playing in the background, groups of diners chatting and all the traditional statues and decorations you would expect in a Thai restaurant.
Chilli Thai has a variety of traditional dishes, including salads and street food, such as skewered meat and fried fish cakes. There are also “Chinatown-style” seafood dishes such as stir-fried squid and fish.
Once we ordered we did not have to wait too long to be served either (only around 15-20 minutes), which was a good thing since the menu with its colourful and mouth-watering pictures had us excited.
Our first dish was a soft-shell crab with salted egg yolk, which is rather popular. The crab, as we had expected, was delightfully soft inside and crispy on the outside and the rich, creamy salty egg yolk paired beautifully with the fried crab. While I would have personally preferred the crab to be a bit crispier, there was absolutely no reason to complain.
While we were still scooping up the remaining egg yolk, our next dish arrived: Thai-style crispy deep-fried pork belly.
The first bite is with the eye, as the saying goes, and the juicy pork belly slices fried to an irresistible golden colour along with crispy pork skin and sprinkled with sesame certainly made an impression.
It was everything we had hoped for: delightfully crispy outer layer and tender and flavourful meat with tasty fat inside, dipped in savoury Thai sauce with a hint of sweet and sour taste. We gobbled up the dish in a flash, relishing every piece.
Our final dish was “moo ping”, or grilled pork skewer, one of Thailand’s many street foods that are adored by locals and tourists alike.
The soft and tender sliced pork was marinated well to get that sweet and savoury goodness, and, much like the deep-fried pork dish, it was impossible to put down once we started eating.
Our bill came to just 400,000 dong (US$17), a reasonable price for a filling and satisfying meal. The soft shell crab cost 190,000 dong, and the pork belly and skewer cost 130,000 and 70,000 dong, respectively.
Chilli Thai has two other branches in the city: one at Vincom Dong Khoi in District 1 and another at Vincom Mega Mall Thao Dien in Thu Duc City.
Considering the popularity of Thai food among Vietnamese, HCM City has no shortage of excellent Thai restaurants, and you certainly cannot go wrong with Chilli Thai, though you may want to consider making a reservation in advance.
93 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, HCM City
Tel: 028 3823 7727
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
By Viet Dung
Viet Nam News
Asia News Network