Japan is rightly lauded for being a nation of amazing food. From sashimi to sushi, from nabe to bashimi, there is so much to taste here. However, wasabe and Taiwan Ramen aside, it doesn’t really do much in the way of strong, spicy flavours. Which is why, for those of you who are ‘heat-heads’ like me, who enjoy the fiery burn of the chilli spice, it is great that there are so many fantastic Thai restaurants around the city to help quench that desire for food that will will make you sweat.
Despite being underground, Montee is lauded for being Thai street food at its finest. If you can find it within the labyrinthine subterranean Chikagai shopping and restaurant complex of Asakusa, Montee is a true Thai dining experience. Marked out by its striped tricolor flag and giant inflatable Singha beer bottle, its decor is just the right side of stereotypical to be almost as authentic as the food is. Spice levels are marked from one to three, but the one is still pretty spicy!
Ban Thai takes a step away from the ‘street food’ vibe of Montee, and instead goes for a touch of elegance and class. Prices tend to reflect this more upmarket approach, but having been in Shinjuku for more than twenty years, you can be assured of its quality. Most staff are Thai, and the food, while liberally spiced, is moderated towards Japanese tastes.
At nearly 25 years, Rice Terrace is also another longstanding Tokyo institution. Tucked away on a little alley behind Nishi Azabu, it was renovated in 2014 from a two story house and evokes the Thai countryside, with the sunshine streaming in through the roof. The food is fragrent and created by a chef who learned his trade working for fifteen years at the world famous Royal Orchid Sheraton hotel. Lunch menus are available.
Over in Ikebukuro, Phrik is a tiny little family run restaurant. While it doesn’t have the elegance of Ban Thai or the gaudiness of Montee, it does have the authenticity of great food, and the convenience of being open until 3:30 am. Modest and not flashy, it also has a small Thai foods grocery store attached, so if there is anything you particularly enjoy you can buy it and try making it yourself.
If you are in Meguro you can find Keawjal (please don’t ask me to pronounce it), a consistently good Thai restaurant. It serves “Imperial Thai” cuisine, and is located near the embassy, which certainly feels like something of a stamp of approval. On nice, sunny days, you can take advantage of the outdoor seating, and it may feel just like being in Bangkok.
Please note that the above restaurants are just for information purposes and none are endorsed by Japan Info Swap
Image: flickr.com "Kraprao Talay | Thai Basil Leaves Seafood Stirfry" Prae Songprasit (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified