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Oct 28, 2007 07:51 PM

emu48 (or anyone): where are those very good Thai rests. on Oahu?

You mentioned them in your 10/19 post. Also, where does one get Thai (basil and lemmon, yes?) sausages?

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  1. Here is a short list, there are several others, but these are the ones I know best.

    1. Keo's in Waikiki is probably the best known, and one of the best. Yes, it is somewhat americanized, but tell your waiter what you expect, and i am pretty sure you will be pleased.

    2. Singha also in Waikiki is also very good. I have always thought of it as a little more touristy, but that is because Keo's didn't start in Waikiki.

    3. Chiang Mai in Moiliili (South King St. near Isenberg) is one of the most popular Thai restaurants outside of waikiki.

    4. Pae Thai in Makiki (also on South King St. near Keeamoku) is a personal favorite. Used to have a Thai friend who said he thought it was the most authentic.

    5. Mekong, two locations one on South Beretania, one on South King (both near Pensacola/Piikoi). These are long time favorites of many in Honolulu. I prefer the one on Beretania. Personally I don't think they are as good as Chiang Mai or Pae Thai, but there are many here who would be happy to debate that.

    6. Champa Thai has serveral locations, the ones I have been to (Kaimuki and Pearl Kai) were both very good.

    7. Phuket Thai in McCully shopping center (corner of McCully and Kapiolani) is somewhat newer than the others, but has a very good reputation. Only been a couple of times but enjoyed the food.

    As for shopping, Asian Grocery (1319 South Beretania) is among the better places to find asian ingedients. Downtown the various open markets also have great finds.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      I like the Beretania location of Mekong as well - I don't like the upstairs seating area though. Most times we just carry out. The Windward side has some Thai places, Saeng's is o.k. in Kailua. But it's well worth the drive to town for Mekong. I'll take your suggestions for future reference!

    2. I'm the contrarian in the group this time. I don't think any of the Thai restaurants here are particularly good. The best Thai food used to be at a little bar on Nuuanu, but once the Thai woman who cooked there left town, it lost its flavor. Many of the restaurants listed are owned by people who are not Thai and most of the cooks aren't Thai either. I'm sorry, but a restaurant that thinks using tomato sauce or ketchup in pad thai is acceptable, won't get my business - and there are at least a handful of those on KaimukiMan's list. Can you tell I'm annoyed we don't have better Thai food here?

      11 Replies
      1. re: Yoshio


        i would like to know which ones you think are the worst on my list, thanks.

        1. re: Yoshio

          Mekong has never in my experience used tomato sauce or ketchup in pad thai.
          Keo is from Thailand I only went there once when it was the old old location on Kapahulu and enjoyed it then. The Windward side is sorry for this cuisine!

          1. re: Yoshio

            And I would like to know which, if any, do NOT use tomato sauce or ketchup as an ingredient in Pad Thai, and which, if any, DO have Thai chefs. I am reluctant to go to Keo's; we have several good, cheap Thai rests. in or near Fort Worth, from where we have just emigrated, and it probably would suffer by comparison, I suspect.

            1. re: Joebob

              Joebob... from the tone of your note, I have a feeling that you are begining to experience some of the drawbacks of living in Hawaii. I am sure that there are going to be a great many things you miss about Fort Worth, and much of that will be valid. Over time you will also find that there are things about Hawaii that Fort Worth didn't have. In the meantime try to give this place a chance.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Good Thai rests. or not, my wife and I already are certain we did the right thing (for us). So, is there a consensus about which we should try first? Also, is there a best Fillipino rest? We liked Julie'Z over here in Kapolei a lot.

                1. re: Joebob

                  Chiang Mai is my current favorite. Having lived in and eaten authentic thai food in L.A. and the bay area, I think it gets some things very right, like it's green papaya salad. I agree that Honlulu is not as impressive as these CA locales for thai food, but it's not as bad as Yoshio makes it sound. Also try "Dee's Thai" on Kapahulu. Not well known but very good. A last very good option is Siam Garden Cafe out on Nimitz.

                  btw, there is some very good vietnamese food here too that's worth checking out, with authentic dishes besides the ubiquitous Pho. Like Bac Nam on King street (north vietnamese) and Pho Nam off kapiolani near downtown (try their sweet and sour soups -- amazing!)

                  1. re: elinw

                    Thanks much for the suggestions. We will try them all as soon as we can. Do either of the VN rests. have any Hue specialties? God, we had some good food in Hue! Have you tried Tochau, 1007-1015 River St? It had a line out the door when we went to Chinatown some weeks ago, and when we returned a couple of hours later (having done dim sum at Tai Pan) the line was still out the door!

                    1. re: Joebob

                      I'm told it is excellent, but never had time to stand in the line when I was in the area. A VN friend of mine goes to a place called Pho97 on Maunakea St. Of course he never orders off the menu, and I have no idea what it is we are eating... but its always good.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        BTW, Tochau is open 7d/wk, but only 8:30am-2:30pm. Maybe the line isn't so long for breakfast (though there aren't many tables)!

                      2. re: Joebob

                        tell us about the Hue specialties....

                        Bac Nam has a good Bun Bo Hue (Spicy Beef Soup) and some other dishes I've never seen anywhere, but I think its North Vietnamese (althought the title apparently means "north south")

                        try it-- I think you'll like it.

                        To Chau is great but mainly pho.

                        1. re: elinw

                          Re: Hue specialties. The best meal I had was at the Huong Giang Hotel; "fluffy shrimp", v. large shrimp in thick but light, crispy coats, "pork cooked in sesame", fork-tender chunks in a lightly-spiced sauce with sesame seeds, and "special Hue cake", crispy rice paper triangles with meat and veg. filling. Wish they were here!

                          Re Thai food on Oahu. We tried Thai Island Taste finally. The waiter/owner? recommended the red among the curries and it was good, but not so hard to make well. The spring rolls were so-so. The searching and reporting will continue!

            2. I like the beratania mekong and bangkok chef on nuuanu

              1. The chef/owner of Thai Island Taste in Ewa is from Thailand.

                1. Yeah, I agree with Yoshio. Since Cookie left Club New Pattaya, I haven't eaten much Thai food. I sometimes go to Siam Garden Cafe, which I think it the best in town now (plus they have a full bar).
                  BUT I just discovered the Opal Thai Food truck in Haleiwa. It's parked in that lot across the street from McDonalds, and I pray every night before I go to bed that Opal will open a permanent venue in Honolulu. On Saturday he had tom ka ga on special. I'm so sick of the thin, watery broth that's a one-note lemongrass soup normally served here, so I rarely order soup anymore. Opal insisted we try it, "you'll be happier." Man oh man, was he right. A creamy, multilayered soup that had hints of sweet and tart, dotted with veggies. Plop in some brown rice and i had a dish I wish I could eat every day. The curries are excellent. Opal's as good as cookie, and as much as a firecracker too. Say hi to his son Leo playing with his dinosaurs on the benches in front of the truck. I found out about it on