Best Thai in Tokyo?
first time post from a long time occasional lurker and a NYC (well, Jersey City) foodie...
I'm in Tokyo for a couple of weeks with my Japanese wife, and we're wondering if there are any cheap, great Thai places along the lines of Sripraphai in Queens. I've seen a couple of recommendations elsewhere for Kao Thai in Takanodababa, anyone been there? We're not looking for anything too fancy, just things like pad kra prow with genuine Thai spicing (holy basil), We're staying near Mitaka, but any neighborhood is welcome. Thanks in advance for any help!
This is a very tough one. You go to a place one time and it's great, next time it's been dumbed down for the local palate, or it's out of business. Believe it or don't; some of the best Thai food I've ever had in Tokyo was cooked by a Japanese guy named Chap, who worked in Phuket for a few years. His first place went under but he may still be cooking at a place called Tahiti:
One problem also is almost all restaurants used bottled lemon juice in place of fresh lime juice and it's just not the same thing.
I hope someone comes up with some ideas on your question.
Kao Thai wasn't very good the last time I was there, but they seem to have a high turnover of chefs, so maybe it's gotten better again.
I've always had good luck at Keawjai in Meguro, which serves "Imperial Thai" cuisine and is near the embassy. It's not all that cheap though, and portions are big, so it helps to go with a group. They have a branch in Kinshicho that seems to also attract Thai customers, but I haven't eaten there myself.
Plik Chee Fa in Nishi-Shinjuku is more home-style, and quite good, at least when I've been there. Krungtep in Shinjuku 2-chome (above Pit Inn) is also pretty good and authentic.
Sawadee way up in Nakai is very down-to-earth and authentic, run by a little old Thai lady, although I don't know that I'd necessarily travel there from Mitaka.
Most other places in town tend to be more tailored to local tastes, although some are pretty good.
All of the above are listed here: http://www.bento.com/thairest.html
Plik Chee Fa is actually quite good in terms of flavours. The pad grapow is even served with a fried egg on top, which isn't always the case in Japan. My only issue with the place is that the food isn't always as freshly cooked as it should be. The last time I went my gai pad grapow was lukewarm at best.
But at least it tasted good!
Is there a Cabbages and Condoms in Tokyo? I went to the one in Kyoto, and the flavours are pretty close to Thai. And they're not afraid of heat, even if you don't ask for it.