11.30am – 2.00pm (Tues – Sun); 5.50pm – 9.30pm (Sat, Sun)
288 Nguyen Duy Hieu
+84 (0)362 291 500
thethaikitchen.hoian@gmail.com
$$$

Eat Thai – formerly known as The Thai Kitchen – is a warming tale of the Caring Couple That Could. I just love it when you see two people who are so passionate about food taking a chance on a venture … and to have that venture pay off.

Chef Nid, originally from the Chiang Rai region, and her Spanish husband Teo have created a breezy, casual eatery on Nguyễn Duy Hiệu where the focus is on fresh produce and healthy, tasty food.

The couple met in the Maldives 4 years ago, while working at the Anatara hotel. Teo was later offered the role of F&B Manager in the Hoi An branch, and Nid moved with him. She couldn’t find the kind of opportunity she wanted here at first, however – and divulged: ‘When I stop working, I go crazy!’ So Nid and Teo decided to put both their talents to good use and to set up their own place.

Nid simply popped a few tables outside their home and got cooking. Eventually, as rumor spread through social media about the couple’s tasty treats, they relocated to a bigger space, now with 6 staff helping them manage the demand.

It’s a lovely success story … and one that’s well deserved. When Andy and I visited for lunch, Teo gave us the warmest of welcomes – clearly, his previous experience has helped him to be a friendly, attentive and efficient host.

Meanwhile, Nid’s years of working as a chef for the likes of the Mandarin Oriental, the Mercure Group and the Park Hyatt (before the Anatara’s Thai restaurant) have served her well.

The food at Eat Thai didn’t appear within 2 minutes of ordering – a good sign – but was cooked from scratch, with real care and attention. The fish cakes were golden and crispy on the outside, warm and hearty on the inside. We loved the sweet chili and the peanut dipping sauce, too.

The pad thai contained huge, succulent prawns and a lovely addition of tofu cubes, all mixed in a perfectly balanced plate – with the homemade chili powder (thankfully!) served on the side. Remember: Thai spice is much, much spicier than Vietnamese spice – so sprinkle with caution!

The beef salad at eat Thai was all tender slices, beautiful spices and the freshest of herbs. Which were even more enjoyable when we saw they came from about 2 feet away from us – in large pots containing kaffir lime leaves, holy basil and Thai basil.

Finishing with an indulgent portion of mango sticky rice – hey, it’d be rude not to! – we agreed that it had been a very tasty afternoon indeed.

I love this couple’s passion for fresh ingredients. Teo proudly showed off those plant pots with a flourish, informing us that one of their mottoes is ‘From garden to table’. He also told us that Eat Thai doesn’t use any MSG or store-bought sauces – they make everything fresh, including that gorgeous chili powder.

The result? A well-sized lunchtime meal that was satisfying, packed with flavor and still light ‘n’ healthy. Eat Thai’s atmosphere boasted a nice mix of business lunchers and tourists – both the air-conditioned interior (featuring Teo’s own b&w pics of Thailand) and the leafy courtyard (where we sat) were bustling. And of course, the welcoming nature of both Teo and Nid (who emerged to speak to us afterwards) only added to the appeal of this charming place.

Highly recommended for a casual lunch, a special dinner or – if you’re feeling lazy – a takeout (they have a dedicated menu for that). Eat Thai is one of the healthiest takeouts you could go for.

We’ll most certainly be back.

Written By
Emma Sothern

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