• Jenni Lien

Review: New sharing menu and monthly specials at Chachawan

When I lived in Singapore, I’d make annual trips to Hong Kong for work. Even though my meetings were largely spread out around Kowloon and the NT, I wanted to stay in Sheung Wan because it was generating buzz as the hottest neighbourhood in town. Literally I’d seen an article in the WSJ about a year before called Sheung Wan, Where Hong Kong's Hipsters Hang Out (2012). One night, after getting back from my meetings, I wandered the neighbourhood and came across Chachawan. It had a cool vibe and the price was right — I got a table and had one of the tastiest (and spiciest!) meals of my life.


Chachawan opened in 2013 and is still going strong. On weekends, it’s not unusual to see lines down the block, with people willing to queue for the Issan-style Thai food (from the Northeast) by Head Chef Narisara Somboon who, along with her husband Chang Somboon, has over 40 years of experience.


Recently I visited on a Monday evening (no lines!) to try some new dishes including Chef Narisara’s special Issan dish of the month.


New four-course sharing menu ($478 per person)

Chachawan has a new four-course sharing menu designed for groups of four and up. It’s only available for dinner and weekend lunch and features crowd favourites in addition to a monthly rotating Isaan dish.


While the menu will rotate, here are some of the crowd favourites we tried on our last visit (a la carte prices below):



I wanted to keep the Phla Thale ($148) all to myself. This spicy seafood salad was a perfect blend of sweet, sour and spicy and the seafood itself was plump and generously portioned.



The Pla Mauk Yung ($128) with flash grilled squid, coriander salad, and green chili and lime dressing was light and fresh.



Sai Krok Isan ($98) isn’t seen on every Thai menu in town. Morelish little morsels, like meat candy.



The Gai Yang ($158) chicken thigh was beautifully done and very tender.



I think I only managed one bite of the Moo Ping ($148)… because the rest of the table ate the rest up!



While the Massaman Gai (monthly special) was presented simply, it was stunning in flavour — very rich and deep. It came with slow braised chicken leg, roasted potatoes, peanuts and shallots. Perhaps our favourite dish of the night.



If you love Khao Pad ($158), Chachawan’s version is great and again the portion of crab is generous.



I prefer my Phad Thai’s ($148) on the sweeter side. This hit the spot and also came with a basket of garnishes (garlic, chili, sugar) for those who want to adjust to taste.



No complaints about the Khao Niaw Mamuang mango sticky rice ($78). The Roti Gluay crispy banana pancakes took me back to the street pancakes I used to get on trips to Thailand ($78). Been too long!


New group reservation policy

Perhaps the only reason I ever hesitate to visit Chachawan is the no reservations policy. If you’re in the same boat, grab a group and go because there’s a new reservation option for groups of six and up, available to book at four time slots (6pm-7:45pm, 6:30pm-8pm, 8pm-10pm, and 8:15pm-10pm.)


Verdict

Chachawan remains one of the most popular Thai restaurants in town for a reason. The flavours are excellent, the quality is great, and the prices are extremely fair. Looking forward to my next visit… hope to try more of the monthly specials!


206 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, 2549 0020


*For Foodie