If you were to ask a handful of people who live in Sheung Wan what one of their favourite restaurants in the neighborhood is, you can bet that at least half, if not more, would say Chachawan. This well-established restaurant serves up authentic Issan Thai food in a small yet lively environment. The dishes at Chachawan are unique to Hong Kong, have an interesting complexity of flavours, and are just straight up delicious.
Vibe At Chachawan
Despite its small size and relatively cramped space, the vibe in Chachawan is so lively and vibrant that it doesn’t feel squished or uncomfortable. Chachawan is funky and you can really see why it’s busy almost all of the time after you’ve experienced a meal here. Whether you only want a drink from the bar at the front of the restaurant or a full meal, you’re sure to feel welcome from the waitstaff and all-around good vibes from the other diners.
I started with the Mango Chia Mocktail (HK$50) as I was feeling a bit under the weather, but I’m so glad I did because this mocktail was just as good, if not better than most cocktails I’ve had. The Thai Iced Milk Tea (HK$45) was another one of my favourite drinks at Chachawan, though it is quite sweet, so best to enjoy this drink after your meal (with dessert, of course).
The menu at Chachawan is broken into three main sections: Som Dtum + Larp + Salads, Seafood, and Meat + Poultry. There were so many delicious-sounding dishes, making the process of choosing only a few (okay, more than a few) rather stressful. Thankfully, our waitress was lovely and went over the menu with us while checking off some standout dishes (which ended up being basically half of the menu). We started with the Goong Golae (HK$198) – whole tiger prawns smothered in dry red coconut curry, and grilled over fire with pickled ginger and lime. The prawns were massive and deliciously juicy with a good hit of spice from the dry curry.
My favourite main of the evening was the Khor Moo Yung (HK$158) – pork collar marinated in garlic, coriander root and pepper, then grilled, sliced and served with jhim jeaw sauce. There was a large portion of succulent pork collar and the jhim jeaw sauce (something which I had never heard of despite my multiple trips to Thailand) was unreal. The Nahm Dtok Nuer (HK$148) – spicy grilled wagyu beef salad with shallots, coriander, mint, and lime in a fish sauce and toasted rice dressing had a bit of a lingering sour taste that I wasn’t a huge fan of, though I did enjoy the initial flavour. Lastly, we tried the Yum Makuar Yaw (HK$178) – salad of grilled river prawns and smoky eggplant with shallots, mint, and coriander in a fish sauce and toasted rice dressing. The eggplant had a very distinct smoky taste to it that slightly overpowered the other ingredients, though the prawns did stand out on their own.
It was love at first sight when the Ice Cream Guti (HK$75) arrived on our table. Made with fresh young coconut ice cream served with toasted peanuts and sweet corn, this seemingly odd combination of ingredients worked perfectly together. Since you can’t end a Thai meal without mango sticky rice (and because it’s one of my favourite Asian desserts), we had to order the Khao Niaw Mamuang (HK$75). This was just as good as the mango sticky rice I’ve had in Thailand, however, knowing I can get this dessert only a few minutes from my flat rather than a flight away might not be so good for my waistline or my wallet.
If you’re looking for a funky, upbeat, and unpretentious restaurant to eat some authentic Thai food, look no further than Chachawan. In a city where there are far too many cookie-cutter restaurants, Chachawan stands out in a class of its own.
206 Hollywood Road
Tel: 2549 0020