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Chachawan

 
Chachawan is a popular Thai restaurant on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan, specialising in Isaan cuisine (northeast Thailand region). Opened in 2013 by the Jia Group and helmed by husband- and-wife team Chang and Narisara Somboon, Chachawan has gained a loyal following . The restaurant was closed for renovation and reopened last October, with a new look and a revamped menu, which we were happy to try out.
 
Isaan cuisine can best be described as encompassing myriad robust flavours: sweet-salty-sour-spicy, that are used to enhance a wide range of fresh and seasonal ingredients, employing simple cooking techniques.
 
We were there to sample some of Chachawan's more popular dishes. We began with two signature salad dishes. Som Dtum Kao Pod ($108) is a labour of love in which the salad ingredients are ground in a crucible and then skilfully tossed by the chef. The other salad is Phla Thale – Spicy Seafood Salad with Lemon Grass, Mint, Chilli Paste, Sweet & Sour Dressing ($148), prepared in the same fashion; both are excellent.
 
The meat and poultry dishes we tried included Sai Krok Isan ($98) – Grilled Isaan Sausage, Pork, Garlic, Rice & Ginger ($98); Sam Chan Tort Glua – Deep-fried Crispy Pork Belly Served with Salted Crush Spicy Tamarind Sauce ($168 ) and Gai Yang – Chicken Thigh Marinated for 24 Hours in Garlic, Pepper, Coriander, Grilled Till Crispy, Served with Jhim Jeaw Sauce ($158) – we appreciate the distinctive flavours of each dish.
 
We also tried Kai Jiaw – Thai Omelette of Crab, Spring Onions & Sriracha Sauce ($148) which is fluffy and light, and a yummy soup noodle, Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao – Rice Noodles with Spicy Pork Tomato Broth and Dried Red Cotton Flowers ($128 ), both excellent.
For desserts, Roti Gluay – Crispy Thai Banana Pancake ($78) hits the spot nicely. Chachawan also serves a collection of Thai beers, cocktails and fruit drinks that include Pineapple Smash ($68), Young Coconut ($55), and Singha Beer ($65 ), among others.
Given its excellent food, the revamped and rejuvenated Chachawan will surely only get more popular. Book early and give it a try.
 
G/F, 206 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong;2549 0020

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