• kristenevelyn

Where to find authentic Southeast Asian restaurants in England?

Having lived for almost a decade in Southeast and later East Asia, I often find myself craving local Southeast Asian dishes (especially Vietnamese and Thai!). Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants abroad are "hit or miss" when it comes to getting a "genuine" taste of home. Always on the lookout, we have found these five that deliver the true experience!

1. Taste Vietnam

Spon Street, Coventry city centreThe restaurant is not much more than a take-away with a few tables, so don't come here for a night out! The Pho and fresh summer rolls are spot-on and bring me back to my days in Hanoi. If only they did bun-dau-mam-tom!

2. Lao Café

Covent Garden area, London

For the 7 years I lived in Bangkok I ate som-tum and soop nor mai with sticky rice, almost daily. Since leaving Bangkok in 2014, I have not had proper Isaan (Thai-Laotian) food because this regional cuisine is not typically on the menu outside of the region. I was in London a few weeks ago with an old friend from Thailand and we found Lao Cafe. Aside from the prices, I felt like I was back "home". I could not stop smiling! The som-tum was fresh and spicy, as was the soop nor mai (bamboo salad). I don't believe there are any other restaurants quite like it in the UK, so if you're in London and you like Isaan food, this is not to miss.

3. Bua Luang (Royal Lotus)

Kenilworth high street, WarwickshireLovely, authentic Thai restaurant owned by a local Thai expat. They offer a range of popular Thai curries (gaeng khiew waan, green curry; gaeng massaman, massaman curry), noodle dishes (pad thai, pad see eu, lad na), and also more less commonly known dishes such as laab gai & yuum talaay.

4. Malaysian Deli

Brockley Rd, SE London

The little cafe offers murtabak, terung berlada, beef rendang, nasi lemak and roti chanai to name a few of the many local dishes on offer.

5. Lemongrass

(Cambodian & Southeast Asian food)Camden, LondonSetup in 1998 by Thomas Tan, who was born in Phnom Penh. Everything is fresh and made to order. Most of the dishes go by a more western name, but the menu is full of local ingredients including Kampot pepper, fresh durian and they even do Fish Amok, a lovely Cambodian curry.

BONUS: The following two recommendations come from friends that are either Thai or have lived in Thailand as long as I did (7-10 years).

1. Phranakhon, http://phranakhon.co.uk, in York2. Thai Elephant, https://www.thaielephantrestaurant.co.uk, Leamington Spa, WarwickshireFor this restaurant, I've been told by my Thai friend that if you can handle chilies than to ask for the dish to be prepared like it is for Thais!

Do you know any places we dont? If you would like to recommend other authentic Southeast Asian restaurants in England we would love to hear from you! To receive updates on our latest posts SUBSCRIBE on the main page.