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Chiang Rai Thai, Norman Park

I'm on a Thai-food eating mission.

Yup, I'm ambitious like that.

D and I are mildy obsessed with Thailand and Thai food (Koh Samui restaurant post is pending), and have a host of favourite restaurants we hit up with alarming regularity.

The Thai Orchid at Springwood cannot be surpassed for their Moreton Bay Bug Curry or their Penang Pumpkin Curry, actually the crab fried rice is pretty excellent too... the list goes on!

However, I am an equal opportunity Thai food lover and have noticed that nearly everyone has a 'favourite' place, claiming 'the best Thai in Brisbane!'

It's obviously very subjective.

So I've committed to getting around Brissie and hitting up as many 'favourite Thais' as possible this year. If you've got a favourite, post to comments and I'll put it on my list.

A work colleague mentioned that Chiang Rai was her favourite Thai last week. It's just over the road from my gym and I thought: huzzah! If gym ever gets too much, I can pop over the road for a larb!

Dylan and I popped up there last night after reading some mixed reviews on Urbanspoon. The place seems to be mostly a takeaway joint, with a narrow and very empty restaurant on the right hand side. Parking was easy (right out front on the road) and we had the place to ourselves.

The service was fast, but not exactly friendly. I felt as though we were perhaps a bit of an imposition, but hey, who cares? We were there for the chow.

My current Thai obsession is stir fried Pad Prik Khing and not only because that is a hilarious name! Prick King! You are! #maturity

This spicy stir fry has a smoky element to it, lots of green beans and capsicum. I've had three versions so far in Brisbane, and Chiang Rai's came in at number two (after Zap Thai in Wooloongabba). Tasty, smoky, full of perfectly cooked chicken, this dish was an absolute winner.

We ordered a beef massaman too in a nostalgic hat tip to our fabulous brisket version at Krua Bophut on Koh Samui. It was disappointing and a bit lacking in flavour, with undercooked onion and a lean beef fillet used, not brisket. Would not order again. The steamed rice we ordered to accompany was a bit clumpy and below average too, even for plain old steamed rice.

My other current Thai obsession is Pad See Ew. We ordered it several times on Samui and I personally think it kicks Pad Thai's arse. Even good Pad Thai is not as good as Pad See Ew. Thicker rice noodles, a salty sweet sauce, gai lan or similar, your choice of meat or seafood...just delicious. If you're a fan of Malaysian Char Kway Teow, you'll love Pad See Ew. Chiang Rai's version with prawns was seriously fantastic. If you love heat, ask for some fresh chilli in soy sauce on the side and apply liberally.

Chiang Rai is BYO and is not licensed. We enjoyed icy cold diet cokes in cans with straws with our meal, but next time we would bring along some Singha or Chang to enhance the experience. At $1.50 per person, corkage is very reasonable. Prices were reasonable overall, and fairly in line with Thai prices across Brisbane.

I hear that the beef salad and green papaya salads are excellent, so upon our next visit we will try those dishes, bring some beers and bigger crowd.



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