Hidden between the alleys of Jyatha and Musya Bahal, Wok Up Thai Inspired Kitchen is a restaurant worth searching for. Sunir Shakya, the mind behind the place, had started the restaurant with the intention of turning his passion into a side business. Today, it stands above his home as a proud eatery serving dishes that are found as local food in the streets of Thailand.
Wok Up restaurant has one of those ambiences that cannot be reproduced. Marble tables and black steel chairs with soft leather cushions, and at the rooftop, wooden benches, and a small kitchen garden—the décor here isn’t to impress you. No, that’s the food’s job.
Let me tell you beforehand, the food is delicious. I thought I could never have my fill. Each dish was more interesting than the last. So much so that you can’t help but want to try everything on the menu.
And it’s actually not that impossible since every dish is so reasonably priced.
One of the most distinct features of this eatery is how nice and affordable it is. Also, there’s an open kitchen that leaves no room for no secrets between the chefs and the customers and the process of watching your food being prepared is nothing short of hypnotic.
When it comes to pricing, Shakya gave us an intriguing answer. “I try hard to get the ingredients from the local market itself. Aside from seafood and some ingredients that I can’t find in the country, using resources available right here and growing our own ingredients have been much more feasible,” he said.
“We are here to serve Thai inspired cuisines in a local and pocket-friendly manner. Everything is reasonably priced without compromising on quality, taste and hygiene,” he added.
Something that truly stood out about Wok Up Thai Inspired Kitchen was, without a doubt, the taste of their food. And there’s a good reason behind it. “I make sure that all the dishes are perfectly made,” said Shakya. “From the sauce to the finishing touch, everything needs to be properly and systematically done. There’s no room for mistakes.”
There are six people on the team and Shakya makes sure everyone is extremely cautious about hygiene. One of the reasons why the eatery is located on the top floor is so that the kitchen is far as possible from the roadside. Shakya is also adamant that the chefs be careful while handling vegan and vegetarian items. Each food type has its own assigned knife and chopping boards. Really, you have no reason to worry about anything while eating here.
Phad Thai Kung
Price: Rs 475
This one took a while to process. The taste, the ingredients, the presentation—it was a lot. And in a good way. Phad Thai Kung consisted of stir-fried noodles cooked in an intriguing mixture of fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind and egg. With preserved sweet radish, onion and tofu added onto the plate, the noodles were served with small prawns on the side. There was also bean sprouts, spring onion stalks, crushed peanuts, chili powder and a small bowl of lemon juice.
The taste took a while to adjust to. Each bite had something different. Sometimes it was sour, sometimes hot. Sometimes there was a crunch and sometimes there was a mushy softness to it all. The prawn was wholly edible, soft and new, and went well with the creamy noodles. The cubical pieces of tofu came up unexpectedly, while the sourness of lemon juice and salted peanuts gave the entire dish a new edge. Bean sprouts and spring onion stalks with noodles were experimental for me—but when mixed well, Pad Thai Kung was a really filling and satisfying dish.
Phad Kraprow Gai Khai Dao
Price: Rs 225
Ask any non-vegetarian food lover out there, chicken and rice combo will be on their favorites list. And this Thai dish brings out the best of both sides in marvelous ways. With minced chicken cooked in chili and oyster sauce, the spicy sweetness of this cuisine is something that lasts in your mouth for quite a while. Add in bits of chicken with rice and some thick yolk of the sunny-side up egg and it’s an explosion of flavors that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. The beans balance the spiciness and give this dish a crunch that you can’t help but love.
According to Shakya, this one is on the bestseller’s list. And I could clearly see why.
Gai Phad Med Mamuang Himapan
Price: Rs 225
The base sauce for this cuisine and Phad Kraprow Gai Khai Dao is the same. And yet, both of them have very distinct flavors. The chicken is cut into perfect cubical pieces and is soft and crunchy at the same time. Cooked in garlic, onion and oyster sauce, the dish is just perfect. What truly brings out the amazing flavor and makes it such a great dish are the cashew nuts and banana pepper. This was my first bite of the day and I had never tasted anything like it before.
Price: Rs 350
Thai sauce is the best part of this dish. Truly. The wings are soft, juicy and delicious. Layered with sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce, you’ll be clearing out the plate within minutes, with nothing left behind but clean bones. A total of four deep fried chicken pieces are served here. The garnish includes spring onion stalks, contrasting brilliantly with the red sauce.