The Great Noodle Tour: Thai Food in Harajuku

Of course, it wasn’t all Japanese food in Japan.

After all, that cuisine seriously lacks heat and a gal needs to spice it up now and then.

That’s how we ended up eating Thai food for lunch – that, and it was the only place open after 40 minutes of walking.

20150422_002332 Chaiyaphum Thai Restaurant is at the top floor of a sketchy looking building. Well, as sketchy as it gets in Tokyo Which is still probably safer and cleaner than your yoga studio. When we were here, there seemed to be one server and one chef and everything was happening  verryyy sloowwwllyyyy.

Luckily, we were in great moods and the food is excellent.

20150422_004753 Thai BBQ chicken

always get this even if you don’t like chicken or BBQ sauce. This isn’t what you are thinking. This is burnished, smoky, charred chicken that is so juicy and tender within that it might be injected with butter.s It has a nutty, deep flavor that is accented by the sweet-hot chile sauce alongside.  20150422_004932 Spring rolls

Always get spring rolls, and DEF always get them here. They are so hot that they will scald your tongue if you don’t take care. Stuffed with bean threads and woodsy mushrooms, they are all salt, crisp, and sweet when dunked in the accompanying sauce. Dunk, eat, repeat.

20150422_005208 Satay

Always get chicken satay. This version is exemplary – satay can so often be tough and tasteless, relying entirely on saccharine peanut sauce. This is not that at all. This is juicy, fragrant chicken tenderly cooked until its still moist and served with wonderful peanut sauce. Spicy, salty, savory, sweet…everything. That peanut sauce is everything. The cukes alongside are lightly pickled, sweet, and refreshing, but that satay stands on its own. So does the peanut sauce.  20150422_005813 Pork Larb

The best version I have ever had, hands down. The balance of flavors is memorable. It’s spicy from chiles. Sweet with sugar and a little gritty from rice powder. Bright from limes. The pork tastes clean and the cabbage somehow cools the heat. Some larb is just spicy, too bland, lacking acid…this one sings on every tastebud. I can’t recommend it more.  20150422_013732 Coconut custard

That’s what they claimed it was. Really, it was just hot panna cotta. Ugh. Do not get.

But everything else was just delicious. If you are looking for a break from sushi and ramen, head here for some really tasty Thai food.

Then fall headfirst back into Japanese cuisine for dinner.