by Iyath Adam
If you’re looking for authentic Thai food in Male’ City, look no further than Som Tam Thai restaurant!
Located on Izzudhdheen Magu in Maafannu, Som Tam Thai is a small space with seating available for around three groups at a time. We reserved a table in advance for dinner, although they do walk-ins and delivery (through the Foodie app) as well.
The name of the restaurant is derived from ‘som tam’ which translates to ‘pounded sour’ in Thai and refers to the all-famous Thai papaya salad, made by pounding the ingredients with a mortar and pestle.
Cue to the restaurant – the service was speedy, and the menu was abundant with all sorts of classic Thai dishes such as rice noodles, different types of rice, sides, and drinks and desserts.
For drinks, we ordered a Thai ice milk tea and Thai ice lime tea. To eat, we followed a traditional route; steamed white rice with different sides – kang kung beef, Thai green curry with chicken, pandan leaf chicken and their signature Thai papaya salad som tam – and the quintessential Thai dish, mango sticky rice for dessert.
The drinks arrived first, and relatively fast. The Thai ice milk tea tasted exactly like the type you get at Thailand! Laden with crushed ice, the milk tea flavour was prominent without it being overly sweet. The Thai ice lime tea was refreshing, tangy and sweet at the same time, although we wish it had been a tad sweeter to bring out the richness of the tea.
A little while later came the food and my, what a feast it was!
Let’s start off with the sides. The Thai green curry chicken was absolutely divine; the taste was pleasantly spicy with a zingy, aromatic undertone. Unlike some green curries, this one had lots of chicken pieces as well as vegetables such as carrot, green beans, mushrooms, and eggplant.
The beef in the kang kung beef dish was cooked very well; soft and easily chewable in a flavourful, umami-like soy sauce and plenty of kang kung leaves. The flavour was perfectly balanced with neither the sauce nor the taste of the leaves overpowering each other.
The pandan leaf chicken was cooked perfectly – tender, succulent, and delicious – and went great with the sweetness of the Thai chilli sauce which came with it. The Thai papaya salad was slightly spicy, sour, and cooling (probably the lime juice) at the same time, a perfect accompaniment to the rice and sides.
Moving on to dessert, the mango sticky rice was beautifully presented. The sticky rice, coconut cream and the cut-up ripe mangoes went great with each other – sweet, slightly salty and coconutty. The sesame seeds on top added a nice crunchy, a small yet noticeable pièce de resistance to the dish.
Overall, the taste of the food was perfectly balanced; nothing was either two sweet, spicy, or rich which was definitely a huge selling point for us. Different portion sizes are available for each dish and what we ordered was perfect for two people, although we did have some leftovers – but that could just be due to the sheer size of our order!
So, next time you’re craving for some good Thai food or just want to have a delicious feast with your friends, give Som Tam Thai a try!