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Now Open: CHACHAWAN heats up Sheung Wan

July 20, 2013 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

CHACHAWAN Isaan Thai and Bar officially opens its doors this evening in Hong Kong’s hip Sheung Wan neighbourhood, at 206 Hollywood Road.

The concept is a creation of entrepreneur Yenn Wong, founder of the JIA group of hotels and restaurants which, in Hong Kong, includes the hugely popular 208 Duecento Otto, tapas bar 22 Ships and Duddell’s, in collaboration with seasoned Thai cuisine Chef Adam Cliff – a protégé of the renowned Chef David Thompson. Adam worked at Nahm London and Bangkok, and Bo.Lan Bangkok before heading up the kitchens at Kha Singapore.

The no reservation- no service charge neighbourhood eatery serves Isaan cuisine which originates from the Isaan region and has a raw, down to earthiness about it that is rarely found in other regions. “Isaan food is from the North East of Thailand, a region full of good-hearted, feisty, funny people.CHACHAWAN delivers a sweet-salt-sour-heat smack down, changing the typical Hong Konger’s expectations of a traditional Thai meal of one-dimensional coconut curries and tom yum soup. Expect simple, delicious small-plated dishes cooked “a la minute” either on the charcoal grill or in the kitchen,” says Chef Adam.

The menu presents “Som Dtum + Lap + Salads” which is a range of Isaan salads either pounded, chopped or mixed. Som Dtum Malakor ($88) – pounded green papaya salad, cherry tomatoes, chili, dried shrimp with a sweet and sour tamarind dressing and a side of dried pork as well as Nahm Dok Nuer($128) – spicy grilled Wagyu beef salad with shallots, coriander mint, lime, fish sauce and toasted rice dressing are both dishes that are not to be missed when at CHACHAWAN.

As Isaan food focuses a lot on grilled meats with predominant sour, hot and salty flavours whilst maintaining a common balance, the Gai Yung ($158) – Chicken thigh marinated for 24 hours in garlic, pepper; coriander; grilled till crispy, served with jhim jeaw, is a dish not to be missed. Seafood highlights include Pla Phao Glua ($248) – salt-crusted whole seabass stuffed with lemongrass, pandanas and Thai basil stalks, cooked over fire, with a green chili dipping sauce and Goong Golae ($178) – whole tiger prawns smothered in dry red coconut curry, grilled over fire with fresh lime.

Guests that want a true Isaan experience are advised to order a bowl of sticky rice, a staple of Isaan cuisine, along with a couple of dishes to share with friends and family. Don’t forget the delicious Thai desserts such as Khao Niaw Mamuang ($68) – the favourite mango sticky rice that puts a perfect ending to any meal or even the unique Kanom Dtom ($58) – warm coconut rice dumplings served in salted coconut cream. At the bar, a great selection of bottled beers and Thai cocktails pair perfectly with the intense flavours of the food.

Yenn Wong brings her design creativity to the foreground at CHACHAWAN, with a concept that mixes elements of old Hong Kong and Thailand. In collaboration with C+C design house, Yenn creates an environment which is informal, intimate, fun and vibrant – a great ‘neighbourhood’ ambience to enjoy authentic spicy dishes with lots of cocktails and beers. “The design is raw and impactful like the food,” says Yenn. “It has bursts of colours, raw textures like zinc, iron, concrete and vintage raw wood. Our graphic designers also worked with a lot of interesting Thai illustrations layered on vintage Hong Kong posters to reflect Isaan coming into Hong Kong.”

With a sharp blend of flavours by Chef Adam Cliff, and a casually ghetto design by Yenn Wong, CHACHAWAN is set to bring a unique Thai experience to town.

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