Now open in Wan Chai’s heritage district, Samsen owners Adam Cliff and Bella Kong are serving up Thai street food with an emphasis on authentic Thai noodle dishes. The vintage-inspired shophouse is located in Wan Chai’s heritage block next to the iconic Blue House for a distinctly neighbourhood feel and a casual street side buzz, ideal for slurping down a bowl of delicious Thai noodles or savouring a traditional Thai street food snack.
“I’m deeply passionate about the diverse characteristics of Thai cuisine, especially the authentic and memorable flavours of its vibrant street food. You could say Samsen was born from my insatiable cravings for these bold flavours which are hard to find in Hong Kong. Samsen is a no fuss, down-to-earth Thai shophouse where people can expect simple dishes that deliver mind-blowing flavours to what you would find in Bangkok”, says Chef owner Adam Cliff.
Glass Noodles Stir-Fried with Fermented Tofu
At Samsen, all of the noodles and most of the ingredients are flown in fresh daily from vendors in Bangkok to ensure authentic flavour and firm texture. A few ingredients have been modified from their Thai counterparts to give Samsen dishes a higher level of quality such as the Australian Wagyu beef and the local Hong Kong Fermented Tofu. Walking up to the restaurant, diners will catch wafts of the authentic Thai ingredients from the in-house simmered broths, dipping sauces and jams to the sweet fish and oyster sauces used in the wok fried items.
For a strong-flavoured Thai-style noodle dish, diners can opt for Samsen’s signature Wagyu Beef Boat Noodle (HKD 128) and the Pork Boat Noodle (HKD118). The dark rich broth of the Wagyu beef and pork boat noodle are made at Samsen fresh every morning, simmered for hours with a secret seasoning mix including dark soy sauce, garlic, cinnamon, paprika, star anise seed and coconut cream and more. At serving, the noodles are then quickly dropped into boiling water before being tossed into the simmering broth. Finally, the bowls are topped off with a smash of chili vinegar, strips of Wagyu beef or pork slices, braised beef chunks and meatballs.
amsen’s signature dish, Wagyu Beef Boat Noodle, is one of the most popular street foods
In Bangkok, street food is traditionally served without seasoning, instead chili and spices are left out on the tables for diners to season to their tastes. At Samsen, dishes are carefully pre-seasoned for an ideal balance ready to enjoy as soon as the plate hits the table. However, guests can also choose to ramp up the flavour to their personal taste with traditional Thai tableside seasonings of sugar, vinegar, chili and fish sauce.
Diners can look beyond the bar counter into the open kitchen to see Adam and his team whipping up Thai favourites and Samsen signature items such as the Glass Noodles Stir-Fried with Fermented Tofu (also known as Suki Haeng in Thai), a semi-dry noodle dish that combines glass noodles, eggs, prawns and squid (HKD108). In addition, long-time fans of Chef Adam’s cooking might recognise his signatures including the Wok Fried Rice of Crab Meat with spring onions and crispy garlic (HKD108), Thai Omelet of Crabmeat & Spring Onions and Siracha sauce (HKD108) and the Chopped Duck Salad with fresh Thai herbs, crispy pork rinds and a spicy sour dressing (HKD 88).
Thai vintage-inspired shophouse Samsen serves Thai street food favourites
Perfect for accompaniments made for munching on alongside a bowl of steaming or stir fried noodles are the Fried Marinated Pork Collar with a house-made tomato & chili dip (HKD68) and flash-fried kaffir lime leaves; the savoury Crispy Fish Skins (HKD16) and the soft-boiled Fried Eggs with Chili Jam that have a yolky soft center, crispy shallots, crispy garlic and coriander (HKD68).
For those with a sweet tooth, Samsen offers their take of traditional Thai desserts. Don’t miss the mouth watering Pandanus Coconut Dumplings in a warm, salted coconut cream (HKD52); Thai Red Tea Ice Cream (HKD42); Young Coconut Ice Cream topped with toasted peanuts, coconut meat and sweet corn (HKD58); the always popular Thai Mango & Sticky Rice made with snake-tooth sticky rice to recreate an authentic sticky rice (HKD52); and the refreshing Thai “Red Rubies” made of water chestnuts served on shaved coconut ice with young coconut meat and pomegranate (HKD48).
To help cut the spice and quench the thirst, there’s a selection of fresh juices made with fruits flown in daily for their sweeter taste. Each of these juices can be upgraded with a shot of vodka, gin or rum for an additional HKD30. Fizzy house specialties include theCalamansi Lime & Plum Soda (HKD38) and a Lychee & Lemongrass Plum Soda (HKD38). For a perfectly tipsy noodle pairing, choose from a selection of craft and rare beers including Thai Singha (HKD48), Beer Lao (HKD56), Little Creatures (HKD60) and the local Moonzen IPA (HKD62). Any Thai menu would be remiss without an Ice Tea & Coffee selection; Samsen offers Thai Iced Lime Tea (HKD38), a sweet Thai Iced Milk Tea (HKD38) and a Thai Iced Coffee (HKD38).
Designed by Charlie & Rose, the casual nostalgic vibe is a perfect fit for Samsen’s Thai Street food menu. With the unfinished walls, exposed cupboards and wood, the shophouse takes on selected elements from the street dining scenes of Bangkok to create a distinctly street side feel for the intimate 35-seat interior.