A stalwart of the Mossley Hill suburb, you can eat in or take out at ChaBa ChaBa – either way, you’re promised a true taste of Thailand. Chaba is the Thai name of the hibiscus flower, which adorns the restaurant signage and extensive menu that’s packed with flavoursome favourites.
Classic dishes include tom yum soup – spicy, sour and super healthy with coriander, galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass, cherry tomatoes and either chicken, seafood or mushroom. If you fancy noodles, then the obvious choice is phad thai, with its mood-boosting broth and a choice of all the usual meat additions to choose from, along with tofu, duck or squid, which gives ChaBa ChaBa the edge over rivals. Another top Thai export is the mild Massaman curry, here with lamb adding flavour to the potatoes and onions, and topped with crunchy ground peanuts and crispy shallots. From the hot wok options, and perfect with a side of sticky rice, tamarind-spiked battered breast of duck comes with a sweet and sour spicy sauce, while sizzling sirloin steak is topped with a dressing of garlic, chilli and lime for Crying Tiger (you can ask for it to be toned down if you don’t want it too hot). Whole sea bass is a real delicacy and here there are five preparations to choose from. Steamed, and it’s teamed with a spicy garlic, chilli and lime sauce; grilled, and the fish is stuffed with lemongrass, lime leaves and sweet basil then wrapped in a banana leaf to protect the delicate flesh from the heat; battered and deep fried, there’s chilli and garlic, sweet and sour, or chu chee – topped with aromatic dry red curry and shredded kaffir lime leaves.
A great match is the veggie som tam salad of shredded green papaya, carrots, tomatoes and green beans – all very innocent until the super spicy lime juice and chilli dressing is added.
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