Siam Smiles is famous amongst foodies in the city. Once a tiny café squeezed in next to some supermarket shelves in Chinatown, it now has (slightly) bigger premises but the same redoubtable chef manning the wok. Chef May is a bit of a legend on the Manchester food scene because everyone loves a story. She only took up cooking when the chef left and her professional training came down to watching YouTube videos of Thai cooks. Nevertheless, the food tastes like it has been years in the perfecting – and in a way it has: real recipes passed down from generation to generation and then sent out into the world via the magic medium of Internet.
The food is addictive with plenty of fire and for those who like their food with a kick – this is more of a Muay Thai roundhouse so be warned. Expect dishes like moo ping (grilled skewers of marinated minced pork), kuitiew tom yam (minced pork, fish balls, BBQ pork and vegetables in extra hot pork broth) and koaw moo deng moo grob (steamed jasmine rice with BBQ pork, pork belly in gravy and chilli dip with a bowl of clear soup). As you can see, pork is definitely the main player on this menu although there are other non-porcine dishes available including seafood and tofu.
Siam Smiles is a small-scale operation even if it has grown in stature from its earlier shop setting but that means there’s a heart and an authenticity to it that just can’t be matched by the big players.
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