Thai cuisine has rocketed up the ranks of popularity in Birmingham in recent years. We could say this is because it has a reputation as a healthier takeaway alternative. But who are we kidding? It's really just because Thai food tastes so damn good.
Since the 1970s when the first Thai restaurants started to appear in the city, their numbers have ballooned. Today, you'll never starve for Thai no matter where you are, but finding the best is about knowing where to look...
1. Kings Platter, Zen Metro
Award-winning and offering a fusion of traditional and contemporary creations, Zen Metro is not to be missed. As a sharer or group starter, you can't beat the the Kings Platter. This aptly named wonder serves four hungry mouths, packing on all sorts of authentic goodies. You'll find stir fried lobster seasoned with rare spices, zesty ginger, hot pepper and red onion; slow-cooked pork spare ribs marinated in fresh herbs and homemade sweet barbecue sauce; spicy and marinated deep fried chicken tossed with coriander and a sweet and spicy sauce, and char grilled jumbo prawns sizzled with garlic and chilli dressing.
Where: Zen Metro, Birmingham City Centre
2. Pad Kee Mao, Sabai Sabai
We think the fact that the award-winning Sabai Sabai now has venues popping up across Birmingham speaks for itself. This is truly authentic Thai with an emphasis on the finer flavours. The husband and wife team behind it opened their first small family-run restaurant ten years ago but it proved such a hit, they now have three.
No matter where you are, the Pad Kee Mao, or Drunken Noodles, is a great choice. Made of stir fried udon noodles, fresh chillies, plenty of egg, sweet basil, zesty onions, mixed vegetable, it's sizzled together in a scalding hot wok. This one's a real treat.
3. Tom Yum, The Real Thai @ Bartons Arms
The Barton Arms may be a 100-year old Victorian pub, but when it comes to Thai food, they're serving the real deal.
There's all sorts on offer here, ranging from soups to salads, grills to group meals. And there's all sorts on offer in terms of spice too, so go for the to very hot wok-fried Duck With Crispy Holy Basil if you like the heat, or opt for the milder Tangy Sea Bass with spicy tamarind, sweet pineapple, stir-fried peppers and onions.For us though, it's the hearty Tom Yum every time.
Where: The Real Thai @ Bartons Arms, Aston
4. Lamb Massamun, Thai Brasserie
One of the newer restaurants on the scene, Thai Brasserie has already cultivated a loyal clientele. It's head chef Peach Batpun behind the magic here, so if you're not too sure what to order, the chef's recommendations are a good place to start.
For something unique, try the Monkfish Panang – a famous dish done southern style with a hot and aromatic curry flavoured with lime leaves, fine beans, and red and green pepper. We love the Lamb Massamun here, a rich curry cooked with coconut cream, potatoes, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and nutmeg. And you can sub out the lamb for chicken too.
Where: Thai Brasserie, Solihull
5. Special Pad Thai Noodle, Pad Thai
Taking its name from the most famous Thai noodle dish of them all, Pad Thai offers up the best that the country's cuisine has to offer. And we just can't include this place without an honourable mention of that noodle superstar. The Special Pad Thai Noodle you'll find here are mildly spicy, with fried thin rice noodles, fresh tofu, crunchy bean sprouts, dried shrimps and prawns and ground peanuts.
Where: Pad Thai, Birmingham City Centre
The taste of Bangkok has come to Birmingham. Order great Thai food tonight with Deliveroo.