The story appears on

Page B11

January 24, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Tropical delights in Thai paradise

IN the dead of winter when the diet has consisted of warming foods like soups, noodles and hotpots, it's refreshing to have the senses reawakened by vibrant tropical flavors.

Soft curries of succulent beef and chicken pieces mixed with chilli, herbs and spices is a general hallmark of Thai cuisine but a rare variation in Shanghai can be found at Coconut Paradise which specializes in northern Thai style from Chiang Mai.

The region's flavors are imbued by influences from around the Burmese border and judging by the constant flow of diners into the restaurant - turnover of two to three sittings a night - the four-year-old restaurant in a restored French villa on the increasingly more active Fumin Road restaurant strip is a hit.

It's owned and operated by the Yin family brothers and is as popular as their Gaoyou Road Lost Heaven, which has its own distinct following for Yunnan style food and recently bred an offshoot sister restaurant on The Bund.

Coconut Paradise's extensive, simple menu complements the venue's intimate, exotic ambience, with teak balustrades, deep cushions on generous chairs, and candle lit staircases lulling the visitor into a state of ease.

It seats about 70 people upstairs, where secluded alcoves and corners cater for couples and groups, and about the same downstairs where there's a bar at the front as well as a lush outdoor garden for warmer nights.

Coconut Paradise attests to the Yins' attention to detail and creation of a complete dining environment, aiming to transport patrons into both a culinary and cultural other world. Decor items are sourced from where the cuisine originates or are custom-designed locally to reflect the ambient environment.

The authenticity of the cuisine is ensured by both ingredients and Thai chefs in the kitchen.

The menu categories attest to the wide range of meal options, from tropical salads, through to chicken, beef and pork curries to variations on eggs, rice and palate cleansing desserts.

They don't skimp on the appetiser chicken satay sticks (40 yuan/US$5.85) and the peanut sauce enhances the succulent and generous cuts. There's a taste explosion with the Sour and Spicy Raw Prawns (98 yuan), peeled with tails on and coated with lemon juice, chilli and herbs.

A lot of ingredients are sourced from Thailand with, for example, the only limes used being from Yunnan or Thailand because, with a very thin skin, they're juicier.

Of the main courses, the Traditional Chiang Mai Stir Fried Shrimps (80 yuan) are lightly panned over the fire and coated with an array of spices, then served with green peas and flakes of mushroom, resulting in a melange of flavors you keep dipping into even after the other dishes arrive.

Off to the side, and for something completely different, Son-in-law Eggs (50 yuan) are worth a try for the combined flavors of boiled eggs sliced in half, then the outer skin fried and coated with sweet chilli and a herb sauce.

The Red Curry Chicken (60 yuan) served in a ramekin didn't live up to the variety of the spice-enhanced dishes and was outdone by the Spicy Fried Fish Salad (80 yuan).

This consisted of crispy sea bass tossed with grapefruit and spices with crunchy lettuce to wrap the mixture in, bursting the taste senses with freshness. There's cucumber to cleanse the palate or an iced lemongrass tea will do the job; wandering waiters dole out scoops of white rice and service is efficient.

The prices are not cheap but the value is inarguably in the quality and freshness of the simple, yet unique, tastes of the food.

Given its popularity as a "walk-in" restaurant, it pays to book well in advance or at least be nice to the ladies at roadside reception because in their hands rests how much time you will wait for a table.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend