Located not far from Kita-Senju Station in Adachi ward, Tokyo, Chai Yai has been serving Thai food in the neighbourhood for over 20 years. It's not hard to see why they are doing so well – simple yet dynamic dishes full of Thai flavours keep customers flocking back.
Run by owner-chef, Sakamoto-san, he originally trained in Chinese cookery in Tokushima, before a chance visit to Tokyo then subsequently Thailand changed his outlook forever. It's fair to say he's been cooking up Thai food ever since – the fresh ingredients, healthy and balanced dishes, and range of spices used in preparing Thai food an obvious attraction to both Sakamoto-san and anyone who enjoys Thai food.
Chai Yai, as one of the earliest Thai restaurants to open in Tokyo, is fairly well-known in the community and amongst other Thai restaurant practitioners across Kanto. One look down the menu and you'll see that you're in good hands.
On the menu
A particular highlight is the Tom yum goong soup. Using cherry tomatoes give a sweet yet mild edge to the otherwise spicy soup stock. As a 'gateway' dish to the essence of Thai food, many people have succumbed to the appeal of Thai cooking through this dish alone, even at Chai Yai.
All the staple dishes you would come to expect in a Thai restaurant are available here: Yum Woon Sen (Glass noodles salad, from ¥600), Som Tam (Green papaya salad ¥900), popiah spring rolls (prawn/chicken/pork from ¥500), soups including tom yum gai and tom kha gai and lots of pla (fish), pad (stir-fried) and khao pad (fried rice) dishes also on the menu. Course menus are available, starting from ¥2,500.
Chai Yai offers several decent lunch set options during the week from around ¥890, including generic options such as green curry and several tom yum varieties. Daily lunch set specials are also available: Pad Thai and Popiah spring rolls on Tuesdays, Gai Pad Bai Gaprow on Wednesdays, Khao soi on Thursdays, and Khao Pad Gai on Fridays (they're closed on Mondays). All lunch sets include a dessert, drink and serving of rice.