Manchester is known for its extremely varied and brilliantly diverse foodie offering. With Songkran – Thai New Year – just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to visit two authentic Thai restaurants in the heart of the city.
The traditional Songkran Festival taking place between Saturday 13th and Monday 15th April is a national holiday in Thailand that marks the beginning of the new year.
The word Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit work samkranti, which means astrological passage. Also known as the water festival, it celebrates water as a ritual of cleansing the soul and washing away negativity from the year before.
Those celebrating Songkran traditionally take part in the festival by pouring water to symbolise washing away bad luck and sins.
As April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand, big cities like Bangkok see a host of parties and water fights erupt onto the streets.
As we aren’t as familiar with Thai customs here in Manchester, walking down Market Street pouring water over people to cleanse them might not go down too well.
If, however, you’d like to get involved in the celebrations, we’ve got the next best thing.
When you book a table at either at Thaikhun or Chaophraya – two of the most popular Thai restaurants in town – between 1st – 15th April, you will automatically be entered into a competition to win a free trip to – yes, you guessed – Thailand!
For a casual dining experience, the atmosphere at Thaikhun is unrivalled. Offering serious lively Thai vibes with a street market feel, expect authentic furniture and an open kitchen. Plus the venue comes with its very own tuk-tuk!
Dig into sharing platters that are bursting with street food flavours, like the Bangkok Street Platter packed full of grilled chicken satay, breaded king prawns, pork dumplings and sweetcorn cakes.
Chow down on some authentic stir fry, made up of Ped Phad Prik Pao slices of roasted duck, wok-fried with roasted red chilli, basil, oyster sauce, mushrooms, peppers and onions. It’s a dish packed full of aromas.
Settle on a classic Thai Green Curry, specially made using Thaikhun’s own original recipe curry, with coconut milk, courgettes and beans garnished with sweet basil and chillies. And choose between chicken, beef, pork, duck, prawns, veg or tofu.
Or opt for one of the specials and try something completely unique. Our favourite is Thai chicken katsu, Thaikhun’s twist on the popular Japanese dish – crumbed chicken breast served with jasmine rice and massaman curry sauce.
If you’d prefer more of a fine dining experience, Chaophraya provides the ultimate smart setting for a more high end sit-down meal.
Boasting inventive dishes created by a Thai chef, there are tons of vegetarian options available so it’s perfect for non-meat eaters too – or anyone who just fancies a meat-free meal.
And with an open kitchen, you can watch on as the culinary magic unfolds before your very eyes – and all of your Thai food fantasies are realised.
Enjoy starters like Chicken Thai Tacos with red curried chicken finished with coconut milk and served over a lightly pan seared rice flour taco, or authentic Thai Fish Cakes, traditional style blended with Chaophraya’s special recipe of green beans, lime leaves and red curry served with sweet chilli sauce with crushed peanuts.
From the Grill and Steam menu, indulge in Weeping Tiger Sirloin Steak, the Chaophraya classic, 21-day dry-aged succulent sirloin steak served sliced on a sizzling platter with seasonal vegetables and black pepper sauce.
If you’re the adventurous type, head straight to the Thai-Reimagined section of the menu and prepare for a taste explosion.
The Miang Kham with Nasturtium is overflowing with flavour – this one bite special brings together palm sugar and coconut inside a nutritious and peppery nasturtium leaf. And the Farrang Sausage Pad Ka Pow – Toulouse pork sausage, marinated in red wine, stir-fried in traditional Pad Gra Prao style with a blend of Thai spices and basil.