Soemthing a wee bit different today, a restaurant review. I absolutely LOVE Eastern food and I’m lucky enough to eat very authentic Taiwanese and Chinese cuisine on a regular basis. When I say authentic, I’m not talking about the typical sweet and sour / black bean sauce you get down your local takeaway, I’m talking about real Taiwanese Chinese food cooked by a trained chef from that side of the world who cooks food she has eaten all her life.
So as you can imagine, myself to an extent and Liv (my wife) especially, we’re very critical of Eastern food. Blunt fact, 99% of the Eastern food in this country is rubbish. Absolutely nothing like the food you get over that side of the world and if it does have any resemblance it’s nowhere near as good. For example, here in Edinburgh there are two dumpling restaurants that were promoted by Gordon Ramsay, that people rave about and I can tell you for a fact even the local market dumplings on the outskirts of Shanghai are a million times better than these.
When we saw a new restaurant called Ting Thai Caravan in Edinburgh’s Old Town I was immediately interested as the restaurant was absolutely packed out. I drove past one lunchtime and the place was full. So I checked out their website, saw they were serving Thai food but also saw that they were selling boxes of food at very low prices. I’ll be honest, I try to avoid the centre of Edinburgh as best I can. Sure there are good restaurants but the city centre is generally overpriced, difficult to park and there are way too many tourists for my liking. These past two weeks I was hired by a local church, which I’ll be writing about next week, to photograph a series of events so I had to park in town so I had the perfect excuse to visit.
The first time we visited we ordered three main dishes (Khaeng Pha Talay (Jungle Curry), Moo Yang and Tom Yam Goong), two side dishes (Thai pork scratchings and a bowl of rice) and two drinks (roasted coconut juice). We absolutely loved the coconut juice, very tasty, and the main dishes were really good. Both curries were a bit lean on ingredients as they were both seafood but the pork dish, Moo Yang, was tasty. I expected we would have to pay about £40 for everything but we paid £21 in total (!).
Not desperately sure about the curries, we visited again two days later and tried just meat and poultry dishes and all of the dishes were absolutely delicious. My favourite dish by far was the Khao Mun Gai Tod, which is basically fried chicken with lots of herbs. It tasted fresh, light and was really delicious. We also had a small box of food the second time we visited, which was a pork salad, which tasted lovely but was really small in portion. We had one less starter the second time we visited and the total bill was about £18. Awesome!
So the food is delicious and if you hunt for parking it’s pretty easy to get to. I parked at the NCP at Quartermile for 4 hours the first time I visited and paid about £7 for parking which for Edinburgh city centre is very cheap.
A final note is about the staff at the restaurant. I read quite a few negative reviews on websites like trip advisor about the staff at Ting Thai but we found our waitress absolutely lovely. She was polite, really friendly, spent quite a lot of time chatting to us and really was perfect. I hate going to restaurants where you get “yes sir / no sir”. Instead I like restaurants that make you feel welcome and Ting Thai really did this. As a note, the first time we visited, around 3.30pm on Monday, the restaurant was pretty empty but on Wednesday around 2.30pm the restaurant was again packed out.
If you want to eat pretty authentic Thai-style street food definitely check out Ting Thai. Liv said the food here in comparison with the food in Thailand was really good and she’s been there a couple times.