Tjoung Tjoung in Antwerp is one of those rare restaurants that serves authentic Thai food in Belgium. It is situated slightly out of the way at Breydelstraat 16, close to the central train station and mere minutes by foot from the De Keyserlei. Coming from the train station, just take a right at the Australian Ice Cream parlor and keep walking until it appears on your left. With the popular Isaan Café and a Thai massage parlor in the direct vicinity, there seems to be a cluster of Thai businesses in the making.
Tjoung Tjoung looks kind of dark and unwelcoming from the outside, but the staff is very friendly, relaxed and welcoming when you enter. The decor, let’s be honest, is rather tatty and dated. That does add a certain type of charm, but it is not a restaurant where you’d invite business relations or people you want to impress. For a casual bite, it is OK, however. All tables have the typical four little pots of spices/condiments which is a give-away that the place is frequented by Thai people. Always a good sign.
What did bother me, and looking back I am disappointed that I did not make a remark to the helpful waitress, is that the table cloth wasn’t completely clean. Granted, it wasn’t a disaster, but several spots were there and it should have been changed. Dirty table linen is never acceptable.
As usual, I ordered Laap (this time with chicken: Kai), my reference dish, complimented by some Pad Thai Moo (the classic dish, but with porc in stead of shrimp). Both made it abundantly clear: this was authentic and delicious thai food, served and prepared with care.
Service was flawless and as portion sizes were larger than I anticipated (one would have been sufficient), my left-overs were boxed to take home, free-of-charge. Both dishes and a coke amounted to EUR 28, which is very reasonable.
I will return to Tjoung Tjoung, but will only recommend the restaurant if the table is spotless, the second time around. If not, a full star will be subtracted. To be continued.