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.
Looks like there’s a new Thai eatery serving street food in the Van Wesenbekestraat in Antwerp, right in the middle of the Asian neighborhood. Siam Senses‘ interior seems contemporary and even stylish, albeit small. Will definitely swing by for a review, asap.
Whenever I am in Thailand, I regularly visit an authentic Thai massage parlor. Thai massages are quite intense and in some cases you are even thrown around and walked on. The contrast between intense and relaxing feelings really makes me feel exhilarated when I walk out. Every muscle feels loose and back where it should be. For years, I’ve been looking for that experience in Belgium, but have never indulged as I am always put off by a possible shady nature of local massage. When I was assured by a friend that Thongfaa Thai massage (website currently down) could be trusted, I decided to give the parlor a try.
While shopping in Antwerp, a growling stomach started a craving for Thai food. In stead of gravitating towards my usual haunts in the Asian neighborhood, I remembered a suggestion by my friend Guido who runs Thai-Flemish cultural society Thaivlac. Recently a new restaurant opened on Tabakvest, which is about a 10 minute walk from where I was on the Meir: Baan Yuuna. Update 24/07/2017: Baan Yuuna no longer exists as a restaurant and is now a foodtruck and catering service.
Finding Thai food in Belgium isn’t very hard. Most cities typically have one or more Thai eateries with larger cities having have a few dozen, if you count every restaurant with a link to the Land of Smiles. Finding authentic Thai food is another issue altogether, with most chefs focusing on Farang (or Foreigner) Thai Food. Just like the Chinese have done several decades ago, the Thai have adapted their recipes abroad to better suit the Western palette: sweeter, more colorful and less spicy. When looking for authentic Thai dishes, one of the restaurants that stand out is Ploy Pochana.
When Thai Food Café Yam Thai opened in 2013, it immediately received a lot of media coverage due to its owners: Flemish actors Nathalie Meskens and Jeroen Van Dyck. Even though they repeatedly claimed that they are not earning any income from the food bar (*rolls eyes*) reservations need to be booked three months in advance and a second location has been opened. With a Thai partner and a partial residency in the land of smiles, yours truly is always interested in all things Thai in Belgium.