Thais in Prague rate the city's best curry, pad Thai, and spicy soup

With some help from the Thai community as well as the Royal Thai Embassy, Las Saboritas reveals where to find the most authentic Thai eats in Prague

Las Saboritas

Written by Las Saboritas
Published on 20.08.2020 11:20 (updated on 19.09.2020)

Thai food in Prague is “not authentic” and “gives Europeans the wrong impression of true Thai food.” So says one Thai expat about the restaurants she sampled in the Czech capital city.

Just like we did with our Mexican food survey, we took our questions directly to the source, asking the 900 members of คนไทยในสาธารณรัฐเชก (Thai community in the Czech Republic) Facebook group as well as the staff of the Royal Thai Embassy to anonymously share their uncensored food opinions. Combined with our own LasSaboritas reviews, here is a breakdown of the best Thai food in Prague.

With three times the amount of votes than all others, PureThai – Nae’s Takeaway near the Praha-Smíchov train station was a clear winner. This affordable lunchtime spot has a rotating menu with the option of curry, stir-fry, or pad thai for only 139 Kč with rice. Voters mentioned pumpkin/sweet potato curry, sweet green curry, and red curry with bamboo as favorites. The owner, whose nickname is actually Nae, hails from Thailand and treats customers to Thai pop music during the lunch hour.

Best tom yum koong soup: Rattanakosin Thai Restaurant

The best Thai soup in Prague goes to Rattanakosin in Smíchov on Štefánikova. Tom yum koong is a spicy shrimp soup flavored with aromatics like lemongrass, galangal, and makrut lime leaf. Rattanakosin was also mentioned for shrimp fried rice and good service. It is rumored the Royal Thai Embassy uses Rattanakosin for event catering, though when asked the embassy neither confirmed nor denied the preference. Unfortunately, LasSaboritas have attempted to visit multiple times with no luck.

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Best pad Thai: Modrý zub

The runaway winner for best pad Thai in Prague is Modrý zub. Pad Thai is the beloved noodle dish stir-fried with meat or tofu, a scrambled egg, sweetened tamarind sauce, bean sprouts, peanuts, chiles, and a squeeze of lime. The Modrý zub chain has three locations (Jindřišská, Spálená, and Anděl) but voters specifically prefer the Spálená location. This restaurant rated high for stir fry basil beef, noodles, and khao phad nam prik pao or chile paste fried rice with duck, though our results didn’t show a consensus on those dishes.

Best Thai food dishes in all of Prague 

Finally, we asked respondents to share their single favorite Thai food dish in all of Prague. Here are a few well-supported answers beyond the winners named above:

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Thai food lesson

Thai recipes are traditional. In standard Thai cuisine, there is no such thing as a unique flavor. “Authentic” Thai food uses precise ingredients to create a careful flavor balance of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty. It’s hard for Thai restaurants in Europe to measure up. Our survey told us that local Thai restaurants are missing the mark, but Prague is not alone in this struggle. One former Thai PM was so disappointed in Thai food abroad, she developed a tasting robot to measure Thai food accuracy around the world. As with many non-European cuisines, spice levels are often adjusted and ingredients swapped to appeal to diners across the European market. 

One respondent noted that authentic Thai flavors are difficult to sell here because “Czech people love the salty taste” more than balanced dishes. Another said the pad Thai she tried was “very bland” and “meh” because the sweet and sour flavors didn’t stand out. An interesting hypothesis came from a respondent who speculated “most of the Thai food in Prague is not made by Thai but by Vietnamese [people], which is not authentic…Only Thai [people] know authentic Thai foods.” With a large and well-established Vietnamese business population, this could explain a lot.  While other residents don’t notice, Thai people recognize the flavor profiles that are lacking in Prague.

Thai people in Prague

Another explanation of why Prague’s Thai restaurants don’t measure up is that Thai people don’t eat in all of them. Of the small Thai community in Prague, many have a service sector income, and likely choose not to eat out in expensive locations. We’ve sampled multiple Thai restaurants in Prague (M’Roll, Noi, Ocean Blue, Clover Leaf ) but none of these are frequented by the local Thai community.

Our survey suggests that most Prague residents prefer homemade Thai dishes, saying “I cook [som tam papaya salad] at home,” “I’m sorry I have never been in any Thai restaurant in Prague,” “Crab fried rice is the best but I can’t find it around Czech Rep,” “I cook [holy basil pork] by myself,” and so on. Our respondents cook their own Thai food and spend their money in other restaurants. If you want to eat what Thai people in Prague eat, follow the choices above or take a trip to Thai’s Asian Food Shop and get on YouTube for authentic recipes. 

Let’s hear it. Do you agree or disagree about Thai food in Prague? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us at @lassaboritas today.