Jai Thai

Location: Mihama 

Phone: 098-936-0828 

Hours: Lunch 11:00-15:00, Dinner 17:00-23:00 (weekends/holidays: Lunch 11:00-16:00, Dinner 16:00-23:00) 

Credit cards, yen, dollars accepted 

This restaurant was reviewed in JapanUpdate as serving the most delicious and authentic Thai food on the island.  Having grown up with restaurants like Phuket Thai in Honolulu, I love Thai food, so I had to go and see for myself.  

In terms of ambience, the dining area is round and open and has sort of a busy feel, which is to be expected since the restaurant is located on the second floor of one of Chatan’s most popular shopping centers.  So if you’re looking for a cozier venue, best look elsewhere.  If you like night scenery, however, at least half of the circumference of the restaurant’s walls are giant window panes, perfect for enjoying the view of Mihama and its famous ferris wheel.  The service was also decent – props to the nice waitress who asked us if we wanted to move to a windowside table when one opened up.  

Rody and I ordered the house salad (850 yen), red curry with duck (1100 yen), and green chicken curry (1100 yen).  What we weren’t expecting at those prices was that we would have to pay for rice separately – 210 yen per person for regular jasmine rice, or 400 for Thai sticky rice!  We were further disappointed when the curry came out in what appeared to be a side dish – I was able to wrap my hands all the way around the widest part of the bowl (and I have very small hands).  Sure, everything tasted wonderful, especially the salad with cashew nuts and peanut dressing which also happened to be the most reasonably portioned item we ordered, but I actually had to eat all of the large plate of rice I had purchased separately, and I don’t even like rice – it’s just a filler you eat when there is nothing else to get you full.  

Maybe not giving people enough to eat was just the restaurant’s strategy to get them to order dessert?  I really didn’t feel like it after that, because I could foresee paying 400 yen for a taro and coconut custard the size of my little fingernail.  But the word “taro” was enough to make me feel like I had to at least try it, especially since I knew I probably wouldn’t be eating here again unless all I was hungry for was salad.  Luckily, I was not terribly disappointed by the size of the dessert that came out, and the taste was equally satisfying.  

There is an ad for set lunches starting at 880 yen (I’m assuming “set” means rice included in the price?).  Maybe our timing was just wrong?  But unless I develop a serious Thai craving that cannot wait until I either go home or take a trip to Thailand, I don’t suppose I’ll be going back to find out.  

I guess this just proves that food critics from newspapers like JapanUpdate can’t always be relied upon to provide an accurate and comprehensive restaurant review.  After all, their meals are on the house, so it probably doesn’t even occur to them to expose unfair pricing.  If you’re a big eater like me, best throw out your newspaper and consult this site before going out to try a new restaurant and finding out they want all the money in your wallet before they’re willing to fill you up.  

Photos coming as soon as I figure out what the heck is wrong with my uploading devices…

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