Pop-up restaurant review: Soi Thai
A few years ago, Warren and I spent a few weeks in Thailand - scuba diving, elephant riding and eating all the good food. I had never really had Thai food before and ordered the safe choice of Pad Thai almost every night. However, we did spend 5 days on a live-aboard dive boat, where authentic Thai food was prepared for every meal. I have no idea what any of it was, but it was good and gave me a much better introduction to real Thai food.
Now, we've finally found the most authentic Thai food outside of Thailand. And it's in Zurich of all places. For one month every summer Soi Thai "pops up" in an old rope factory. It's as crazy as it sounds, but you really do feel transported to the streets of Bangkok. It's also one of those places that doesn't advertise, so you either are "in the know" or you aren't. Thankfully, a co-worker invited us last year and we had such a great experience, that I marked my calendar for this year to make sure we didn't miss it. I feel so cool.
Soi Thai is only open for a few more days this year (Aug. 21 - Sept. 16), but hopefully it'll be back again next summer. They don't take reservations, so be prepared to wait up to an hour. But it's worth it. We went last Friday with my sister who was visiting and were able to get right in (we got there at 5:30pm, just after it opened). There are only about 7 items on the menu, none of which I really understood, but we ordered 5 dishes to share. The one thing to keep in mind is that authentic Thai food is spicy! Like, way spicier than any other Thai restaurant I've ever gone to. But despite the burning lips, the food is incredibly good! And some mango sticky rice for dessert will cool everything down.
Part of what makes Soi Thai so cool is the location/atmosphere. The building is an old rope factory, so it's really long and skinny, and impressively mimics a back-alley in Bangkok. Boxes of Chang beer line the walls, flower garlands adorn the ceiling and colorful floral plastic table cloths cover the communal tables. The kitchen is open, it's loud and crowded. There were even women outside offering Thai massages.
If you want authenticity, Soi Thai is as close to Thailand as you can get...in Switzerland.