Sasi’s Thai

When in Oxford, I usually visit the Covered Market and have a delicious plate of Thai food from Sasi’s Thai. 

My first experience of Sasi’s Thai was back in 2013 when I started working in Oxford and would go out for lunch. It was one of the many food outlets in the market and always served excellent delicious food. Even after I changed jobs, and stopped working in Oxford, if I was back in Oxford (or even passing through) I would stop for lunch and seek out Sasi’s Thai for some spicy food.

This was the case back in March 2023, when after a meeting elsewhere in Oxfordshire, I was on my way to another location, so stopped off in Oxford for lunch. I made my way to Sasi’s Thai and though it was busy, I joined the queue. I had the two choices with rice, and had the Crispy Pork with Basil  and the Chicken and Cashew Nuts. 

The crispy pork was nice and tasty.

The chicken and cashew nuts was also tasty. I did feel the chicken could have done with some more cashew nuts.

These are two dishes I would regularly have at Sasi’s Thai. Both dishes were delicious, quite spicy. The food was just as good as I remembered. 

Time for some Thai in Leeds

I was looking through some photographs of food, and realised that in April when I was up in Leeds I had a few meals which I hadn’t blogged about. Sometimes I write up the dining experiences I have on the same day, in the same week, or quite soon after that. Now and then I have food and then never get around to writing a blog post about it. In April I was at a conference and was staying in the heart of Leeds. The hotel I was staying at, did have a restaurant, and it looked really nice, but it was way too expensive and out of my budget. I knew I would need to eat at a place away from the restaurant.

On my first night I had a chance to explore the area, wasn’t quite sure what I wanted but happened to chance upon Rosa’s Thai in the Trinity Leeds Shopping Centre. 

I had eaten at a branch of Rosa’s Thai in Liverpool’s Albert Dock the month before and that had been really nice, however I also had a disappointing experience in Ealing earlier in the month. However I think that disappointing experience was more down to me ordering a dish, thinking it was one thing, when in reality it was something very different. So despite that experience, and running out of time, I decided I would have a meal at Rosa’s Thai, as I do like Thai food. 

The Leeds restaurant doesn’t have the same warm welcoming feel as the branches in Ealing and Liverpool. In Liverpool, being part of a historical building gave that restaurant a certain charm. Ealing was part of the high street. Rosa’s Thai in Leeds was in a shopping centre and lacked the ambiance and atmosphere. However I was there for the food, and it was okay, different, but not totally clinical.

They do change the menu now and then, but it is pretty similar over time.

For my starter I had the fresh summer rolls, these were soft sheets of rice paper stuffed with mixed veg, tangy-sweet tamarind sauce & fragrant herbs, served with traditional spicy fragrant chilli sauce & crushed peanuts.

They looked really nice when they arrived.

I had not had these before, so was a little surprised they were cold. I am not sure why I was surprised, but there you are. I thought they were just okay. Not sure I would order them again.

For my main I had the pork belly Pad metmamuang, a classic stir-fry with Rosa’s soy sauce, cashew nuts, spring onion & mushrooms.

This was a much better dish, and I really enjoyed it. Very tasty and alongside I had some Jasmine rice. Though I enjoyed it, I think the crispy pork dish I have had at Sais’s Thai in Oxford is better.

It was a nice meal, and so much better than the meal I had eaten in Ealing.

Back to Oxford for some Thai

Ten years away from Oxford, a trip back meant revisiting ghosts of lunches past. Some haunts had faded, but Sasi’s Thai in the Covered Market, my old lunchtime sanctuary, still beckoned. Forget greasy fry-ups; Sasi’s was a riot of Thai aromas, its glass counter a technicolour tapestry of curries and stir-fries. Ordering was a ritual: point, pay, collect your plate, then thread through the labyrinth of tightly packed tables, sometimes sharing space and smiles with strangers. The vibe, I fancied, echoed the bustling street food havens of Thailand.

The food itself? I wouldn’t claim expertise, never having braved Bangkok’s back alleys. But popularity spoke volumes. My taste buds still vividly recall the fiery dance of chicken and cashew nuts basking in a spicy sauce, crispy pork belly crackling with sweet glaze, and the elusive squid, a fleeting guest on the menu. Each bite was a punch of spice and flavour, a passport to a faraway land, all within the bustling heart of Oxford.

In December I was back in Oxford, and I remembered the great meal I had eaten at Sasi’s Thai in the Oxford Covered Market back in April. So, it wasn’t too much of a surprise when needing lunch in Oxford I headed to the market and joined the queue. Yes, the place was busy, but there was space to eat.

I ordered the two dishes with rice, and had the chicken and cashew nuts, and the spicy crispy pork.

Thai food on rice

These were tasty dishes, the pork was nice and crispy, the chicken was great. Alas there was a shortage of cashew nuts in the dish, sometimes think I should bring my own cashew nuts with me. The sauce was spicy but still intense with flavour. I really enjoyed both dishes. On the way out I noticed that they had added their squid dish to the counter, now I was seriously tempted to go back and have a second lunch!

An Oxfordian blast from the past

When I am in Oxford for visits and meetings, I do like to take the time to revisit old haunts from my days working there ten years ago. Of course, some places have closed or changed hands. One place I would visit regularly for lunch back in the day was Sasi’s Thai in the Oxford Covered Market. One of the ways in which you could describe it, was imagine a market cafe, however this one served excellent Thai food rather than a full English breakfast! There is a counter with all the available dishes to see. You place your order, it is served up on a plate, and then you pay. Within there are numerous tightly packed tables and chairs. They even have a few chairs outside as well. Sometimes you will need to share your table, but as well as sharing the space you are also sharing the experience. I always had this impression that the informality and feel of the place was what it could have been like eating in a similar eating establishment in Thailand. They served this delicious Thai food. I have no idea how authentic the food was, as I have never been to Thailand. However it was extremely popular. I remember having some delicious meals there, but most times I would choose the chicken cashew, crispy pork belly, or when it was on the menu, the squid. It was always quite spicy, but alway tasty.

I was looking through some photographs of food, and realised that in April when I was travelling around, there were some meals which I hadn’t blogged about. Sometimes I write up the dining experiences I have on the same day, in the same week, or quite soon after that. Now and then I have food and then never get around to writing a blog post about it. In April I had been quite busy travelling across the UK to attend meetings and conferences.

I had been at a meeting and had time for lunch and I was quite close to Oxford, so I headed to Sasi’s Thai in the Oxford Covered Market for some great food. I was lucky in that though it was busy, there wasn’t a huge queue and they had spare tables.

I ordered the two dishes with rice, and had the chicken and cashew nuts, and the squid.

Thai food on rice

These were nice and generous portions. The chicken was nice and tasty, and the squid was tender and full of flavour. There was plenty of onions and peppers in the servings as well. You could taste the vegetables, chicken, and squid through the spicy sauce, and the rice was a nice accompaniment.  My only note of criticism was that the dish was really lacking cashew nuts, I think I had two. These though were delicious fresh dishes; you can often see them replenish their counter with pots being brought down from the upstairs kitchen. Sasi’s Thai is one of those places where though full after eating, you always feel tempted to go for a second round and try two other dishes. I did resist temptation.

A really disappointing Thai meal

I was looking through some photographs of food, and realised that in April when I was up in London I had a few meals which I hadn’t blogged about. Sometimes I write up the dining experiences I have on the same day, in the same week, or quite soon after that. Now and then I have food and then never get around to writing a blog post about it. In April I had been quite busy travelling across the UK to attend meetings and conferences. Having said that, I think the reason I didn’t write this meal up, was that I had quite high expectations about the meal and was then somewhat disappointed with what I actually had. So, why was I disappointed with the meal, lets read on.

I had eaten at a branch of Rosa’s Thai in Liverpool’s Albert Dock the month before and that had been really nice, so finding a branch in Ealing I decided I would have dinner there. It had a similar look and feel to the branch in Liverpool, even though it was not in a docks area.

I had a look over the menu and there was quite a bit of choice, but I wanted to have something different from what I had eaten in Liverpool. 

For my starter I went the salt and pepper squid. 

plate of crispy squid

This was pieces of squid deep fried in crispy batter, served with a dipping sauce and quite a large amount of fresh chilli. It was rather nice and tasty.

For my main I had the Crab Fried Rice. I was asked if I wanted anything with the rice, I had assumed though at £13.50 and where it was in the menu this was a main, not a side dish. It was described as fried rice (or khao pad), a simple, wonderful Thai staple. Jasmine rice, stir-fried with eggs, onions, ginger, spring onions and crab meat. It sounded really nice. However what I was served was this.

plate of fried rice

I challenge you to spot the crab in the dish! I was really disappointed with the rice dish. There was almost no crab in the dish, and certainly I couldn’t taste the crab. I did think about complaining, but to be honest I wasn’t sure what I would be complaining about, I had ordered a dish, and it arrived as described. I had also been asked to clarify that this is what I wanted when I ordered it. I think, though the dish was disappointing, there wasn’t an actual problem with the dish. I also thought about ordering another main dish to have with the rice, but this would have racked up the cost of the meal. In the end I would have to chalk this one up to experience and I would most certainly not order this again.

Whilst writing this, I saw that it was still on the menu, it’s more expensive at £16, but now comes topped with crispy fried soft shell crab. Still, even then, I wouldn’t order it again.  I wonder if other people had had the dish, but had complained, which is why they changed it.

Visiting The Old Siam

I was up in York for a few days and was looking for a place to eat close to where I was staying.  I had noticed The Old Siam when I had gone for a walk along Micklegate. This was a Thai restaurant with wooden floors and batik wall hangings.

When I arrived it was quite busy, but I was given a warm welcome. I was shown to my table. I liked the atmosphere of the place, and there was a real buzz about it. The wooden furniture offered an informal dining experience which I liked.

There was quite a lot of choice of different Thai dishes on the menu, but in the end I decided to go for the salt n pepper soft shell crab as a starter followed by the mixed seafood pad cashew nut as my main course.

The salt n pepper soft shell crab was soft shell crab in a tempura batter with garlic, salt, pepper and served with sriracha sauce.

The batter was nice and crispy and I liked the crab, which had a real crab flavour. Sometimes when I’ve had battered soft shell crab, the crab can be somewhat tasteless. This time I could definitely taste the crab. The sriracha sauce was a little too spicy for me. However, despite that I really enjoyed the crab.

It wasn’t long before my main course arrived. This was stir fried light battered mixed seafood with roasted cashew nut, carrot, onion, red pepper and mushroom. Alongside I had a serving of sticky rice.

This was a nice dish. There was a good mix and portion of battered seafood. I did think the batter as a little thick in places, but there was a nice crunch. The sauce was nice and there was a good amount of cashew nuts. The sauce was nice and it worked well combining all the aspects of the dish together.

Overall I really liked the food here, the service was excellent, warm, and friendly. I was tempted to go again, but I know if I am up in York again, I will try and visit The Old Siam.

Pad Kra Prow at Rosa’s Thai

Royal Albert Dock

I was attending a conference in Liverpool, and arrived in the evening. I was quite hungry after a long journey to Liverpool, so after looking at (and dismissing) the hotel menu I headed out to the Royal Albert Docks for a bite to eat. There is quite a bit of choice across the docks, and knowing I was short of time, I realised I had to choose quickly. After looking at a few choices I decided that I would go for Thai and went into the branch of Rosa’s Thai they have on the docks.

They described themselves as:

A family of foodies dedicated to serving up perfected Thai dishes. You’ll find us in unfussy cafes at the heart of neighbourhoods, cooking up fresh dishes from our kitchens straight to your table.

The menu looked interesting and I could see quite a few things I liked the look of. So in I went. It was quite busy, but I was given a warm welcome and I took a seat and l looked around. The environment was informal and inviting. They have different kinds of seating and they used lots of wood and wooden furniture. The staff looked busy, but friendly and efficient.

I looked over the menu, which has quite a few options. My first choice for the starter would have been the crispy squid, but I always have that, so looked over the choices. In the end I went with the Gai satay. Described on the menu as succulent, lemongrass-scented grilled chicken thigh skewers with Rosa’s peanut dipping sauce.

Gai satay

These were three large skewers of marinated chicken thighs, nothing like the satay skewers you find in the deli counters of most supermarkets. The satay sauce was delicious and really enhanced the chicken. I was pleased with that choice.

For my main course I did think about getting the Pad metmamuang, the cashew stir fry, but in the end I went with the Seafood Pad Kra Prow. This was the Chilli & Basil Stir Fry with seafood. The menu called this a spicy and fragrant favourite with Thai basil, onions and green beans. This is something of a national dish, a real classic.

Seafood Pad Kra Prow

I wasn’t sure about the presentation and look of the dish. However the spiciness was just right, there was a good portion of seafood in the dish, though it was dominated by the squid. Not that I minded as I prefer squid. I suspect if you like prawns you might be a little disappointed, though there are prawn dishes elsewhere on the menu.

The squid was nice and tender, and I enjoyed the green beans and Thai basil. Overall I really tasty dish.

Alongside I had some sticky rice. 

sticky rice

The sticky rice came wrapped in banana leaf. It was really a large lump of sticky rice, which I had to break apart with my spoon. However it did add to the overall dish.

Alongside the food I had a Thai beer (in a can).


This was a lovely meal, excellent service, tasty food, and nice environment. It was my first experience of Rosa Thai and I certainly would go again.

Yeah, it was what I expected…

I was up in Manchester for some meetings. I had planned in eating my evening meal in the hotel I was staying at, but it was closed, no reason given, but food was being served in the bar area. With a rather limited menu I decided to head off to the Trafford Centre, having enjoyed a meal at Bills there back in May last year. This time there wasn’t anything on the menu that inspired me.

The menu at Tru Street looked quite interesting with choices including bao buns for a starter, and lamb chops for the main. However it was a little more than I wanted to spend, and with the mandatory 12.5% service charge, would have stepped up the bill. What finally clinched it for me, to not to go, were the reviews on Google. Over a thousand reviews and the rating was 2.9 stars out of five. Put that into perspective, Bills has 4.2 stars out of five.

There is a huge choice of places to eat at The Trafford Centre, almost too much choice.

I did consider heading to Zizzi to have pizza, especially as I had a 30% off food voucher. However there was a bit of a queue for tables, and though I joined the queue, it wasn’t moving. I hate queuing so made the choice to go somewhere else. Next door was Thaikhun, a Thai buffet restaurant. They had an introductory £5 off deal, so kind of expecting nothing special I waited to be seated.

This was a self-service buffet restaurant with quite a selection of Thai based dishes. If you have been other buffet restaurants you might feel a little short-changed as compared to places likeZa Za Bazaar in Bristol the menu is limited to just Thai food.

Of all the dishes I had, I really enjoyed the seafood dish which included squid and prawns. 

Compared the excellent Thai food I have had at places such as Sais’s Thai in Oxford, this could be seen to be rather disappointing. However I wasn’t expecting anything special, so I did enjoy the food I had. Would I go again? Probably not.

Time for Thai at the Thai Canteen

I was staying in London again and popped out to Ealing in the car to get something to eat. I wasn’t sure what I wanted. The tapas place was full (and a good meal would be a little pricey). I did initially think about Bill’s but wasn’t 100% sure. Next door was the Thai Canteen, the menu looked interesting. I walked down to Cote, but didn’t really fancy anything on the menu. So I walked back to the Thai Canteen and decided I must stop walking and go somewhere to eat. So, I looked over the menu. It was a little difficult to read outside, so I went in and was given a nice warm welcome.

The menu was quite extensive, some reminded me of my local Chinese takeaway, so I decided that I would try and have something from the Thai end of the menu.

However for my starter I went with what I have quite a lot eating out which was squid, the starter I chose was the crispy baby squid with wasabi mayonnaise.

This was a good portion of freshly cooked squid. I liked the wasabi mayonnaise, but the squid for me was too much crispy batter and not enough squid. Well it was “crispy squid” what did I expect?

For my main course I had the Yen-ta-Fore, fat rice noodles with seafood, morning glory and crispy wonton.

This was a huge bowl of food. There was a selection of seafood, and I’ll be honest I am not sure what was what. There were prawns, these I did recognise. But there was also some fish balls and some deep fried cubes of something! The broth was nice and spicy. The wontons were crispy, but quickly became soggy as they sank into the broth. It was all very tasty though.

Overall I did struggle to finish the dish, there was a lot of food, and I think if I went back I would not have had a starter.

The service was excellent and I enjoyed the food.

Homecooked Thai style stir fry

Thai Stir Fry

This is a recipe I cook quite often, it was inspired by visits to Sais’ Thai in the Oxford Covered Market. Though it has similarities to the dish I had at Sais’ Thai, it’s not quite the same, actually it’s quite different, but I don’t usually use the ingredients they do.

I cook some cubed pork belly in the oven, for about twenty minutes I then remove from the oven and stir fry in a wok with some soy sauce and fish sauce, along with finely chopped garlic and ginger. You could add chilli as well, if you like a bit of heat in your stir fry. I then take a range of vegetables, including but not always limited to: ribbons of carrot, pak choi, red cabbage, courgette, mushrooms (shitake and brown), baby corn, and onions. These are added to the wok. And cooked for a couple of minutes. I then add spinach and basil. I would prefer to use Thai Basil, but I have had trouble either finding it locally or growing it in the garden.

The dish is then served with a sprinkling of cashew nuts. It works well with rice, but I have also served it with noodles as well.