Last week I was invited to a new modern Thai restaurant, Saap in Gyeongridan. This whole areas has been pretty dead culinary wise for the last few months, and even a few of our old favourites have closed. So having something new to try was a very exciting prospect, especially since the menu offered something different from the same old dishes most of the Thai restaurants around these parts seem to offer.
The small restaurant is located on the main Gyeongridan street just across from Namsan Chemistry. It is tiny inside but brightly decorated which immediately put me in the mind of warmer climates. Owner and Chef Kim Hyun told us that the name Saap means ‘delicious spicy’ so we knew we were in for something special.
It being a Friday night and all we wanted to kick off with a drink. You know how much I love a cocktail, so was thrilled they had two on the menu. A Tom Yum Bloody Mary (8,000) which was flavoured with tom yum seasoning and came served in a teddy bear. This was beyond adorable and the Thai spices added a bit of extra flavour. The Thai Tonic (8,000) was a nice take on a typical G&T. It was immensely pretty thanks to the purple hue it was given from the butterfly pea flowers. Lastly we got a Draft Chang Beer (7,000), as it is not a Thai dinner without one!
The chef was really keen for us to try the whole menu and being three fat little piggies we more than willing to oblige him. We kicked off with the Kai Look Kay (7,000) a crispy egg salad. We all adored this, the soft boiled eggs paired so well with the sweet and sour dressing. It hit all those sweet, sour, and salty notes that give you that umami flavour. The grilled prawn on top was awesome, they should serve them as a dish by themselves. For 7,000 this dish was a bargain.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu, mainly due to its charming presentation is the Oops Mama I Dropped The Noodle (14,000). We imagined this to be a hot dish but it was a cold noodle salad. It had lots of the same flavours as the previous crispy egg dish but again we all really enjoyed it.
One thing I was super looking forward to after seeing it on their Instagram account was the Saap”s Fried Chicken (24,000). This was pretty bloody impressive, a whole chicken which was covered in a crispy fried coating, I mean how big a deep fryer would you need to cook this bad boy! The chicken was so tender and moist while the coating was extra crispy and covered in a sweet and spicy sauce. It also came with a side of pickled cucumber which gave a respite from the spiciness. Paired with a beer, its like a Thai take on Chimaek.
After the chicken we were starting to get full but the dishes kept coming out. There was a Grilled Pork & Salad Dish (20,000) which was he other main dish on the menu. It was pretty much a plate of samgyupsal marinated in Thai satay sauce served with a salad, we all really enjoyed it. Not long after we had finished the pork, out came a huge bowl of Tom Yum Tofu Soup (16,000). This baby was packed with tofu, noodles, shrimp, egg and veggies. I can’t imagine anyone not being super full from this bowl of noodle soup alone. In the beginning it had the perfect balance of flavours but then it got spicier and spicier, that was fine for half of our group, but if you don’t like spicy food then you should let the chef know so they can tailor it to suit your tastes.
Lastly we finished up with one of my favourite dishes Pad Thai (14,000). Before starting this dish my Chubby Hubby declared that he didn’t really care for Pad Thai, but he soon started getting into as soon as he had a few mouthfuls. This version came with another shrimp and lots of tofu, so I’m sure it could easily be adapted to suit vegetarians. I was stuffed by the time this came out, but it was good that I couldn’t bear to leave a single noodle on the plate.
Overall we had an amazing meal. Even though we were invited and received our meal on the house I was really impressed by the quality and unique flavours in the dishes. The place really exuded a fun and youthful vibe, and it’s a bit more special than the usual Thai restaurants around here. If you love Thai food then you really need to check it out, though as the place is quite small reservations are recommended especially on weekends.
Saap is located at 36 Hoenamu-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the left hand stairs. Follow the road around and walk straight through Gyeongridan until you start walking up the hill. Saap is about half way up on the right hand side opposite Namsan Chemistry. For more information you can call them on 010-5101-8666 or check out their Instagram. They are open from 5:30pm – 12:00am Weekdays, and 12:00pm – 12:00am on Weekends and closed on Tuesdays.