I picked up a groupon type deal for Champa Thai several weeks before travelling to Honolulu, and by the time we arrived, we had about a week to use it before the deal expired. No pressure!
We had a party of four this time, and we were seated immediately upon arrival.
After examining the menu and debating for a while, we settled upon the Penang curry with chicken
This is a chicken and long beans simmered in a rich peanuty curry sauce. This was an excellent dish, with full complex flavors of lemon grass, peanuts, garlic, chilies, coconut milk and fish sauce, and tastes fabulous with a serving of rice that soaks up all that creamy curry sauce.
Next we had the Shrimp Rad Prig.
This is breaded and deep-fried prawns, served on a bed of shredded cabbage, topped with stir fried onions, scallions, peppers, cilantro and a sweet (and slightly spicy) chili sauce. The deep-fried prawns were well seasoned, with a light crunch, rounded out with that sweet spicy chili sauce. Again, I thought there was too much sauce, and half way through the meal, the prawns were getting soggy from the excess. The bed of shredded cabbage helped to some degree, but not enough.
For years, we’ve been searching for a thai restaurant that served a roasted chicken similar to a particular thai restaurant in Victoria BC (I’m not even sure if that restaurant still exists, it was back in the mid 90s). To that end, we decided to try Champa Thai’s Paradise Chicken. This is a marinated cornish game hen, spatchcocked and grilled, served with a spicy dipping sauce.
We found this game hen to be tasty but overcooked and dry. I think this happens easily with cornish game hen, it’s such a small bird.
Well, the grilled game hen didn’t quite work out the way we’d hoped, but the Chicken Sateh made up for it.
This is skewered marinated chicken, grilled, served over shredded cabbage and topped with a creamy curry peanut sauce. This was a winner. The chicken was tender and flavorful, with a light char from the grill, and the curry peanut sauce is rich, smooth and delicious.
We also added an order Pad Thai with beef. No thai dinner feels complete without a serving of pad thai.
This is a very good dish, the noodles are well prepared, al-dente, dressed with crisp bean sprouts, onions, scallions, cilantro, and punctuated with scrambled eggs. There noodles are flavored with tamarind, garlic, and fish sauce. Although we ordered pad thai with beef, we were hard pressed to notice the beef. If it was there, it was thread thin and near invisible. That said, since this is a noodle dish, the noodles were very good.
The service was attentive and helpful.
The ambiance/room is simple and clean, nothing fancy. Just a large room with seating for 30-40, at tables arranged in neat rows.