NARA is a well-loved Thai restaurant and voted as the best Thai Cuisine place in Bangkok, finally opened in Manila after branches in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Taipei, and Mumbai.
The restaurant was founded in 2003 by female entrepreneurs and it is just fitting that it is franchised by a Filipina entrepreneur, Sheila Romero of Roku Sushi and Ramen, and Sushi Nori.
The restaurant name “Nara” is a tribute to one of its founders, Narawadee Srikarnchana.
Thai food lovers rejoice and here are some tips and what to order before you go…
Here’s another reason why you should visit SM Mega Fashion Hall, is to taste authentic Thai comfort food located on the third floor’s restaurant haven of the hall.
Designed for family dining, narrow space with tables and surrounded by silver and purple color highlights.
It’s best to make a reservation before visiting!
Order all your favorite Thai comfort food which is best for sharing with family and friends.
Goong Kabeuang (₱245). Deep Fried Crispy Prawns Pancake.
This one is our favorite! It’s like shrimp balls texture but flattened in pancake form.
Yum Pla Dook Fu (₱350). Catfish Salad with Spicy Mango Sauce
For those looking for the fried catfish salad with a sweet spicy sauce, this is the perfect dish for you!
Yum Ma Khuer Yao Goong Sod (₱380). Grilled Eggplant Salad with Prawns and Minced Pork
Sweet eggplant lightly grilled with shrimp, eggs, minced pork, and chili. Good for those looking for healthier not fried options.
Gai Hor Bai Toei (₱360). Chicken Pandan
It’s good and would satisfy your craving for Chicken Pandan.
Phu Nim Tord Kra Tiem (₱850). Fried Soft Shell Crab with Garlic
This is one of their best seller and something different from the usual but we wish that the sweet sauce does not overpower the crab.
Yum Som O (₱380). Pomelo Salad
This is only as good as the sweetness and quality of the pomelo which is seasonal.
Nara Thai Milk Tea (₱125)
It’s milky good that you would expect with Thai Milk tea but a bit sweet, so order additional ice to dilute it a bit.
Tom Yum Gong (₱420). Prawns in Spicy Lemongrass and Lime Soup
This is as authentic as you can get, and I like mine spicy and hot.
Eat it when they serve it to you, that’s the best time to eat this meal.
Tom Ka Gai (₱380). Chicken in Coconut Soup
I love this coconut soup for its spicy and milky taste. It’s not good when it’s cold.
Kang Kiew Wan Gai (₱385). Green Chicken Curry
The green curry is good as what I tasted in Bangkok and you can wipe the sauce clean with rice.
Khang Phed Ped Yang (₱650). Roasted Duck Red Curry
Khang Phed Ped Yang is my current favorite dish with its smoky pieces of a speciallroasted duck filled with curry sauce.
Phad Thai Kai Krob (Solo – ₱285, Sharing – ₱390). Pad Thai Noodles with Prawns and Crispy Egg Floss
This is how a pad Thai should be with balanced flavors and proper noodles.
Ka Nar Pla Khem (₱295). Stir-Fried Kale with Thai Anchovy
We always like to order a plate of vegetables to balance the meal and especially if kale is available.
Massaman Gai or Nuea Nong (Beef – ₱495). Braised Beef Massaman Curry
Now, we have a good place to get our favorite Massaman Beef Curry in Manila.
Khao Phad Kapi (₱245). Rice with Shrimp Paste served with Condiments
We tried a couple of rice options during the meal but we still go back to our all-time favorite, Bagoong Rice!
Khao Phad Nam Prik Goong Seab (₱225). Fried Rice with Chili, Shrimp Paste, Caramelized Pork, Crispy Catfish, and Salted Egg.
My personal rice favorite in Nara Thai is the fried rice with chili and salted egg.
Congratulations to Sheila Romero for successfully bringing the Nara Thai franchise in Manila!
Nara Dessert Set (₱345). Good for Two. Two Scoops Coconut Ice Cream with Thai Sweet Condiments
A deconstructed halo-halo if you like to choose bits and pieces mixed with coconut ice cream.
Bua Loy (₱245). Coconut Milk Rice Dumplings with Salted Egg
Mango was not in season, so this is the next best thing in their dessert.
Khao Niew Lam Yai Nai Maprow Ice Cream (₱255). Longan Sticky Rice in Coconut Ice Cream
The sticky rice was a bit heavy, maybe you can just end up with coconut ice cream.
Overall, it’s worth it! Just go to Mega Fashion Hall if you are craving for a good Thai meal. Put their Pad Thai or Tom Yum to a challenge and see if it lives up to your expectation.
You can go for your usual Thai Comfort Food favorites like Tom Yum Goong, Phad Thai, Bagoong Rice and Chicken Pandan. But I would recommend going for shrimp pancakes for appetizers, Tom Ka Gai for your soup, and the curries — green, red and the massaman with plain rice. I would order the coconut or macapuno ice cream for dessert. Budget about P500/head
The food is really good for sharing perfect for family dine-out! Reservation is a must especially if you are going with a big family.
Some of the flavors of the dishes are hit or miss as they stabilize their operation. The expectation is very high because of the Nara Thai heritage. Foodies won’t expect anything less in Manila.
The restaurant is a bit narrow and I wish they have wider breathing space between tables in their BGC branch.
Live an Awesome Life,Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of our friends from Nara. I wrote this article with my opinions and insights.
P.S. We’ve tasted Apinara at Central World, Bangkok last June 2016 and we wished for Nara to open in Manila.