You’ve got to love authenticity, especially when it comes to Thai food, which should have that essential balance of spicy, sweet, sour, salty and bitter in each bite. Warung Siam is about as authentic as you can get thanks to Thai-born owner Jue’s commitment to creating classic homestyle Thai dishes without skimping on the flavour or pandering to wimpy palates.
You can’t miss the bright red exterior of Warung Siam flaunting fluttering Thai flags and old school lanterns. Outside you’ve got a small patio with counter-style seats overlooking happening Jalan Goutama, and inside you’ve got a cosy arrangement of wooden tables, rustic wooden panels that evoke the ambiance of a traditional Thai shophouse, and a huge mural of Thai warriors on elephants along one wall. The small size of the restaurant gives it an intimate vibe, and if you can snag a spot on the patio it’s a great people watching spot.
You’ll find all your Thai faves here like Pad Thai noodles, spicy Som Tam salad, and tangy Tom Yam soup, but be warned—these ain’t no Western watered down versions. The kitchen staff have been trained to prepare the dishes the traditional Thai way, which means tons of fresh herbs, generous douses of lime juice and lashings of fiery chilis. If you can’t handle the heat, you may want to put in a special request to make yours mild.
Start with the Iced Thai Milk Tea (IDR 20K) for a creamy, cool hit of fragrant tea sweetened with condensed milk, and then move on to light bites like the Guay Teaw Lui Suan (IDR 40K), fresh rice paper rolls with shrimp, vermicelli noodles and crunchy veggies with a sweet chilli sauce, or the Tord Man Pla (IDR 35K), Thai fish cakes marinated with herbs and also served with a sweet chilli sauce.
We tried the Yam Woon Sen (IDR 40K) and it was pretty mind blowing. The springy vermicelli noodles came piled high with tender calamari rings, shrimp and chicken, the peanuts added a touch of crunch, and the tomatoes and lime juice gave just the right hit of acid. Then there was coriander for an herbaceous note and finely chopped chilis to give it some heat. Overall refreshing and fiery at the same time.
Next up was the Gang Keaw Wan Gai (IDR 45K), otherwise known as Green Curry Chicken. This was pretty much everything a good green curry should be with big slices of chicken, round green eggplants and long beans swimming in a slightly spicy coconut curry sauce that was seasoned with Kaffir lime leaves and basil. Nice touches included a crunchy salad on the side, as well as an insanely spicy chilli, garlic and vinegar concoction. I’m all for adding extra heat where warranted, but honestly this wicked elixir will melt your face off if you’re not careful.
And last but not least, we had to try the Pad Thai (IDR 40K chicken, 35K vegetarian, 45K pork, 65K shrimp). This simple street food style dish came with chicken, rice noodles and green onions tossed in a tangy tamarind sauce with tiny dried shrimps and draped with a lacy egg lattice, plus peanuts, chilli flakes, bean sprouts and a lime on the side. This is a pretty safe bet if you’re going for a standard stir-fried noodle dish, but more adventurous types might want to something a bit less pedestrian, like say the Hor Mok Gai (IDR 45K), a chicken curry custard with mushrooms, cabbage and sweet basil steamed in a banana leaf.
Hands down this is one of the most authentic Thai spots you’re going to find anywhere on the island. In fact, in the almost three years that it’s been open it has become so popular that Jue has gone on to open Buddha Bowl in Pengosekan for Thai and Vietnamese fare, as well as a second Warung Siam in Seminyak. Definitely check this place out if you’re craving homestyle Thai food that packs a punch.
Jalan Goutama No. 7, Ubud, Bali
T: +62 0812 3998 3272
H: Daily 11am – 11pm
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