I’ve hardly blogged about restaurants this year. I don’t eat out much these days, and when I do I usually go to places that feel safe and familiar. But a couple of weeks ago I went for lunch at Anong Thai in Cyrildene with my friends Yoko and Ang. I had never been to Anong before, and as soon as we pulled in I was pretty sure it was going to be a blog-worthy experience.

Anong has motivated me to rejuvenate my long-neglected Quickie Restaurant Review series.

Outside Anong Thai in Cyrildene
Anong Thai, at the corner of Hettie Street and Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene. I didn’t investigate the Anong spa or the salon — I’d love to hear if anyone else has.

Disclaimer: I have never been to Thailand and have no authority whatsoever to proclaim one Thai restaurant more authentic than another. I actually want to start avoiding the word “authentic” as much as possible in my restaurant reviews; it’s a tired word.

What I can say is that Anong is more like the Thai restaurants I frequented in Washington D.C., where there are lots of Thai immigrants, than any other Thai place I’ve eaten at in Joburg. Anong’s menu has only Thai food — no sushi, no dim sum, etc. — which gives the place more street cred in my opinion. And Yoko, who spent a few months living in Thailand last year, says the food at Anong “took me right back to Chiang Mai”.

Anong entrance
The Anong entrance. It was drizzly and cold that day, but on sunny days there is plenty of outdoor seating.

We couldn’t eat outside because of the weather, but the inside was airy and nearly empty. I got really excited when the menus came — I could see right away this food was going to be good.

All of my Thai food favorites were there. Also: Check the great prices — nearly everything is under R100.

I ordered the Pad Ka-Prao with pork, medium-spicy. Yoko got Tom-Yum soup with a side of sticky rice, which I was totally envious of and will order next time, and Ang ordered Massaman curry. We all loved our food — mine was just the right amount and just the right level of spiciness.

Ka-Prao with pork
Spicy Pad Ka-Prao, which looked identical to the photo in the menu.
Tom-Yum with sticky rice
Tom Yum with sticky rice, which is served in a steaming straw basket.

Besides the food, the coolest thing about Anong is the Buddhist shrine outside — across the parking lot from the restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant with a shrine before.

Buddhist shrine at Anong
The shrine with Ang’s car parked in front. Somehow I think the car makes the shrine look even cooler — maybe because it’s color-coordinated.
Shrine close-up
A better look at the shrine.

I highly recommend this place. Check it out over the holidays if you need something to do.

Anong Thai is at 20 Hettie Street, Cyrildene. Call 074-240-6712.

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