Modern Thai dining and casual vibe at Krapow

THAI fried rice with shrimp.

There is no immediate Thai vibe as you enter Krapow at the ground floor of MOA Square. That’s not entirely a bad thing.

The interiors are modern, almost industrial in look and design. But as you sit down, you see a large display of Thai sauces and bottled seasonings hanging by the bar and a large back-to-back menu written in Thai script (with English translation, of course) on top of each table.

Clearly, it’s not your typical Thai food joint, which is a good thing. 

The newly opened Krapow restaurant, its third branch in the metropolis, is unpretentious, simple and bright. With an open kitchen adding to its charm, it has a casual and cheerful atmosphere in spite of its modest furnishings. The space is comfortable and inviting, with indoor seating for 42 guests and 12 guests for alfresco dining.

“This design is exactly what we wanted,” said Felix Assad, president of Krapow. “It’s modern and minimalist. So far, this is our biggest store compared to our first two branches in Poblacion (Makati City) and BGC (Taguig City). Basically, we started small and just grew organically.”

Krapow, which first opened in 2020, is run and owned by good friends and partners Assad, Jake Antig and chef Reginald Prospero, who created the extensive menu of the restaurant. Prospero used to live in Bangkok for seven years and fell in love with their cuisine. Eventually, he pursued culinary arts at the American Hospitality Academy in Makati City.

“Krapow means holy basil in Thai,” shared Assad. “Basically, the signature dish of Thailand is Pad Krapow which is our version of tapsilog, fried meat served with fried egg.” 

Prospero added: “I lived in Thailand for quite some time, and that’s where I learned that Pad Thai is not really your typical go-to Thai food. The locals go for Pad Krapow. It’s a holy basil stir-fried with ground meat, such as chicken, pork, beef etc. It’s a Thai staple. If you go to Bangkok, there you can find Pad Krapow in the best restaurants, five-star hotels and even in 7-11.”

Thai fare

Krapow offers a wide range of spicy and flavorful Thai fare. Well, all dishes with chili can be made milder or spicier depending on how much heat your palate can take.

The flavors are very familiar to most people used to Asian cuisine, such as the Tom Yum (seafood soup flavored with cilantro, lemongrass and ginger for that sour and spicy taste) and Yum Som-o (pomelo salad).

The restaurant, Prospero said, uses authentic Thai ingredients, such as holy basil, kaffir lime and leaves, and Thai sauces and seasonings used in dishes like curries — Gaeng Keow Wan Neua (green curry beef) and Gaeng Massaman Neua (beef massaman curry).

Easily one of the best items on the menu is the Pad See Ew Gai or the wok-fried wide noodles with chicken and Chinese kale — it’s like Pad Thai but tastier, richer and the noodles are wider.

“We make our noodles fresh every day and from scratch,” Prospero said.

For the indulgent, the Khao Mun Gai Tod (crispy chicken on Hainanese rice) and Gai Tod Hat Yai (Thai fried chicken Hat Yai style) are a must. Should you wish to go in a lighter direction, excellent choices are the Pad Pak Boong Fai Deng (stir-fry morning glory) and Kana Pad Namman Hoi (stir-fry Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce).

For dessert, go for the Mango and Sticky Rice, a light dessert to complete the meal. And, to complement the meal, Krapow has its signature Thai Iced Milk Tea and Thai Ice Lime Tea.

Krapow is located at G/F Moa Square, Marina Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.