Pan Asia restaurants serve casual Southeast Asian food in major Korean cities. In Daegu, the group recently opened their first concept store. Moving from the busy Dongseongro to a quieter area, the new Pan Asia Home has a renovated menu and the relaxed atmosphere of a home in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai.
Walking down the streets of Samdeok-dong, a two-story building stands out with its pink walls, green windows, and warm vibes. The interior of the new Pan Asia Home is no less: rattan chairs, warm-colored wallpapers, green plants, and corners decorated with old furniture and vintage home appliances brought personally by the restaurant’s owner from Chiang Mai’s Old City.
In the new Pan Asia Home menu, there’s food from Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. Sadly, I haven’t been (yet) to any of those countries, so I appreciated the pictures and food descriptions. The first thing that caught our eye was a picture of an appetizing grilled chicken, and we quickly decided to order Thai BBQ (Gai Yang). Then, my partner, who seems to know about Southeast Asian food more than I do, pointed out that CNN Travel’s readers had chosen Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice) as one of the world’s best foods. A quick look around the room revealed that it was, in fact, a popular choice among other customers, so that was our second pick. We also ordered shrimp Pad Thai, the famous rice noodle stir-fry.
We would have liked to try one of the imported beers from Thailand or Vietnam, but we were driving later. We ended up ordering non-alcoholic drinks, which were pretty sweet and could have worked as a dessert as well.
The Pad Thai arrived after a short time. The staff told us to mix the egg wrap well with the noodles and shrimps, squeeze some lime and add in the spices they had given us in a separate bowl. That’s exactly what we did, and the combination had a very satisfying flavor and moist texture with crunchy bits. Give yourself some time to feel the combination of slightly sweet, sour and umami flavors.
The Gai Yang or Thai marinated chicken barbeque came with a side of Som Tam or green papaya salad. We could also choose a side of sticky rice or wrap. We opted for the latter because we thought it would be fun to make our rolls and dip them in the sauce. However, I read on the Internet later that rice is the most common option. So I would suggest you ask the staff or do your research before you order. Nevertheless, it was indeed fun to eat and full of flavor.
With a plastic glove and a small tong, we shredded the chicken and wrapped it together with Som Tam. The chicken was very juicy and, although one of the marinade ingredients is fish sauce, I couldn’t feel any strong smell. The green papaya salad was fresh and quite spicy, so be careful if you are sensitive to spicy food.
Nasi Goreng was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. On the menu, it looked like an average spicy fried rice topped with an egg, but after the first bite, I understood why it made the CNN’s “World’s Best Food” list. After Googling it, I learned that the secret of its unique taste lies in kecap manis, an Indonesian sweet soy sauce flavored with aromatic spices. And believe me, you do feel the aromatic spices. But don’t let this hold you back: the taste is wonderfully balanced and makes each spoonful very enjoyable
Overall, the food was tasty and the portions abundant, and there is no doubt that they pay attention to detail everywhere from the food and drink presentation to the curtains and the wallpaper choice. If you have time, take a look at the objects inside the old cabinets and the vanity on the second floor. I don’t know if the food is similar to what you would get for dinner at home in Thailand, but my experience here makes me want to book a plane ticket and see for myself.
Address: 대구 중구 달구벌대로 443길 40. Subway line 2 경대병원 station.
Business hours: 11:30 – 22:00 (Last order 21:00).
Late night menu: Friday, Saturday 19:00-1:00.
Written and photographed by Monica Santos.