I love Thai cuisine. It’s a firm favourite when eating out and usually my go-to when ordering takeout. Sadly, though, I’m often left feeling disappointed. This is certainly not the case with the brand new Smokin’ Wok, available for delivery in the southern suburbs via Mr D and UberEats.
Ok, let’s backtrack.
Why am I often disappointed by takeouts? Asian food usually includes noodles, which is a win, it naturally has all the flavourings that I really enjoy, another win, and it’s pretty hard to mess up, a third win.
I often find takeout spots rely on an overuse of chilli and cheap oils to add flavour and texture. And they don’t really focus on the quality of individual flavours, those subtle nuances that could make, for example, a regular Pad Thai go from ‘just okay’ to out of this world.
I’ll add that I’ve only had this problem in Cape Town and only when ordering takeout. I’ve lived in five different countries on three different continents, and I eat out all the time. So I’ve had some pretty decent Asian cuisine – otherwise, I wouldn’t come back to it time and time again.
But finding that gem of a spot that delivers on quality 110%? Now, that’s the goal!
I’ll add in a disclaimer that I have never lived in Asia or travelled to Asia, so my experience of Asian food and opinion thereof is simply from “home soil” experience.
Lucky, then, that Simon Whitelaw, the mastermind behind Smokin’ Wok, has spent an extensive period of time in Thailand, working with local Thai chefs, learning about authentic Thai food, and expanding his cooking to impress even the locals.
[He’s also the brain behind the fresh fruit & veg delivery service OddBox, which we reviewed last year]
Good for all of us that he returned to South Africa and has since opened up Smokin’ Wok, feeding the southern suburbs from a central location in Wynberg.
Which is all good and well but how does this translate to the food?
Smokin’ Wok Menu & Prices
The Smokin’ Wok menu features a ton of items that I’ve never come across before – which I found a little daunting upon first perusal.
I often find that many restaurants serve similar versions of more Westernised meals, which makes sense, of course, because we all find comfort in familiarity.
So being confronted with a largely unfamiliar menu that includes the likes of Hainanese Chicken (R99; poached chicken breast), Pad Si Eu (R119; smokey wok noodles), Beef Rendang (R159; Indonesian curry), Grapao (R109; minced pork or chicken served with egg), and Crying Tiger (R109; steak salad), I wasn’t quite sure where to start.
But I figured the best way to find out if the menu is decent is by trying a bunch of different dishes, some known and some unknown.
So I went ahead and ordered the Beef Rendang (R159), Spring Rolls (R49), Prawn & Chicken Laksa (R99), Pad Si Eu (R119), Green Curry (R89), and sides of the Steamed Jasmine Rice (R25).
As a quick side note, the green curry is usually served as a standard dish but I tried their ready-made curry that’s in development for retail sale.
Price-wise, most starters average at R50, veg dishes and salads at R70, mains at around R100, and sides at R20.
A Tale Of Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are a telltale for me.
Don’t hate me, but I don’t actually like spring rolls. I usually find them to be oily, flavourless messes of something that could be really good but always fail to be.
I’ve had one or two amazing spring rolls in my life, though. So I keep trying these to see if maybe, just maybe, I can fall in love again.
Smokin’ Wok made me fall in love again.
These were without a doubt the best spring rolls I have ever had.
You get four spring rolls in a portion, and they’re filled with veggies and glass noddles.
The dish also comes with palm sugar chilli syrup on the side, which I found a little too sweet for my liking. But the spring rolls themselves are so full of flavour; they don’t need anything else.
To my own horror, I ate all four of them in one go – and they’re not small spring rolls either!!!
Of course, it was great. But I was a little sad when I didn’t have any left over for dinner … or breakfast the next day. This is a judge-free space, right?
So the spring rolls surprised and impressed me, and we were off to a good start.
The Laksa and Pad Si Eu Experience
Next, I tried bites of the Prawn & Chicken Laksa and the Pad Si Eu, both of which are tasty and flavourful noodle dishes that definitely weren’t overly oily, which is a plus for me.
The Laksa is a Singaporean curried coconut soup packed with egg noodles, prawns, chicken, tofu, and beansprouts. It is finished with fresh mint and served with a wedge of fresh lime.
The Laksa had a hint too much chilli for me (I am a total chilli lightweight, though), which I felt overpowered the other flavours. But I still enjoyed the dish overall.
The Pad Si Eu is a smokey, wok-fried rice noodle dish with two types of soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, white pepper, leafy greens, egg, and your choice of pork or chicken. I chose chicken.
I really enjoyed the smokey flavour of this dish. When I order Asian noodle dishes, this is pretty much what I want to get: Something that’s deliciously prepared, decent in portion size, and packed with flavour.
What is Beef Rendang?
I avoided trying the Beef Rendang at first because I didn’t quite know what to do with it. I had never had Beef Rendang before and it looked a little odd – and a little dry.
Beef Rendang is an Indonesian beef brisket cooked in a thick, rich, and flavourful coconut curry, finished with a side of cucumber and ginger pickle and steamed Jasmine rice.
Obviously, with the takeaway, everything was in separate containers. So I eventually assembled it all into a little bowl, took a bite – and I was hooked.
This dish’s flavour was phenomenal, with a hint of coconut and a touch of caramelisation and a whole world of happiness.
I’ve since learned that Rendang is considered a dry curry because the sauce is simmered down and sticks to the meat, making every bite you take intensely flavourful. And it’s definitely not dry at all.
Mixed with the pickled salad, which adds that extra oomph to the dish, and the rice, which evens out the intensity of the flavours a bit, this dish was one of the best Asian dishes I have ever had.
Getting More Smokin’ Wok
I’ll add a note here that I don’t live in the southern suburbs and had made special arrangements with Smokin’ Wok to be able to receive a delivery for review purposes.
This is both a good and a bad thing.
On the one hand, it’s the most devastating thing ever because I now know that such goodness exists but I can’t order it as I live outside of the delivery area. But, on the other hand, my bank balance (and my waistline) is enormously grateful, otherwise I’d be ordering this at least once a week.
But if you’re lucky enough to live that side of Cape Town, then I can highly recommend you opt for these guys the next time you’re ordering takeout. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I now do!
Definitely try that beef rendang!!!
Smokin’ Wok Contact Details
You’ll get all the details on Smokin’ Wok below.
Order online: Delivery only for southern suburbs via Mr D and UberEats
Article Date: March 2021
All information correct at the time of publication. We do not accept any liability caused by errors, including, but not limited to, changes in price, menu, opening times, address, or other contact details.
Copyright of text and all images/videos, unless otherwise stated, belongs to I Love Foodies, and may not be used for social media, websites, or any other form of advertising. Images are available at set rates. Please contact us for details.