The long-awaited second location of Portland’s beloved Southern Thai restaurant finally opens next week. Hat Yai, coming to SE Belmont Tuesday, June 11, will be a bit of a departure from the original Northeast Portland restaurant, with everything from spicy cured mussels to shrimp paste curry with fresh bamboo.
Hat Yai, Earl Ninsom’s casual Thai restaurant, is a stalwart on Portland’s 38 essential restaurants for dishes like shallot fried chicken, Malayu-style curry, and blisteringly spicy ground pork salad, but Ninsom says he wants the new restaurant to feel distinct. The restaurant will have a number of new dishes, including more seafood and lighter fare (as he promised last year).
Ninsom wanted to bring back favorites from Southern Thailand he struggles to find in Portland, including a shrimp paste and curry dish with fresh bamboo. “It’s one of the famous dishes in Hat Yai city,” he says. “I had it there and I thought, ‘We need to put this on the menu. People can tell us that it sucks and we’ll take it off, but hopefully people like it.’”
Because the restaurant is opening as summer arrives, Ninsom’s opening menu will also include a few chilled soups, including a chilled kanom jeen with fish balls and a chilled turmeric soup. The restaurant will also include a few back-pocket favorites of Ninsom’s, including a cured mussel dish that debuted at his renowned Thai tasting menu spot Langbaan, complete with spicy herbs and the fermenting liquid.
Down the line, Hat Yai’s second location may begin doing table service and offering some imported-charcoal-cooked fare, but for now, Portland should expect the same counter-service-style dining spotted at the original Northeast Portland restaurant. Hat Yai 2.0 is located at 605 SE Belmont Street.
• Hat Yai [Official]
• Hat Yai 2.0 Will Have Vegetables, Table Service, and Elbow Room [EPDX]
• All previous Hat Yai coverage [EPDX]