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Authentic and Amazing Thai Food at Terrace, Shekou

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Amazing Thai cuisine by terrace

­Since living in Shenzhen, I’ve learned to appreciate a lot of hidden culinary gems around the city. Many times, we look at the popular branded hotels, restaurants, or bars for­ the “Best of the Best” – which is justifiable. But sometimes the “Best of the Best” is hidden in unfamiliar, or unexpected places - or even hidden in plain sight right in front of us. A great example is the Thai food at Terrace in Shekou’s SeaWorld Square.

Terrace opened in December 2005 and ever since has been one of the most popular places for locals and expats to party to live music. But there is a lot more to the Terrace story than just its epic live music party scene.

Jon worked for a leading New York footwear design company in China for several years but grew up with a passion for live music - playing drums in rock bands and organizing professional live music events in university. Leon sang and played keyboards professionally at a five-star hotel bar in Qingdao. During one of Jon’s business trips to Qingdao, the two met, became fast friends, and started dreaming about opening their own live music venue in China. Five years later, Jon and Leon, along with a few other partners, finally rented a location for their live music bar in SeaWorld Square.


Leon singing at Terrace

Since their location included a large kitchen, the topic of food came up. Not experienced in restaurant operations, Leon and Jon offered the kitchen to some Thai friends working at a popular Thai restaurant in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Before agreeing, the Thai operators asked a key question, “Do you want Thai food for farangs (Western foreigners), Thai food for Hong Kong people or Thai food for Thais?” The answer was a resounding “Thai food for Thais!” Delighted with the answer, the new kitchen operators brought in a team of six Thai chefs, tons of imported Thai ingredients, and 100% authentic Thai cuisine to Terrace. Today Terrace is among the most authentic Thai spots in Shenzhen - if not the most. (I haven’t found anything better yet.) 

“Terrace has a lot of notoriety for our live music, but our Thai food is perhaps the best in China. It’s a shame more people don’t know about it” – Jon

There are many Thai restaurants in Shenzhen but what separates Terrace from the rest is Terrace has real Thai chefs in their kitchen and insists on using Thai ingredients imported directly from Thailand. For example, instead of using local white sugar, they use an imported Thai palm sugar; instead of buying bottled lime juice, they import thousands of Thai limes every month. Other imported ingredients include Thai lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime, Thai basil, etc. It makes a big difference when you're wanting something to taste authentic to actually be created using ingredients directly from the country itself. Thai limes, for instance, are necessary to get that distinctive sour flavor in Tom Yum Gong and other Thai soups.

When you think about Thai food in Shenzhen, I'm sure most of you reading this will not think of Terrace as your first thought, but although they have become famous for their music and nightlife, Terrace has a few talented chefs who are dishing out some amazing authentic Thai cuisine. When I first came into Terrace, I (like many others) first noticed the large stage and the wrap around feel of the room and immediately knew that this place was built for events and live music. But after hearing about the chefs from Thailand I had to try a few dishes and verify the hidden hype.

I started with the fresh Thai spring rolls. These delicate wraps are made with finely chopped lettuce, mint, cucumbers, carrots, chicken, and cilantro rolled up in a rice wrapper. What really makes them amazing is the sweet tamarind dipping sauce. I took it easy on the sauce first bite, but afterward was drowning my rolls in it.

 
Thai Spring Rolls 

Next, I tasted a Thai coconut milk soup called “Tom Kha Gai.” This traditional Thai soup is made with coconut milk, chicken, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms and too many Thai herbs to name. It was very delicious but I couldn't figure out what was so delicious about it - the flavor sweet and sour, but there was something else that I haven’t tried before.

Tom Kha Gai 

On to the Thai BBQ squid. This dish is made of squid that has been marinated, grilled, and then sliced into bite-size pieces. If you are into spicy dishes, this one comes with a spicy Thai seafood dipping sauce that you will love. I made the mistake of over dipping and paid the consequences. Fortunately, the squid itself is grilled without a spicy flavor to it, so since I’m a wimp when it comes to spice – I enjoyed eating it without the sauce. After noticing I couldn’t handle the spice level of the authentic Thai dipping sauce, the kitchen was kind enough to whip up a less spicy sauce for me which made the squid even more delicious.


Grilled Squid by Terrace

The “Terrace specialty” is its Thai chili and lemon fish. For this dish, a fresh whole fish is steamed inside of a spicy Thai soup with lemon, chili, and special Thai herbs. The meat is light and tender, and the soup is deliciously sour and spicy.  This was my favorite fish item on the menu.

Thai Chili & Lemon Fish

It couldn't be a Thai experience without a curry and I was excited to try the Thai green curry.  This curry is made only with imported Thai ingredients and comes with your choice of beef, chicken, pork, or tofu and vegetables. I got the tofu and vegetable version and it was fabulous – so for the vegetarian readers, I would recommend this as your main dish.

Thai Green Curry

I finished up with their mango & sticky rice dessert. I must say it was a different experience as I would never think to combine mango with rice but, it was really delicious. This simple dessert is made of fresh mango and sticky rice topped with a reduced sweet coconut milk and crunchy moon beans sprinkles.


Mango Rice Dessert

All and all, this is now my number one pick for Thai food in Shenzhen. Talking with the chef and trying the food, I don't think there is a more authentic experience in the Shekou (or dare I say Futian) area. If you are looking for a great Thai experience, or if you are from Thailand and want to put them to the test – it’s worth your time to stop by. Obviously, Terrace will have live music in the evenings and drink specials but we really need to look past it all and realize they are not just a night scene but an amazing restaurant. If you like this piece, tune in for my next hidden secret about Terrace as there is yet another menu I have yet to dive into with an incredible story.

Average Spend per Head: 120RMB-150RMB

Place Name:露台Lu Tai

Place Address: Seaworld Square, Shekou (above Starbucks) 深圳市南山区蛇口海上世界广场(星巴克二楼)

Place Phone: (0755) 2682-9105

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