If you’re looking for unforgettable ethnic food, head up the street from the Hlemmur bus station to Ban Thai restaurant and all your dreams will come true. I recommend bringing five credit cards and going all in, Icelandic-style. I promise it will be worth the overdraft. If you’re budget-minded, time-pressed, or hung-over, head across the street to Ban Thai’s take-away outpost, Yummi Yummi, and you won’t be disappointed.
This place is a credit to the 105 neighbourhood and a saviour of the masses that can’t bother to boil pasta. I’ve come here for many a quick fix of pad thai in my hour of need. This sticky-sweet concoction offers blessed relief from exam preparation, errand running or stress in general. There’s hardly any need to take a seat on the rickety patio furniture since it takes only a couple of minutes to cook your order from scratch.
The odd signs inside provide light entertainment while you wait: “We don’t serve water—only soda,” “No refund for any reason—if you aren’t used to spicy food, try something milder.” Wise advice, in my opinion. I can see Yoda now: “Too strong for you, these noodles are. Something milder, you must try.” For multiple orders, I like to linger upon this one: “If you are in a hurry then order the same dish, it takes less time and therefore you don’t have to wait as long.” These signs speak the truth, except the one offering Thai iced coffee for 450 ISK—apparently they don’t serve that, either.
Despite months of patronage, I haven’t dared wander further down the menu until now. I took my sister along, who ordered Yummi Spicy Noodles while I settled on the No. 4. Noodle Soup: Tom Yum with shrimp. Within minutes, I received a huge bowl of coral-coloured soup with four fat prawns bobbing at the surface. Its delicate, spicy flavour was not quite as intense or as full-bodied as its counterparts’ across the street at Ban Thai, but for less than half the price, it’s a terrific mouthful for your money. My sister’s noodles were equally delectable, despite the fact that they were served in a Styrofoam box. Less sweet but with more bite than their classic pad thai, this dish could easily become a regular favourite of mine.
All in all, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal for tastier food. The portions are ample, the service is quick and the flavours are pronounced and satisfying. If yummi is what you are looking for, yummi is what you will get. For 1000 ISK, what more could you ask for?
What we think : A quick and tasty remedy for acute hunger
Flavour: Asian fast food
Ambience: A greasy joint, charming only in the broadest sense of the word.
Service: Speedy and satisfactory
Price: All dishes: 1.000 ISK
For 2 (with drinks): 2.500 – 3.000 ISK