Sweet, fresh, spicy: How to make classic prawn rolls with Thaikhun

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Sal Taylor, assistant business manager and head chef at Thaikhun at the Metrocentre in Gateshead, is originally from Thailand, but has been a proud resident of Newcastle for almost three decades after moving to the UK with her family when she was nine years old.

Combining her expert knowledge of Thai cuisine with a passionate understanding of what Thaikhun customers want, she explains how to make classic fresh prawn rolls, a simple and summery dish that manages to feature all the key elements of Thai cookery: freshness, texture, taste and colour.

“The prawn rolls are very simple to make, but the taste is absolutely amazing,” she says. “You have all the herbs that are in there – the coriander and the basil – plus dips that go with it, a sweet chilli sauce with a reduced vinaigrette-type sauce and peanuts. It’s got the spices, the sweet, the fresh vegetables, and the tartness, the key four flavours in Thai cooking.”

The classic Pad Thai, which is often described as the national dish of Thailand, is the group’s unsurprising bestseller, but even this can be reimagined as more than just noodles, says Taylor (who previously founded her own street food company in 2013, the Tasty Thai Deli before moving to Thaikhun).

“The flavours are so delicate and tasty, and uses a sauce that our owner Kim [Kaewkraikhot, Thai wife of Thai Leisure Group co-founder Martin Stead] has developed herself. Everyone loves it.”

“I run this restaurant like it’s my own personal restaurant,” she says. “It’s clichéd, but we really do respect Kim and the owners, and it’s like running a family restaurant. The food is fresh, clean, happy Thai street food, and we aim to bring the feel of Thailand to England from the moment people walk through the door.”   

Thaikhun is part of the Thai Leisure Group, which was founded by Martin Stead and Kim Kaewkraikhot in 2005.  

The brand now runs to ten sites across the country, including in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Cambridge, Bath, and Southampton, with plans to expand significantly over the next three years.  

It is the casual, street-food arm of the TLG, whose brands also include the finer-dining Chaophraya concept and two ChaoBaby buffet sites.


With dishes come drinks: Watch this space out for a cocktail demo video from the head bartender at Chaophraya Newcastle soon!

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