Restaurant Review: Nok Nok Thai Eating House

About a month ago some friends and I went to check out the new Darling Quarter on its opening day. It was quite a dreary rainy day but nothing comes between a bunch of girls and new restaurants and cool children's playground equipment. Sadly the playground equipment was wet and was dominated by children much smaller than us so we explored the restaurants.

All the restaurants in Darling Quarter had lovely interior designs and it was so hard to pick which to eat at! We settled for Nok Nok for its crisp white interior (but mostly for its mains priced at <$20).

So clean and pretty!

Nok Nok does dine in and takeaway. The menu is quite extensive with over 70 items! What's also great is they indicate how spicy their food is. And specify if the dish is spicy or just the sauce. They also offer substitutes if you can't handle to heat which I think is mighty sweet of them. There were 7 vegetarian options. We had a really hard time deciding what to eat and decided to order a number of things. A little too much I have to say....

Mixed starter plate $15.90

This had 2 pieces each of: gai haw bai toey (baked chicken wrapped in pandan leaf), fish cake, chicken satay, ka nom jeeb (steamed pork and prawn wonton) and spring rolls.

The pandan wrapped chicken was quite interesting and I never say no to satay sticks but otherwise there wasn't much out of the ordinary. What I love about the entree dishes is there was quite a few to choose from, and there were quite a few healthy dishes. What I find with Thai restaurants is there is often too much fried foods. At Nok Nok there were quite a few grilled, baked and steamed entree options which is refreshing to see.

Tum Mamuang: Green mango salad $12.90

I love mangoes (Yes it's mango season right now) and this salad is no exception. It was divine! Nok Nok had 8 salads to choose from and from the names they all seem like good healthy choices. Salads are great to have when it's hot and you just want something light. As you can see they're of a decent size and won't make you look like a rabbit munching on green leaves.

After the entree and salad one of my friends already declared she was full! But there were still mains to come!

Guay Teow Kua Gai: Bangkok's Chinatown favourite. Stir fried thick rice noodle with chicken,egg, calamari, lettuce and light soy sauce. Served with sriracha chilli sauce. %14.90

This is the dish I chose and I had made a bad decision nutrition wise! This dish was very low on veggies as you can see from the lack of colour. They did offer a generous amount of chicken and calamari and the noodles were of a lovely texture but I found the dish too salty.

This is a dish which I forgot the name of... I remember it was duck in soup... and I see bean sprouts.

I think this was Chicken Pad Si-Ewe: Fried thick rice noodle with chicken, egg, Chinese broccoli in sweet double soy sauce.

If you're looking for fried noodles this would be a much better choice with the addition of Chinese broccoli.

After lunch we were quite stuffed and took a long walk around Darling Harbour before going to Lindt cafe for some dessert hehe.

As a dietitian I'm not big on depriving myself of wonderful food. Often when I eat out I order the food that appeals to me the most which might not necessarily be the healthiest option. Of course home made food is often healthier so by choosing to eat out I am already stepping into a mine of unhealthy options.

A lot of the time a restaurant meal may not be something planned. A birthday dinner, business lunch or family get together might seem to get in the way of good eating habits but it should be part of it! I find people often deprive themselves too much during a diet and when a restaurant meal comes up they over eat. This often leads to feelings of guilt and self blame afterwards which lends itself to emotional eating. As a result the weight does not budge and often a dieter can feel like they've failed at their diet again. They might even vow to try again the next week.

Does this sound familiar? Maybe my example is a bit extreme but it's a common thought process. It sounds like a vicious cycle but it can be broken. It's important to remember portion control at your restaurant meal and not to treat it like a buffet (which is probably a bad choice if you're watching your weight). As well as this remember to resume healthy eating habits after the meal and not feel like your diet is sabotaged.

If you find yourself eating out a lot it might be wise to choose your meals carefully. Thai food for example have many healthy and unhealthy options.

Healthy Thai Food Options

  • Choose the salads. Thai salads as well as a lot of their other dishes are full of antioxidant rich herbs and spices
  • Avoid dishes with coconut oil and milk. Coconut oil/milk is high in saturated fat. This is the type of fat that raises your cholesterol and causes plaque in your arteries. There is a lot of controversy about the use of coconut oil/milk but the National Heart Foundation and American heart Association still recommends limiting their consumption. This is a large topic that I will not discuss this time. 
  • When choosing soups pick clear broths eg. Tom Yum. Thick creamy soups often contain coconut oil/milk 
  • Choose foods that are grilled, boiled or steamed
  • Avoid curries as they contain high fat coconut milk
  • Thai food can often be rich in vegetables. Take advantage of this and order dishes with lots of vegetables 
  • Choose stir fries as they often come with lean meats and lots of vegetables. They are also less likely to be in a rich sauce. I found that although my dish had light soy it was still far too salty for my liking. 
  • Choose brown rice instead of white or sticky rice for an extra boost of fibre
  • Choose entree sized meals or share with a friend. Thai food is best enjoyed shared!
Please excuse the long absence! I've been tirelessly working at placement which is where all my nutrition knowledge has been channeled towards! But don't fret 1 more week left and I will have (unofficially until May next year) graduated! Yes that's right a full fledged qualified dietitian. Hehe.


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The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.

I make every effort to ensure information on Nutrition with Wendy is correct and up to date however nutrition is an evolving field and discrepancies can arise. If the information here appears incorrect or out of date please let me know and I will do my best to update my posts.