You may have to do a little bit of searching to find it, but for those in search of quick, authentic Thai food, it’s worth it. Located on the second floor of Kona Inn Shopping Village, Kona Taeng-On Thai restaurant is somehow hidden away, while still being in the heart of the action in downtown Kailua-Kona. Located on busy Alii Drive, it’s within driving or walking distance of all the West Coast sites and activities the area has to offer.
The restaurant itself is relatively unassuming. Its entrance is marked by a painted wooden sign that hangs from the ceiling. Inside, diners are greeted by simple, vaulted white ceilings, and a dark green floor. Wooden chairs sit at tables covered with tropical tablecloths. Plants and statues line the walls. One side of the restaurant opens to an open-air, outdoor balcony with tables and chairs overlooking Alii Drive. This is a great spot to people watch and take in the sights from above.
The menu has lots of traditional Thai options divided into several categories. To start, there are appetizers like spring rolls, chicken satay, and fried tofu. There are a few salad options, as well as a range of soups including fan favorites like Tom Yum served with chicken or shrimp, and Thai Dumpling Soup.
When it comes to entrees, there are several meat and vegetable dishes, noodles, fried rice, Thai curries, and many chef’s specials. One thing that makes the menu unique is the ability to customize most dishes to your liking. For example, you can specify the spice level of your meal, choosing from mild, medium or “Thai hot.” Additionally, you can choose the meat in most dishes. Options include chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, calamari, or tofu. Finally, rice is not included with any of the entrees, but you can add a side of jasmine rice, brown rice, or sticky rice for a small additional fee. These customizations allow diners to order exactly what they want, exactly as they want it.
With so many choices, it was impossible to try them all, but here are a few of our favorites:
Fresh Basil Rolls
These made-to-order rolls contain shrimp, cabbage, bean sprouts, fresh Thai basil, and green leaf lettuce. They are accompanied by a side of plum sauce. We loved how the fresh, crisp tastes of the vegetables blended with the cool, sweet sauce.
We hate to sound basic, but you can’t go wrong with Pahd Thai (often spelled Pad Thai), the National Noodle Dish of Thailand. This traditional dish has a base of pan-fried noodles that are mixed with shrimp, chicken, and egg, and topped with peanuts and bean sprouts. There’s a reason this dish is so popular – it’s simply delicious!
This is one of those dishes that you can customize to your liking. The base of the dish is red Thai curry, mixed vegetables, sliced bamboo shoots, fresh Thai basil, and coconut milk. For our protein, we chose shrimp, which blended well with the sauce and vegetables. For spice level, we chose medium, which we found to be just right.
Thai Iced Tea
Be warned, this is not a typical iced tea, and guests expecting that will be surprised when something entirely different is brought to the table. But for those in the know, this is a uniquely delicious drink that’s perfect on a warm Hawaiian day. In this drink, strongly brewed tea is combined with a spice blend, and mixed with sugar and sweetened condensed milk poured over ice. While it’s not for everyone, those who love it swear by it!
If you’re on Alii Drive and looking for a quick and affordable meal, Kona Taeng-On Thai is a nearby and convenient option. We hope you’ll give it a try and let us know what you think!
-Staying nearby? Kona Taeng-On Thai offers takeout, as well as delivery through a third-party service. Stop by and grab some food to bring back to your hotel for dinner, or head over to the beach for a sunset picnic.
-If you’re in the area during the day, stop in for lunch. The restaurant offers super inexpensive lunch specials.
-Parking can be tough in this area, so you may have to park down the block and walk.