In an area of Amsterdam overrun with Thai restaurants, OCHA manages to stand out from the crowd.
It could be because OCHA is not on Zeedijk, the main artery running through Amsterdam’s Chinatown; it could be the prices – mains start at €9.50 for pad thai (fried noodles) and chicken in sweet and sour sauce, and don’t exceed €14.50 for prawn dishes; or it could be the informal atmosphere created by the Thai sisters who run the place.
OCHA's kitchen is partly in the restaurant itself, and the sisters toss orders to each other in sing-song Thai as they squeeze between the sizzling woks and tightly packed tables.
My staple order is OCHA's massaman curry, a mix of chicken, potatoes, peanuts and coconut milk.
The last time I visited, the seating area tucked between the till and front door had been filled with another table. This meant that people waiting for takeaway had to stand in the street - not very gezellig given Amsterdam's weather.
There was some inconsistency in the dishes too. The normally spicy massaman curry was bland, while the green curry was so hot it anaesthetised my mouth. I hope OCHA hasn't become a victim of its own success.
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