New authentic Thai food in Israel

A well-known local culinary phenomenon involves the opening of Thai restaurants by couples, usually resulting from the union of an Israeli marrying a Thai woman. Many of these successful restaurants have been featured on these pages, from the venerable Thai House to the Thai Chu at home.

Now we can add another worthy entry in this category: Onauma, the brainchild of Rubi Hen and his wife from Eisan, a province in northwest Thailand famous for its distinctive cuisine. In the brief history of its existence interrupted by COVID, Onauma has already progressed – thanks to word of mouth recommendations and favorable mentions in Hebrew media – from a stall in Carmel Market to comfortable new premises on a stretch of the coast. Carlebach Street which is slated to become Tel Aviv’s next pedestrian mall.
Onauma is still moving into its new premises and will soon change its opening hours to an evening service only, starting at 6 p.m. It has yet to finalize its liquor menu, which includes cocktails infused with Thai herbs. In the meantime, there are limited selections of Thai beers and Israeli wines.

The English and Hebrew menus aren’t very comprehensive, but there are more than enough tempting choices, with a few rotating dishes and daily specials. There are quite insignificant differences between the layouts in the two languages, the most important of which is the absence of symbols indicating the degrees of spiciness in the English version, as well as the explanation that one can choose from three levels. heat. Fortunately, Rubi speaks enough English to answer all questions.

There are four sections in the English menu: First courses (NIS 36-56), Soups (NIS 55-65), Main courses [rice-based] (NIS 52-68) and main courses [noodle-based] (NIS 56-65). (Curries can be listed in more than one category.) Some vegetarian variations are available on request, but vegan and gluten-free options can be complicated due to the indigenous ingredients in authentic Thai sauces and condiments.


We started our meal with the unknown Eisan delicacy Yam Won Sen, a chicken or shrimp salad with tomato, celery and onion in a dressing made with fish sauce. This mixture relies on a mostly hidden bed of submerged bean noodles, so it’s important to mix the components together. This dish was a bit spicier than you might expect from the icon designating it as the lowest heat level; but this combination of glass noodles, crunchy celery, plump shrimp and hot sauce added to a most auspicious start.

Next was Nam Tok, the cold beef appetizer that’s practically a staple in many Thai restaurants; however, the texture of this version was quite different. Derived from a chef’s family recipe, the sirloin was not served in slices, but in the form of chopped rump steak seasoned with mint, onion, grated and grated rice and fish sauce. Reminiscent of what looks like beef larb in other Thai restaurants, this satisfying dish left a pleasant tingle of heat on the palate.

We were then guided by our host’s enthusiastic recommendation of Chicken Khao Soi, a chewy curry from northern Thailand served in a deep bowl with a small ladle to divide into portions to share. This complex coconut milk curry – flavored with scallions, cilantro and pickled mustard leaves – was chock full of thick wheat noodles and complemented with extra crispy noodles. This extraordinarily filling dish was absolutely delicious and a real challenge, even for two people.

Still, we couldn’t resist trying today’s special: Pad Ped Maung, a wok masterpiece that revolved around pieces of breaded chicken expertly sautéed with red and green peppers al dente and sprinkled with a generous dispersion of cashews, all coated in an addictive sweet and savory sauce made with chili paste and crispy garlic. It was accompanied by a large pile of steamed rice which we couldn’t finish, although there was enough sauce to be absorbed by the white grains.

The dessert was so obvious that it was presented by the chef without reciting any additional options. Now is mango season, which means it’s time for the classic mango with sticky rice. Usually the presentation is pretty straightforward – but here it came with extra mango: not only cut into cubes while still attached to the skin, but peeled and sculpted into the shape of a flower with several petals. Add to that a sweet dune of sticky rice drizzled with an incredible sauce made from imported palm sugar, and we enjoyed the best version of this Thai favorite I’ve known in this country.


Not kosher

15 Carlebach Street, Tel Aviv

Phone. (03) 698-1155

The writer was the guest of the restaurant.

Comments are closed.