It was our second time at Lil Thai Cafe, formerly Go Thai Bistro, and we finally thought to take photos.
I guess that already sums up our experience at this little restaurant in Lipa City, nestled behind Big Ben Complex. The food is so good, you’d find it hard to remember to document what you’re having. Now, you forget to take photos but you won’t forget the taste of the food.
I can’t vouch for the authenticity of how the food tastes because I’ve never tasted authentic Thai food before, but I grew up with a lot of great home cooks enough to know when something is delicious, properly seasoned, and just plain good.
The ambienceBefore we delve into the food, let’s talk just a bit about the place. While I’m not the type to only want to be somewhere fancy, I do appreciate good design. Go Thai Bistro is quite small, but the minimalist yet zen design of the place makes it feel cool and airy. Nothing about it screams “I’m so Thai”, which I appreciate (a.ka. it’s thankfully not tacky). There are a few art pieces that give a nod to the culture.
What Lil Thai Cafe offers
On our first trip, my husband and I ordered their Green Curry with Rice (Php149), Char Siew Pork with Rice (Php129) and Mango Sticky Rice (Php125).
On our second visit, we took my mother and sister with us. My mom ordered the Char Siew ‘cos she’s not a fan of spicy food, while my sister got Pad Thai (Php159). Meanwhile, I had the Green Curry and my husband got the Tom Yum (Php139) since he’s sworn off rice since the last time we visited.
I already knew how the green curry tasted because I took a couple of bites from my husband’s plate the last time we went — that’s why I ordered it actually — and it was exactly how rich in spice and hearty as I remembered it to be. A word of warning: it’s hot. But the heat is not too much that you can’t taste the coconut base of the curry. The only thing I didn’t like about the dish is it didn’t have a lot of meat in it. Now, don’t get me wrong, the sauce can stand on its own, but more meat would have been great.
I asked my husband to describe the Tom Yum, but he couldn’t recall how it tasted anymore — only that it was good. I imagine it to be a bit similar to our sinigang but with a hint of spice and lemongrass (which makes the flavor story entirely different).
The Char Siew reminded me a bit of Chinese asado but with a more charred taste and a sauce that’s a bit stickier.
Now, the Pad Thai. I’ve only tried Pad Thai once before and I recall it being underwhelming. Go Thai Bistro changed that for me. I took a bite from my sister’s plate and just had to order my own. Yes, even though I’ve already finished my own meal. (To be fair, I did share it with my husband, who liked it as much as I did.) The dish had different layers of flavors. It had the right amount of saltiness and taste of seafood; there was a nice sweetness; it was spicy but not overly so; the lime gave it just the right amount of tanginess — a zing, if you will.
We capped the experience off with a serving of mango sticky rice. It’s as straightforward as you’d expect. It’s not as sweet as some might like, but it was just right for me. The texture of the ripe mango and the stickiness of the rice were delightful. The touch of salt in the rice also complemented the sweetness of the mango. The coconut sauce rounded the taste up.
If you ever find yourself in Lipa, you must pay them a visit.
How to go to Lil Thai CafeIf you’re coming from Metro Manila and will not take a private vehicle, ride any bus that goes to Lipa. Alight at the bus stop, which is across Big Ben. Cross to the other side of the road — using the overpass, please and thank you — and go to the back of Big Ben. It’s the second stall from the left.
Jorj is an editor by profession, a b/vlogger on weekends, and a wife to Yop and mom to Cadence always. She's powered by curiosity and is in the process of becoming her best self.