Thai Snack

Check out the Thai food at Doha's best budget restaurant Reviews

© ITP Images
  • Picture 1 of 2

Thai Snack is one of those hidden gems anyone who has been here more than a few months should know about. With no sign (correction: there is a faded, A4 sheet of paper that someone with a laser printer has used to create a barely-there advertisement for the restaurant) and tucked away next to a discreet-looking row of shops, it’s been described by newly arrived friends as ‘the gaping florescent lighted vortex to hell’. That is, of course, until they taste the food.

When we turn up it’s a quiet weekday night, but the place is already packed, with people even braving the sweltering heat to sit in the garden. It’s a seat-yourself arrangement, and if it weren’t for the steady flow of people arriving to pick up takeaway orders, we’d think we’d wandered accidentally into someone’s cluttered front garden, where they’d forgotten to pack away the Christmas lights from December.

Once we’ve found a table inside (the second in a row of adjoining rooms, linked together by bizarre tourist posters for Thailand, plastic foldaway tables and economy-sized boxes of tissue), a menu the size of a Grade 7 math textbook is dropped in front of us, with page after page of laminated photos of food, carefully numbered.

After placing an order that sounded like the Count from Sesame Street after a bout of amnesia (‘We’ll have a one, a 17, a 34 etc’), we settle in for a wait, not expecting much. Our numerical odyssey translates into one order of dumplings, the sa la pao and vegetable egg rolls to start. We don’t have long to wait before the first dishes hit the table, however.

At which point we promptly want to eat our misconceptions and the plates they came on – the food, although presented on mismatched, chipped dollar-store-quality kitchenware, is scrumptious. The dumplings are
soft and stuffed with a tangy filling, coated with a sweet sauce without feeling soggy, and overflow their wicker bowl. The vegetable egg rolls may just be the best we’ve had in the city: stuffed to bursting, they’re lightly fried without being too greasy, flaky or soggy. Dunked into the spicy chilli sauce we ask for on the side, they are fantastic and moreish.

While my dining companion avails herself of the rolls, I turn my attention to the tower that is sa la pao – three woven boxes, connected one on top of the other, each holding a mound of fluffy white dough wrapped around a meaty filling. They don’t look like much, but once you cut into them, the smell hits you in a waft of steam. The rolls are soft and moist, and tangy with a slight spicy kick that’s easily muted by the dough – perfect for someone who’s a little Thai-spicy shy. Moreover, the chefs have nailed the proportions: just the right amount of filling-to-dough ratio. Just beware the thin circular piece of paper on the bottom of each – it’s disconcerting to discover a half-eaten sheet in your meal.

We’ve barely made a dent in our appetisers when the mains arrive – rice, spicy beef with basil leaf, and pad Thai chicken. Again, the dishes are slung onto the table in mismatched floral bowls, and we are left to sort out spoons and forks for serving from the metal utensil box helpfully left to the side. But once we bite into the food, we stop caring about presentation or ambiance – although we are having a hard time tuning out the odd cutout of someone we’re sure is very famous in Thailand stuck to the wall.

The spicy beef with basil leaf is way more than the menu description led us to believe (although how many assumptions we can make based on numbers and a photo that made it look like a fish dish we’re not sure). It’s sharp with a burning sensation all the way down, without making us just taste pain, and spiced perfectly – not too hot, with delicious flavours lurking in the sauce.

But it’s the pad Thai that really stands out. Thick noodles wrapped around chunks of chicken and vegetables, with just the right amount of oil to make them go down smoothly without making me need to wipe my face afterwards – I barely restrain myself from licking the bowl, and even then it’s only because I’m stuffed and there is still more than enough food left on the table for lunch the next day.

So what have we learned? Just because a restaurant feels the need to decorate with stuffed parrots and Christmas lights doesn’t mean it can’t kick the culinary behinds of many of the best restaurants in Doha. And we need more of that pad Thai.

The bill (for two)
1x Dumplings QR20
1x Sa la pao QR9
1x Vegetable egg roll QR9
2x Plain rice QR10
1x Beef spicy basil leaf QR20
1x Pad Thai chicken QR15
1x Thai ice tea QR5
1x Large water QR2
1x 7up QR4
Total (incl charges) QR94

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Nasr, Doha
  • Tel: 4432 9704
  • Travel: Al Nasr Street
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Times: Open daily 10.30am-2.30pm, 5pm-11pm
  • Price: QR50-200
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

Is this your establishment? Want to update any details? Please send your updates here.

Thai Snack On The Map

User reviews:

Posted by: Matthew on 27 Feb ' 11 at 20:25

This restaurant is excellent, good food and good value, but one word of warning, if you pay by credit card then the meal will appear as Thai Massage on your statement. This can take some explaiing at home or on your company expenses. You card may also be refused if your credit company blocks transactions with certain key words.

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to weekender newsletter



Explore by

Most viewed restaurants

  1. Le Paradis DeLord
  2. Sizzle
  3. Smat
All reviews

Our favourite features