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Bai Yok

Diezerpoortenplas 3, Zwolle, 8011, Netherlands

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Bai Yok is a Thai restaurant in Zwolle, open since 2004. It has quite a large dining room, with closely packed tables. The lengthy menu runs through the classic dishes of Thailand. It is run a family-run place, owned by Paul van der Helm and Yaowanuch Arpamo, with the chef Arnon Tiengtrong originating from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

Tom yum goong soup did not have the complexty of the best of the breed, coming across as rather one-dimensional heat rather than a complex blend of spices (11/20). Fishcakes were a little greasy not very spicy (10/20). Sea bass was deep-fried and was decent enough (11/20), and pad Thai noodles had reasonable texture (11/20). Some chicken and beef satay I tried was rather overcooked (10/20). In general the spices seemed very pared back, presumably to fit in with local tastes, but this meant that the dishes were rather bland.

The bill came to €40 (£34) per person, including beer. Service was decent, if rather harried at times. The meal was quite cheap, and certainly the place seemed very popular on the night that we visited, but this was very basic Thai food. From what I can gather from the locals this place is highly thought of in the area, but in London you can find Thai food of this standard or better on virtually any high street. It would not compare well to, say, the chain Busaba Eatthai, never mind the food at a serious Thai restaurant like Patara. In the less competitive climate of Zwolle it clearly does well. 

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