Meet Paul Ambrose, Founder of KraPOW

2023-03-10

Starting off as a street food outfit, selling its bold and playful Thai dishes across the capital , KraPOW have set up shop in several London pubs as well as at Amazing Grace.

Shining a light on the lesser known dishes heralding from northern Thailand, we chatted to founder Paul about his love of Thai food, KraPOW’s expansion and what’s next:

If people aren't familiar with KraPOW, what can they expect?

Thai street food classics with our own unique twist.

What initially drew you to Thai food?

One of my best friends lives in Chiang Mai, so naturally I visit frequently. Over the years I grew increasingly frustrated at not being able to find the same dishes in London, so I started to cook them for myself. It initially started as a hobby, trading out of a market stall at weekends and it has grown from there.

Is the menu inspired by a particular region in Thailand?

Absolutely! Most of the inspiration for our menu comes from my time in Chiang Mai. I’ve travelled all over Thailand but the food in Chiang Mai stands out for me. The north borders with Myanmar and Laos which both have heavy influences; dishes such as Khao Soi and Sai Oua originate from here. Even the dish the company is named after, Pad Kaprow, is most found as minced pork in Chiang Mai as opposed to minced or sliced chicken elsewhere.

What's your favourite item from the menu?

It depends on the situation but Gai Yang with sticky rice and nam jim is great, but it’s difficult to look past Pad Kaprow, especially on a hangover! 

How does your offering differ from other Thai restaurants in London?

We try to avoid the more well known dishes in favour of showcasing ones that you would actually find on the streets of Chiang Mai. For example, we don’t sell pad Thai, green curry or fish cakes. 

What is it about Thai flavours that really excite you?

The vibrancy of the fresh ingredients and the complexity of the flavours; the way that each meal is about balancing sweet, sour, salt and spice.

What's been your biggest learnings since founding KraPOW?

Every day is a school day. I started out as a self taught home cook with a passion for Thai food but to trade at festivals you end up being part plumber, part electrician and part builder. I’ve learnt how to run a professional kitchen capable of turning out hundreds of covers in a sitting and at festivals we cater for thousands of people per day. Before I started the business the most people I’d cooked for in one go was Christmas dinner for 8! 

What's the future plans for KraPOW?

We are thrilled to be working with Amazing Grace and are looking forward to adding a new menu early this year with more of a restaurant focus. I’m hoping that we get the opportunity to go back to the streets and feature at more festivals this summer too.

Can't wait to try krapow's amazing food?

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