Summer is absolutely fantastic in Denmark. Especially on a sunny day. So we decided to go for a spontaneous road trip to the resort town of Karrebæksminde on the south-western tip of Zealand. With sunny weather, blue skies and a fresh sea breeze, enjoying Thai food by the beach made us feel like being in Hua Hin or Phuket.
Karrebæksminde is a summer holiday destination near the merchant town of Næstved — located in a region that sees the third-highest concentration of Thai people in Denmark. From Copenhagen, it takes about one and half hours to get to Karrebæksminde by car. During the summer period the town is fully packed with people, mostly Danes, spending a couple of weeks or days with their families. Yet, there are also explorers, like us, coming for a day trip to visit unseen Denmark.
We arrived around 2 p.m. and looked for a comfort food in the area. And as we were cruising along the wharf, we spotted Restaurant Ban Chang, neatly decorated with Danish and Thai flags. As a tourist, you would not expect to see an Asian restaurant in the middle of a summer holiday destination where Starbucks or McDonald’s does not even exist. So this was a surprise. Albeit a pleasant one.
We walked in with looks of skepticism and asked a young waiter for the menu. He handed us the menu with a smile on his Thai face. And as he took our orders in Danish, he apologised for his lack of ability to speak Thai fluently, since he hadn’t really been speaking Thai regularly since arriving in Denmark with his mom at age 8. We didn’t bother though. What he might have lacked in terms of language, he made up for with plenty of sanook.
While we were waiting for our food, the restaurant owner came to our table and started chatting. He told us that he had done the renovations on the restaurant himself while his Thai wife in charge of the kitchen and the hospitality side of things.
Even if they had only been in business for two months, they already had loads of customers from the local area. As the owner jokingly suggested: “People coming here the spend two weeks, probably get bored of pizza and rye bread”.
From his Danish business mindset, Thai food offers a good alternative. You can get a meal with fresh veggies and meat at a reasonable price. And if you take our word for it, even with this being the only Thai restaurant in the area, based on the meals we had, they are well served in Karrebæksminde.