Words by: Sama Nasheed
Photography by: The Dragon Café
The Dragon Café burst into the social media scene and established a fierce online presence, leaving us looking forward to the day they would open their doors to the public. With a sharp wit and sassy comebacks, the Twitter handle of The Dragon Café built up the hype within the Twitter community and maintained a strong presence on other social mediums as well. When I met Akeed for the interview, I could finally put a face to the sass, as equally amusing in real life, as he is when managing social media.
The Dragon Café first opened in Malé City in 1989 near our beloved Raalhugandu area, the first Thai restaurant to open in the Maldives. The café is the by-product of two friends who share the love of Thai food. When studying in Thailand, Akeed’s father, Ahmed, developed a strong affinity for their dishes and when he arrived back in Maldives and met Nitas, a Thai resident living in Malé City, their mutual love for Thai cuisine led to the need to introduce it to Maldivians.
The Café first operated in Malé City from 1989 to 1994 and began making their own sauces and serving authentic Thai cuisine to locals. Their dishes were served on white plates with a hand painted blue design and when the Café opened its doors again on 1st August 2018, the same pattern can be found on their current serving plates as well.
Once our interview was complete, a friend joined me to review some of their dishes and we scrolled through the menu, excited to try some genuine Thai food. We ordered the Chicken Fried Rice, Beef Red Curry, Thai Omelette and Papaya Salad, all of which proved to be absolutely delicious, no exaggeration. With ingredients sourced directly from Thailand, the dishes taste exactly the way they should, as flavoursome as they taste in Thailand itself.
My friend ordered the Iced Thai Tea, a Thai brew made of local spices that gives off a distinct aroma and taste. I ordered an Orange Juice which was as refreshing as it was delicious, and afterward, some chilled water, which is distilled on site with their own distillation plant. The café is an eco-conscious establishment that serves its water in glass bottles and provides biodegradable straws with their drinks and also biodegradable takeaway packages.
The café is currently open for lunch and dinner only but will soon keep their doors open from lunch onwards till midnight, and Akeed is excited to introduce Thai teatime treats to their customers. Located in the remodelled harbour food court area, a brilliant location owing to the abundance of government and private offices and the state hospital, the café is a quaint space with the mighty dragon head overlooking its domain.