I was never going to escape this place, being honest with ye.
Situated right above one of, if not my favourite pub ever, it was only a matter of time before I darkened its door.
I remember standing outside Barr An Chaladh in Galway City holding Guinness filled into a plastic cup (ew, but it was Rag Week and if you wanted to go outside, you could forget about bringing your glass with you). I looked up as my eyes tried to balance and see straight again, focusing on the red lightning, I was wondering how I hadn’t clocked eyes on this place before.
I suppose, if I spent less time inside that pub, I’d have spotted it sooner but sure, that’s the way it goes.
Papa Rich is an Asian Street Food Kitchen. If I wrote this story a few years ago, I’d tell you that it’s located in Woodquay in Galway. That fact is still true but it’s only one of four places in the town of the Tribe.
They first opened their doors in Woodquay in December 2015, two months before I got the memo.
They successfully built a reputation of serving top quality Asian Street food at low end prices.
Going in here with a €20 would fill you and a guest up for the evening – fact.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Galway City, it’s not exactly booming with Asian restaurants. They spotted a very big gap in the market and made it their own. They have become so powerful, in fact, that they have begun creating a monopoly in Galway, a first of its kind for the city itself.
Great monopolies are built on hard work, great service but most of all secret recipes that money can’t buy and other places can’t touch. Vegetables, meats herbs and spices are best friend’s of Papa Rich and their originality is what sets them apart from not just the Asian market in Galway but the food market as a whole.
While Galway had accepted Papa Rich as one of the kingpins of the city, the rest of the west stood up and noticed too as it was named Best World Cuisine (Connacht Winner) at the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2018.
On first entry all those years ago, I was intrigued to hear about their ‘Wall Of Flame’, something which they pride themselves on also. The more flames you want added to your food, the hotter it’s going to be. In a way, I kind of ruined my first experience here. I ordered ‘Grandma’s Famous Curry’ which already has six flames in it but being a chancer, I said throw two more in it, “for the craic”.
That craic would soon be dripping down my forehead as my mouth lay somewhere between the Sahara and that one day of really good heat that we get in Ireland.
I managed to devour eight flames which I am proud of but some scores on the board are just daft, like this woman below…
They also did takeaways from their Woodquay base but demand became so big that they were almost forced into opening a second base out towards the Headford Road. So, if you’re ever ordering Papa Rich from any food app, it’s coming from here but don’t worry, it’s still got the exact same great taste, it’s just not above a really great pub is all – maybe that’s for the best for me.
It’s also a handy little spot for those who are on the outskirts of town and want a quick and tasty fix without hopping on the bus. It hold roughly around the same amount as Woodquay
Then, just a couple of hundred metres away from its first HQ, it opened a third shop which is situated in the Born shop on Newtownsmith.
We’re sure many men and women have fallen into the trap of “we’ll go to Papa Rich… and we can have a look in Born before/after it.”
Look, it’s a bargaining technique that wrecks my head but if it means we get to have some Papa Rich somewhere along the way, I’ll accept each time.
The downstairs cafe is a more normal take on the restaurant where your usual breakfasts, burgers and sandwiches will be found but take a trip upstairs and you will uncover an even larger Asian Style Papa Rich than at Woodquay.
All mains are €10 and they don’t hang about with their portions. I remember I once asked for half chips, half rice with whatever I was ordering. I didn’t finish either half fully. They are just monstrosities of plates which you want to complete but know that if you do, your stomach is going to hate you for a period of 2-4 hours.
And honestly, if you wanted to go the whole hog here and order up a three course for you and someone else, you’re looking at just a few euros north of €40.
(Starters, soups and desserts are €5 while salads are around the €7 mark).
And if you think getting two, three course meals for that kind of dollar is nothing to be writing home about, move out of the way because there’s 20 other people already behind you who want to grab a spot in the 35 seater at Woodquay
And you can’t complain about choice as they have Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Singaporean, soul food, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes all on the menu.
Not only is the food the same, perfect standard in each Papa Rich, but the service is just as equal in each establishment. It’s service with a smile even when the place is jam-packed and food is being fired out at five dishes a minute.
And you can expect more of the same, if you choose to head into their fourth store which opened at the end of April.
Situated at the aquarium just off the Prom, it’s going to give each restaurant in the busy, touristy Galway area a run for its money.
We’re just wondering how many stores they have to open in Galway before someone in another part of the country stands up, takes notice and summons them to put up shop in the east, south or north.