Popular Thai restaurant Sticky Rice announces soft opening at Yas Mall

The brand began as a six-table, hole-in-the-wall eatery in Jumeirah Village Circle

Sticky Rice is located on the first floor of Yas Mall. Photo: Instagram / Sticky Rice
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Popular Dubai Thai restaurant Sticky Rice has announced it will have its Abu Dhabi soft opening on Sunday at Yas Mall.

A social media post has revealed the restaurant, which is located on the first floor, will be open at 7pm for dinner. It has also shared a sneak peek into what the venue looks like, including how its famous duck mascot Kew (a playful reference to the Thai pronunciation of “cute”) has made its way to the emirate with walls and shelves decorated with it.

“Beautiful people of Abu Dhabi! The time has finally come! Our soft opening at @yasmallad will be tonight (23/4/23) at 7pm for dinner! We kindly ask for your patience with us for the next few days as we adjust to our new space but we will do our best to give you all a true Sticky Rice Bona Fide Thai experience,” the Instagram post says.

“There will be a lot for you to be excited about as you explore our new shop and menu items that we will slowly roll out. But what awaits you tonight is our new Thai Roti Theater ready to pump out some extremely delicious Thai Stuffed Rotis with fillings of banana with condensed milk and Nutella!

“Straight from the streets of Bangkok and a humble little shop in JVC to Abu Dhabi! We can’t wait to share Mama’s food with you all tonight! As always, thank you for all your love, patience, support, and believing in us. Much love from Mama and the Sticky Rice Family!

Popular food dishes at the restaurant include the mango sticky rice with coconut milk ice cream, spicy tom yum soup and pad Thai noodles.

The brand, which has its original branch in Jumeirah Village Circle, said opening in Abu Dhabi was a dream of its owner Amena Rakkuson, lovingly known as “Mama” among patrons, who died of Covid-19-related complications in 2021.

In December, Huna Yas, a 800-seat food hall with restaurants such as BB Social Dining, Saigon and Habib Beirut opened at Yas Mall as part of its rebranding. The space spans more than 3,500 square metres and includes an outdoor dining terrace and co-working space.

The story of Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice was a passion project for Rakkuson and her son, Mo Abedin, whose father is Emirati. Abedin was born in Bangkok, where he lived and worked, before he returned to the UAE with his family.

Abedin's mother fed Dubai’s Thai community for 20 years.

Rakkuson began working out of the family kitchen and delivered meals across the city, sometimes driving for up to six hours a day to feed people who craved a taste of Thailand.

She had a base of 200 regular customers, who would order everything from the spicy tom yum soup and pad Thai noodles to other traditional dishes that take up to eight hours to make, she told The National in 2019.

Rakkuson, who made meals for her family from the age of nine, said it was always her dream to have her own restaurant.

Self-taught, she read everything she could get her hands on, and would go around the street markets of Bangkok asking how things were made, often being shooed away by busy traders, but still learning about the ingredients and methodology for the craft that would become her calling.

Updated: April 23, 2023, 12:07 PM