I'll admit it. I have an embarrassing, borderline inappropriate obsession with Thai food. I live for all things curry and for me, the spicier the food, the better. A few years ago, I happily ate my way around Thailand on an extended backpacking trip. Nothing tops eating real Thai food in Thailand, but thankfully you can get your fix right here in St. Pete. These restaurants are the best authentic Thai joints in the city: 

Bangkok 9

Bangkok 9, as it's known to locals (its official name is 9 Bangkok Restaurant), is located right downtown St. Petersburg. While the full menu is extensive, with options ranging from sushi to Thai, it's Bangkok 9's lunch specials that are the unabated winner. Served Monday-Saturday 11:00am-2:30pm, the lunch specials come with both soup and a spring roll, and that's before you even get your king-size portion meal.

For only $6.95, diners can choose from 21 different entrées, including curries and noodles with chicken, beef, or tofu (seafood is available for an extra price). My personal recommendation here is the green curry. The spicy sauce is coconut milk-based and served with basil, peas, Chinese Napa cabbage, green beans, and zucchini.

#SpoonTip: Sub the white rice that the lunch special comes with for fried rice. 

Location: 571 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant

Chiang Mai, also near downtown St. Pete, is housed in the food-centric Grand Central District. Don't let the modest dining room and Zen-like atmosphere fool you—the food is to die for. Like Bangkok 9, Chiang Mai also serves sushi and a plethora of rice and noodle dishes, but my favorite item on the menu here is the Tom Kha soup.

I ate Tom Kha every day when I was in Thailand and it's dope. It's Thailand's most famous soup made with coconut milk, fresh lemongrass, mushrooms, onion, galangal (Asian ginger root), and lime juice. Most Thai restaurants only offer one soup size, but Chiang Mai has you covered. They offer a large and believe me, you'll want it. In fact, when I eat here, I get a regular size to eat with my dinner and order a large soup to bring home. Yes, it's that good.

Location: 1100 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

Lanna Thai and Sushi Restaurant

I like to support a variety of local eats when I get cravings for Thai food, but Lanna Thai has been a consistent go-to for me for over three years now. The restaurant is cozy yet spacious, the service is friendly and fast, and the food is the best Thai food I've found in the western hemisphere.

My typical meal here begins with either the veggie spring rolls or the fried tofu with Amazing Sauce (aka peanut sauce, which also happens to actually be amazing.) Then, I get an intermezzo of Tom Kha soup (how can I not?). And for my entrée, I chow on the Pad Thai noodles with tofu (although meat and seafood options are available) and get a large side of Penang Curry sauce to pour on top. The Penang Curry is a cross between peanut sauce and curry, cooked with coconut milk and spices. For me, it's crack. If it wasn't so taboo, I'd probably drink it with a straw. Seriously, order it. Come hungry to Lanna Thai because the portions are ginormous!

Location: 4871 Park St. N, St. Petersburg

Rest assured, your leftovers from any of these restaurants will be just as tasty the next day, too!