Recon: I don’t hear a great deal about Thai food but it has always intrigued me. As a lover of all things food show, every once in a while I’ll catch an authentic Thai recipe, and the sheer number of ingredients just floors me. To me, Thai food seemed to be a form of cooking that is chock-full of layers of flavors and consistencies. Also, I’ve most often seen it paired with other Asian fare which I’m a big fan of, so I thought it would be the perfect beginner bold bite for me to take.
The problem, though, with wanting to go on this adventure is that it’s often difficult to find someone to come along for the ride. Most of my friends are, how should I put this nicely? – quite picky. Luckily for me, I do have one fabulous and adventurous friend who is often up for a culinary challenge. So I placed her in charge of finding the best possible Thai restaurant in the area or in driving distance. Seeing as we are not living in a major metropolitan area where many different cultures live as one, new and exciting food is quite hard to find. (I can’t even imagine how difficult it will be to find Borscht…) Though, this time we were in luck and found a small place not too far from home that received excellent reviews on Yelp. So off we went into the wild Thai yonder.
Rations: When walking on the wild side, I like to order lots of small dishes to get the full effect of the cuisine. Luckily my partner in crime agreed with this mantra. As a starter, she talked me into trying Thai Sweet Tea. I’m a big fan of tea in general but not so much of sweet tea. Though, according to my own personal rule, she offered so I had to accept. I was a little leery when it came to the table red and murky, but I’m told it’s supposed to look like that because of the type of tea that’s used and the milk that’s added. While I’m sure that many people enjoy the flavor, it was most definitely not to my liking. It was too sweet and had a very different flavor than the black tea that I’m accustomed to. At this point, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic about my new found adventures but I soldiered on.
For appetizers, we ordered spring rolls which were stuffed with shrimp and vegetables and fried candy. I’ve of course had spring rolls before but never with shrimp, so that was a pleasant surprise. The fried candy was something entirely new. The candy consisted of small wrappers chock full of “assorted meat”, then twisted at each end to look like candy wrappers, deep fried and served with sweet chili sauce. I was in the minority, but I thought they were quite yummy. I have no idea if this is a traditional Thai dish or just something this chef created but it counted as a win in my book. I had a few vague thoughts of what the “assorted meat” contained inside actually was, but I let them pass and chose to enjoy rather than to decipher.
By this time we were ready for the main courses. As a rule, we always order two different meals so that we can both snitch off the other’s plate. She ordered a Chicken Curry while I ordered Beef Drunken Noodles. Curry has been on my list to try for a while, so I was ready and willing to give hers a shot (though still too skittish to order it myself). She admitted that it wasn’t the best she’s ever had, but I thought it was quite good. It was very different than I had expected but had good flavor. Even though I enjoyed the curry, I was much happier with my drunken noodles. I had originally asked for mild since I’m a wimp and the menu described them as “spicy.” While not mild in any sense of the word, they were to die for! The beef was tender and the sauce was full of all sorts of flavors. They darn near burned my mouth off (I have no idea how one would eat them spciy if these were in fact mild!) but I would most definitely order them again.
Last up, the best part of every meal (at least in my book!) was the dessert. We chose to share, since we were a little stuffed at this point, the coconut sticky rice. I knew a little of what to expect as an ardent watcher of Top Chef but I never expected something so simple to be this delicious. The warm sticky rice was served with cold coconut flan which I don’t think is traditional. However the combination of the two made for a completely perfect bite. I could have licked the plate clean if that wasn’t frowned upon in civilized society…
Review: I’d have to say my first adventure into Thai food was quite positive. I’m ready to add it to the yum list (aside from the misstep of the strange red tea…) In addition to what I ordered, there were quite a few things on the menu that I’d love to try on my next trip, which can always be counted as a good sign. All in all, an enjoyable starter for my culinary trip: Thai food gets ticked off the list and I’ve added another possibility to my ever growing list to choose from when deciding where on earth to get a bite to eat!
Reveal: Next up – Indian.
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