Tag Archives: thai

Saap (Randolph, Vermont)

While I rather enjoy many of the towns of central Vermont (Randolph, Bethel, and Northfield, for example), we don’t usually get to do much culinary exploration of them simply since we’re on our way someplace, like hiking or hitting up an event in Montpelier or Burlington. But we did make a special point to go back to Randolph and try one of the area’s better Thai places: Saap. Located on the eastern side of Randolph as you are entering a fairly industrial area, Saap is nestled into the first floor of a converted large house, it’s a friendly location with a nice patio. It isn’t the sort of place you’ll likely just happen upon, but since they opened a few years ago and have focused heavily on Northern Thai cuisine, I’d gotten more than a bit of a word of mouth advertising.

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Mi Sen Noodle Bar (Portland, Maine)

I rather like a good trip to Portland, Maine, especially since Portland has managed to cultivate quite a beer and food scene, with everything from a good Belgian beer bar, to a good regional pizza chain, to potato donuts, to even Asian fare like dumplings. So when we were looking for a nice variation on our usual joints, we decided to try Mi Sen Noodle Bar, a relative newcomer on the Portland scene (opened in 2013).

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Royal Orchid (Montpelier, VT)

As I’ve often complained here, my little corner of VT and NH suffers from a lack of good ethnic cuisine. One of the more obviously lacking cuisines is Thai. Our area basically doesn’t have many Thai restaurants, and the few we have are generally pretty dismal, so Thai food is one of those things we generally reserve for our trips to other places. But luckily, we don’t have to go all that far (in the grand scale of things) to find some good Thai. Siam Orchid in Concord is pretty decent (sadly, they used to have a location in Manchester as well). But another discovery of ours a few years ago was that a few blocks outside of Montpelier, VT likes another good Thai place, Royal Orchid.

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Newdlez Pad Thai (Tachbrook Market, Pimlico, London, UK)

As I mentioned in my recent review of Veg As You Go, the street outside my brother’s flat is now home to the fairly busy Tachbrook Street Market, with coffee vendors, fruit and veg vendors, and quite a few food stands. One of the better ones is Pad Thai, a vendor of, well, Newdlez Pad Thai, and the usually are sporting a 30 minute queue for food. But this time, we happened across them on a particularly rainy day, and were able to take advantage of the shorter lines due to the poor weather. Being a street vendor, Pad Thai doesn’t have a huge menu. The main courses are basically Pad Thai (six varieties, including chicken, shrimp, veggies, and related varieties) and Thai curries (yellow, red, green, and panaeng), as well as a few other noodle dishes. They’ve also got a variety of starters.

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Siri’s Chef Secret (Greenbelt, MD)

One of the unwritten rules amongst most of my coworkers that travel a lot is that you shouldn’t waste a business trip meal eating someplace we could eat back at home. So that usually means seeking out at least one of the ethnic cuisines that aren’t well represented in our neck of the woods, in this case, several of us knew of a decent Thai place down the road from NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, MD: the oddly-named Siri’s Chef’s Secret. Siri’s describes themselves as “Thai and American Food”, but with the exception of the dessert menu, most of the menu is straightforward Thai dishes, with just enough American food that if you brought a group and one person wasn’t comfortable with Thai food, they’d be happy. But they’ve got most of the major dishes I look for, including Tom Yum and Tom Kha soups, several rice dishes, basil dishes, and noodle dishes, served up with levels of spice ranging from mild to truly spicy (also a pleasant departure from the generally light spicing of Northern New England).

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Krua Siam (Akureyri, Iceland)

After a second loooong day of driving (400+ km, or over 250 miles), we arrived in the late evening in Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city, located on the west side of Eyjafjörður fjord on the north coast. We were hungry, and we ended up at Krua Siam. Something that surprised me with Iceland was that it has a substantial Thai population, and way more Thai restaurants than you’d think. But Iceland also has some very good lamb and beef, so we figured it would be nice to check out one of Iceland’s many Thai places when the opportunity presented itself. In Akureyri, we finally had a good opportunity, since Krua Siam was right by our hotel. Nestled into a wooden building right next to the central intersection in Akureyri, Krua Siam is obviously a popular spot; it was completely packec when we visited. And they’ve got a very complete Thai menu as well, with dishing ranging from soups and eggrolls, to classic cold Thai salads, to hot stir fried curry dishes, to noodle dishes. It didn’t take us long to come up with a reasonable set of selections: Tom Kha Kai (chicken coconut soup), followed by Yam Nua (spicy cold beef salad) and Pad Kva (spicy curry, which we opted to have made with lamb.)

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Coat and Thai (Austin, TX)

Well, our third day in Austin ended up primarily being BBQ: one visit to a new place for me (Black’s) and two visits to favorites from last year (Kreuz and City Market). After all that, and a quick refreshment break at Dairy Queen in Lockhart (another part of the annual Austin tradition), we headed back downtown for some more food truck action. The interesting thing about the food truck scene is that it’s always in a bit of flux. Indeed, almost every food truck I had visited in 2011 had either relocated to a new spot (indeed, the two major “food courts” from 2011 had both been sold for development, in what’s likely going to be an ongoing phenomenon in the mobile food business, so Gourdough’s and Love Balls found themselves uprooted), turned into a brick and mortar restaurant (like Odd Duck), or just plain gone out of business (I’ll miss you, Bits and Druthers). So we ended up going to a new (for us) food truck venue, the South Congress Strip. I went to South Congress with one particular food truck in mind: The Best Wurst, which sells all sorts of great sausages and such from the South Congress Strip. They get great reviews and people like them. They also sell out early, they had finished up for the day at least an hour before I got there. However, I found myself lured in by the sights and smells of the nearby Coat and Thai food truck.

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Thai Cafe (Pimlico, London, UK)

One of the things I really like about London is that the immigrant population over the many years has led it having a really good cross section of ethnic restaurants, many of which are quite good. One place that I’ve been meaning to try for quite a few years is Thai Cafe, since (a) I don’t get a lot of Thai Food back home (I have to drive to Montpelier or Concord to find decent Thai food), and (b) it’s pretty much right across the street from my brother’s flat. It also gets rather good ratings.

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