Even since I’ve moved to upstate New York I have been hankering for real Thai street food. Not that I have ever been to Thailand, but I was spoiled for 20 years in Los Angeles by Patty at Arunee, who would go to Bangkok each year and bring back dishes she discovered there. A move to San Francisco was temporarily daunting because the local preference is for sweet (Mee Krob) vs spicy but then I discovered Thai House Express and Ler Ros Thai and I know I am always in good hands when I return to the Bay Area.
But in my new haunts, Thai seems to be associated with some concept of “Asia fusion” which may be healthier than wings dipped in ranch dressing but is hardly the Thai food I grew up with. Here are unedited excerpts from two reviews on Yelp which illustrate this problem:
“i love this place! at least every other week i’m at siam thai for pad thai and an avocado roll. always a good choiec! absolutely delicious. the pineapple fried rice is out of this world, too.”
“Based on a recommendation from a friend, my girlfriend and I gave this restaurant a shot. We both love Thai but have been unsuccessful in finding a decent place in the Capital Region.
We started simple with a seaweed salad, and shumai. Both arrived quickly and were exactly what we were looking for.
After the appetizers, we ordered some maki. The spider roll was really good, as was the eel avocado roll. (my gal doesn’t do the raw stuff) Not the best rolls I have ever had, but I would not hesitate to order them again.
I ordered the Pad See Eew for dinner and it was perfect.
She ordered the Pad Thai and it was very happy with it. Though it seemed a little bland compared to my dish.”
If you are counting, there are 8 different dishes mentioned above and two of them are Thai (3 if you count the pineapple rice). These diners obviously enjoyed their meals but they were eating something very different than anything they would encounter in a big-city Thai restaurant.
The good news is that Thai street food is relatively simple with few ingredients and easy to prepare at home. This pad thai recipe is proof.