Thai Food in the 801


leftyjace

Well-Known Member
The best Thai food in the Salt Lake Valley is Thai Delight Cafe in West Jordan, and it’s not even close.

Change my mind.
 


Gameface

1-20-21 The End of an Error
Contributor
2018 Award Winner
I'm not going to say anything bad about Thai Delight. They are literally within walking distance from my house. But my family typically prefers New Thai Cafe, while my favorite in this part of the valley is Mekong Cafe. There is also a new-ish place on 70th and Redwood, Dee Garden. They have had some really interesting dishes that are distinctly different than what you typically get in a cookie-cutter Thai restaurant, but it's been hit and miss on quality the three times we've tried them.

I don't typically get curry at Thai places. So if that's your jam (and it seems like 90% of what people like Thai for, with another 9% going for Pad Thai) then take my opinions with a grain of salt. I like Nam Thoke (Waterfall Beef) or Larb, as spicy as I can get them to make it. My biggest complaint about Thai Delight is that when I ask for 5 (their highest level) or even 5+ they give me something that on that scale I'd call a 2-3. New Thai brings the heat, Mekong also brings it.
 

gandalfe

Well-Known Member
What was the name of the one in downtown, just across 5th S from the library? Was that Thai Delight? Whatever their name was, I used to love their lunch special - you got, like, 2 entrees, soup, sticky rice, desert, all for about $6. And I could walk over and pick it up from work.

Other than that, Mekong.

I do miss the restaurants in Salt Lake. So much good food...
 

Gameface

1-20-21 The End of an Error
Contributor
2018 Award Winner
What was the name of the one in downtown, just across 5th S from the library? Was that Thai Delight? Whatever their name was, I used to love their lunch special - you got, like, 2 entrees, soup, sticky rice, desert, all for about $6. And I could walk over and pick it up from work.

Other than that, Mekong.

I do miss the restaurants in Salt Lake. So much good food...
Thai Delight is at about 6200 S and Bangerter.

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Beer

Well-Known Member
Chabaar off 7200 S is really good. Plus they actually have a decent beer selection which is almost unheard of in Thai restaurants around here.
 

infection

Well-Known Member
Staff member
2018 Award Winner
2019 Award Winner
There's a place on 33rd south that was good. Forget the name. East Moon Bistro in Lehi has some really unique fried rice.

On a side note, I did notice that in Orem there's a place called Pho King. Haven't tried it.
 
Where have you tried it and what did you not like about the versions you had?

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It has been a while, but off the top of my head, I've tried Thai Delight, Nuan's, Chang Noi, Chabaar and a few others.

Kin Sen was ok. Biggest problem is lack of flavor (maybe not enough fish oil or dark soy sauce) and use of strange spices. I prefer fresh thai chili and garlic, but thai chili jam provides good flavor. Also sometimes less than fresh ingredients.

Places that give you a side of chili oil to spice yourself results in not nearly as good flavor as cooking the spice with the rice noodles.

There was a noodle bar that was decent. And I think My Thai was ok. I haven't found anything that comes close to the food stands in Thailand or many of the restaurants and food trucks in Thailand.
 

Gameface

1-20-21 The End of an Error
Contributor
2018 Award Winner
It has been a while, but off the top of my head, I've tried Thai Delight, Nuan's, Chang Noi, Chabaar and a few others.

Kin Sen was ok. Biggest problem is lack of flavor (maybe not enough fish oil or dark soy sauce) and use of strange spices. I prefer fresh thai chili and garlic, but thai chili jam provides good flavor. Also sometimes less than fresh ingredients.

Places that give you a side of chili oil to spice yourself results in not nearly as good flavor as cooking the spice with the rice noodles.

There was a noodle bar that was decent. And I think My Thai was ok. I haven't found anything that comes close to the food stands in Thailand or many of the restaurants and food trucks in Thailand.
My best bet would be Sawadee. You might want to call ahead and make your preferences known.

Problem with trying to find Thai food that is like the Thai food you had in Thailand is that there is an Americanized standard for Thai food (just like with almost all cultural food in the U.S.) and it's not easy to venture from that standard and succeed, especially in a place like SLC, Utah. But most of these places are owned and operated by people from Thailand, so if you reach out to them they can make the dish you want the way you want it, within reason. In a lot of cases things are the way they are because that's what's available in the local supply chain. But if it's a matter of a little more fish sauce or dark soy, they can probably do that, along with adding the spices/chilies to the cooking process (completely agree that it makes a HUGE difference).
 
My best bet would be Sawadee. You might want to call ahead and make your preferences known.

Problem with trying to find Thai food that is like the Thai food you had in Thailand is that there is an Americanized standard for Thai food (just like with almost all cultural food in the U.S.) and it's not easy to venture from that standard and succeed, especially in a place like SLC, Utah. But most of these places are owned and operated by people from Thailand, so if you reach out to them they can make the dish you want the way you want it, within reason. In a lot of cases things are the way they are because that's what's available in the local supply chain. But if it's a matter of a little more fish sauce or dark soy, they can probably do that, along with adding the spices/chilies to the cooking process (completely agree that it makes a HUGE difference).
I meant to say "I haven't found anything that comes close to the food stands in Thailand or many of the restaurants and food trucks in Portland." I understand we won't get the same food as we can get in Thailand, but many Portland restaurants are very similar, but nothing in Utah I have tried comes close. I'll try Sawadee next time I am in town. I tend to travel there for business every month or every other month.
 

Gameface

1-20-21 The End of an Error
Contributor
2018 Award Winner
I generally have an issue with the term "authentic" when it comes to food. In Thailand there are almost certainly thousands of takes on what Drunken Noodles are, if that is even a traditional Thai dish and not just an exported recipe developed for the taste buds of people outside Thailand.

Any traditional dish is made countless ways. There is really no such thing as "authentic" in my opinion. The best that can be done is to make something that tastes good and is desirable by enough of the people in the location it is made to make it reasonable to put it on a menu.

Wanting something "here" to taste like it came from "there" is not unreasonable, but it's also frequently unobtainable. The local supply chain, local ingredients, etc, are all going to have an impact, but the biggest impact will always be commercial viability. What will people "here" eat, what will they pay for? You can't force food on customers and just yell at them about authenticity. You have to offer things they want to eat.

I don't really care if the Thai food I eat in SLC is the same as the Thai food in Thailand (or Portland). What I care about is if the food I'm eating tastes good to me. I can certainly try to better understand Thai cuisine and get closer to what people in Thailand enjoy. If that is my goal I'm far more likely to find success making that food myself, in my kitchen, sourcing ingredients diligently according to the standard I'm attempting to achieve. Short of that, **** holding a commercial restaurant to a standard that would bankrupt them.
 
I generally have an issue with the term "authentic" when it comes to food. In Thailand there are almost certainly thousands of takes on what Drunken Noodles are, if that is even a traditional Thai dish and not just an exported recipe developed for the taste buds of people outside Thailand.

Any traditional dish is made countless ways. There is really no such thing as "authentic" in my opinion. The best that can be done is to make something that tastes good and is desirable by enough of the people in the location it is made to make it reasonable to put it on a menu.

Wanting something "here" to taste like it came from "there" is not unreasonable, but it's also frequently unobtainable. The local supply chain, local ingredients, etc, are all going to have an impact, but the biggest impact will always be commercial viability. What will people "here" eat, what will they pay for? You can't force food on customers and just yell at them about authenticity. You have to offer things they want to eat.

I don't really care if the Thai food I eat in SLC is the same as the Thai food in Thailand (or Portland). What I care about is if the food I'm eating tastes good to me. I can certainly try to better understand Thai cuisine and get closer to what people in Thailand enjoy. If that is my goal I'm far more likely to find success making that food myself, in my kitchen, sourcing ingredients diligently according to the standard I'm attempting to achieve. Short of that, **** holding a commercial restaurant to a standard that would bankrupt them.
Was that directed at me? If so, I never said "authentic" and clearly delineated what I was looking for (plenty of sauce, fresh thai chiles (fresh thai basil is good too).

I've lived in NorCal, Portland, Chicago, DC, and they all have restaurants with decent Drunken Noodles, and the recipe/flavor is essentially the same. Hell, I even found a decent version in Spokane near Gonzaga. I do make my own, but find it is cheaper for me to get from a restaurant as the local Thai grocery is expensive.

I travel to Utah frequently for work, and have been mostly disappointed with the Drunken Noodle offerings in Utah. One place didn't even use rice noodles. I am sure there are decent options, but don't know where, which is why I asked. I've tried a few of the top star Google/yelp rated places, and many dishes were good, but the Pad Kee Mao has just been ok at best, just not good flavor. I'll try Sawdee next time I'm in town. Thanks for the recommendation.

And as far as Bangkok versions, I tried probably 15 different versions, and all were very similar (maybe the rest of the country is different, but I doubt it). The main difference with the USA versions is the price (when I lived in Bangkok for a summer it was about $2.00 U.S., the only outlier being Jae Fai, which was almost $25 U.S. at the time, and it wasn't worth the hype-small portion, not worth the price or hype (Michelin rated shack, advanced reservation or early a.m. waitlist, which is what we did) and the level of spice. I ordered mild everywhere in Bangkok, and order medium to hot almost everywhere in the U.S. The one outlier is Baan Thai in Portland. Anything above mild is crazy hot (and they use fresh thai chilis). And they warn you.
 

leftyjace

Well-Known Member
Jazzfanz can a thread about Thai food turn into an epic debate.

I feel you about authentic foods. When I went to China I discovered that those Chinese people can’t make Chinese food worth crap!
 

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