Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Khao San Road

I went to Khao San Road (@KhaoSanRoad) several Fridays ago for lunch. It was a spontaneous and last minute decision with a group of friends (a few of them were visiting from Calgary). I always thought I was going to try out Khao San Road   for dinner rather than lunch (I usually lay low for lunch / brunch and go all out for dinner - I will gladly go all out for lunch too if my wallet and waistline could afford to do so). But nah, I'm not complaining because my lunch at Khao San Road was outstanding.

Note: The "Love Life" grafitti you see up there is actually outside Khao San Road; we were sitting at a table right beside the windows facing the street.

Khao San Road is big and spacious, a far cry from the small space at Sukhothai (its sister restaurant which has been around since 2008, Khao San Road opened in January of this year). It has a clean and modern look to it with steel-framed wooden chairs and stools, silver lamps, and a huge bar that extends all the way to the back of the restaurant. If it weren't for the Thailand national flags, I think the venue can easily pass for a modern wine bar.

The entire wall at the back of the restaurant is a chalk board. This is an extension of what they had at Sukhothai (which had several small chalkboards on their walls).

Khao San Road's lunch menu is a two-pager, A4 style. 

Cha Nom Yen - An infusion of Thai spices and black tea blended with condensed milk and served over crushed ice, also known as Thai iced tea.

A very, very tasty drink; reminds me of Hong Kong style milk tea. I would say the difference between the two is that the Thai iced tea is not as sweet, less thick / creamy, and a lot more refreshing than HK milk tea. I also love the bright orange colour.

Po Pia Pak Sod Gai Yaw - Fresh rolls filled with home-made chicken sausage, lettuce, carrots, mint leaves and Thai basil, served with our tamarind, garlic sauce topped with peanuts and Thai coriander.

These rolls were so fresh. I'm personally tired of places that serves pre-rolled fresh rolls where they are limp, sticky, and the ingredients inside no longer have that fresh "crunch" to it. All that doesn't apply to these rolls, they were so fresh. I could easily distinguish the texture and taste of each ingredient in there: the chicken sausage, lettuce, carrots, and the mint leaves. The sauce was also spectacular.

Gai Taud Samoon Prai (Garlic Chicken) - Pieces of fried chicken breaded in a crispy garlic and fresh kaffir lime leaf coating served with a sweet and tangy garlic sauce.

Although I couldn't really taste the kaffir lime leaf, the batter was thin and crispy. This was good but I thought the garlic chicken I had at Sukhothai last time was more memorable as it was served a lot hotter (in temperature).

Tao Hoo Taud Samoon Prai (Garlic Tofu) - Nuggets of fried tofu breaded in a crispy garlic and fresh kaffir lime coating served with a sweet and tangy garlic sauce.

This dish looks almost exactly the same as the fried chicken just that this was tofu. We all prefer the fried tofu over the fried chicken as this was more unique. I liked how the fried coating contrasted nicely with the hot and tender tofu inside.

Gra Bong - Squash fritters made of deep fried squash with red curry paste, shrimp paste, lemon grass, and eggs.

I'm in love with these squash fritters. We each had one and I wish there was two for everybody (well more like just two for me). The coating on these squash fritters was different than the one used for the garlic chicken and tofu; it wasn't as crispy, but a bit more dense, soft and "egg-y". The squash was naturally so sweet and the mushy texture of it went really well with the batter. I didn't even use the sauce much as the squash fritter was great by itself as is.

Gaeng Panang (Fish) - A rich thickened sauce with sliced red bell pepper, hot green pepper, kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil. Curry of the day.

Two of my friends had this curry and they both loved it.

Pad Thai (Sam Ros) - "Three flavours style" Chicken Pad Thai. An authentic blend of sour, sweet and savoury; a taste of the chef's hometown goodness. Topped with home-made roasted peanuts, dried chili and a fresh slice of lime.

I had a little bit of this and it was just as good as I remember it to be when I had it at Sukhothai.

Pad Thai (Street style) - Street style, chicken Pad Thai; experience traditional authentic Pad Thai.

I didn't get a chance to try this street style pad thai but from the looks of it, it seems to be a bit more saucy than the pad thai above. 

Khao Soi - Tender beef brisket with egg noodles in coconut milk enriched curry and garnished with crisp fried noodles, green onion, and a slice of lime.

Mine! Once I saw this on the menu I knew I didn't need to look at anything else. I adored the khao soi last time when I was at Sukhothai and I've been dying to have it again. The flavour of the khao soi was just as good as I remembered it to be; the noodles on top were super crisp, the egg noodles were thick and smooth in texture, and the beef brisket was really tender. I did notice that the soup was not as creamy or thick like the last time I had it at Sukhothai.

For all our entreées we were asked if we wanted mild, medium, or spicy. And in case you don't find it spicy enough, they had hot chili oil for us.

We had a great lunch at Khao San Road. I'm interested to go back soon to try their dinner too. What I wonder now is the following: is Sukhothai still as busy? Is the food at Sukhothai still as good as before? Drop me a line if you know :)

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