Some meals I enjoy more than others for a certain novelty factor. I think that’s the reason I love going out for breakfast or brunch, simply because I rarely have the time for it. Going out for lunch on a weekday is kind of unusual for me as well, considering I have school five days a week, work, and some extracurricular activities. Faced with weekends over-scheduled with studying and work, SB and I decided to have lunch on a Friday, at a spot near campus. I was craving Thai and so decided on Thai Terrace, a small restaurant near the intersection of Broadway and MacDonald, easily accessible through the 99 B-Line.
What drew me to Thai Terrace (in addition to my obvious love of Thai food) is the reasonably priced lunch specials. The lunch specials are all $8, and include an entree, side of rice, a salad, and a soup or a spring roll. That’s quite a reasonable price, especially considering the neighbourhood, so I was willing to give it a try.
So here’s the Salad that we both received as the start to our meals. It simply consisted of pieces of lettuce, julienned carrots, and corn. I’m not exactly sure what the dressing was, but it tasted strongly of apples, which I enjoyed. I generally enjoy salads as long as the ingredients seem fresh, and this was decent. The corn was a nice touch, and made it a bit more special than any old regular salad served at any old regular restaurant. Also, I thought that the little dish they served it in was adorable. Do the plates and cutlery really enhance your dining experience? Maybe not for some people…but I’ve probably inherited my mom’s love of plate ware.
As the second accompaniment to my meal, I chose the Soup. They didn’t specify exactly what kind of soup this was, but it tasted strongly of coconut milk and lemongrass. It was very thin and watery, and I would perhaps describe it as more of a broth than a soup. It tasted homey and was a comforting way to start the meal, although I would have appreciated more ingredients than the diced green onions and chunks of tofu that were included. The portion size is not bad–I ended up finishing maybe three quarters of the bowl.
For his entree, SB chose the Pad Num Man Hoi, with a choice of either chicken, beef, or tofu sauteed with oyster sauce over a bed of boiled broccoli and carrots. He thought that the chicken was sliced too thinly, perhaps to compensate for the ingredients not being perfectly fresh. Still, he was satisfied with the veggies, as the broccoli was crunchy, while the carrots were chewy. The oyster sauce was quite oily. The meal was also served with some rice and a spring roll, the alternative choice to the soup.
The spring roll was quite crispy, while the sauce was extremely sweet and syrupy. The rice was standard. I thought the portion size was a bit small, especially in comparison to my meal. After this, SB still downed two slices of pizza before he was satisfied (although he does have a big appetite). I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this option if you’re starving.
Meanwhile, I decided on the Pad Thai, as I usually do. Their version had the requisite fried rice noodles with egg, pressed tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts, with a choice of chicken, beef, tofu, or prawns for the protein. I opted for the prawns, of which there were maybe two…but what can you really expect for the price? The portion size was decent, but the noodles could have been chewier. I liked how it didn’t taste overwhelmingly of ketchup, as is often the case with inauthentic Thai food. The ingredients were all fine, with nothing being especially amiss, although the carrots had a strange texture and didn’t seem at all fresh. Overall, it was a decent pad thai, nothing outstanding, but fine for the price I paid. If Bob Likes Thai Food were closer to school, I would choose to go there in a heartbeat…but beggars can’t be choosers.
Overall, we weren’t incredibly impressed with our experience at Thai Terrace, but I wasn’t expecting much anyway. It’s more of a small, family-run place for those in the neighbourhood to get their Thai fix with polite, unobtrusive service, and fine for a quick lunch.
2872 West Broadway
More Thai food, you ask? After our lovely dinner at Bob Likes Thai Food, my dad insisted we try another Thai restaurant a bit closer to home. So on a rainy Saturday night all four of us (sans uncle this time) drove out to Go Thai with open minds. It’s a smaller, much less stylish operation than Bob Likes Thai Food, and even at first glance you can tell that the restaurant itself is quite old. The paint is scratched in places, and the water glasses, although clean, are noticeably scratched up as well. Despite this, the restaurant looked relatively clean and well-operated, and the kitchen floors (which we could see easily from our seats) were spotless.
We started off with the Tom Yum Gai ($7.95), hot and sour soup with exotic Thai herbs, sliced button mushrooms, and chicken. When the waitress first brought this over to our table, we smelled it before we saw it. For all of us, it strangely reminded us of the smell of Korean fermented bean paste (not a pleasant smell, in case you’re wondering). At first sip, it tasted strongly of lemongrass, and had an almost poisonously spicy aftertaste. Maybe it would be more accurate to describe as “hot” rather than “spicy”, as it left a burning sensation on my lips long after I took several sips of cold water. I personally have a high tolerance for spicy foods, but if you do not, I wouldn’t recommend this.
Go Thai also offers a varieties of curries, which you can choose to have either with beef, pork, chicken, tofu, or prawns. We opted for the Green Curry ($11.95) with chicken. This was a disappointment. The curry was very thin and watered down. We also felt that the ingredients weren’t integrated properly with the curry itself, as they felt like two separate components. The flavours were noticeably muted, with the only strong flavour being the coconut milk. Besides the chicken, there were also some green peppers and eggplant included.
And of course we had to have an order of the Pad Thai ($9.95). Added to the usual sweet and sour taste of pad thai was a strangely bitter aftertaste. It was also a little too wet, with the noodles getting lost a bit in the sauce, which was a bit too cold to be enjoyable. The noodles themselves were forgettable, not having enough bite to stand up to the other ingredients. As with the curry, we felt that the ingredients had been rather randomly thrown together. Although the peanuts and bean sprouts added some much needed textural contrast, I would say that this dish was a definite flop.
We deviated a bit from our usual favourite items and tried the Phad King ($9.95), which you can also try with the same proteins as above. As with the curry, we decided on chicken. This dish was mostly for my dad, as the menu description of sautéed ginger, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms sounded quite healthy. Sadly, though, my dad didn’t enjoy it, as the sauce was much too watered down. Although the taste of ginger was quite prominent, this was a mediocre, unmemorable dish.
Next up is the Go Thai Fried Rice ($8.95), with chicken, BBQ pork, egg, tomatoes, onions, and peas. When this first arrived, I felt suspicious: it looked awfully like any old fried rice you can get at your neighbourhood Chinese restaurant. And sad to say, it tasted exactly like your average Chinese fried rice. To their credit, though, the rice wasn’t overly oily or wet, and I would gladly have eaten this in any other circumstance, except that I had expected some bolder flavours.
As you can see, we weren’t too impressed by the dishes we sampled at Go Thai, which were all unmemorable. I found that the bold flavours found in Thai food were all muted, most likely to appeal to the clientele, but the food was simply too bland to enjoy. It’s not like Go Thai has much competition with its location in New West, but, to be honest, I would rather drive out somewhere further for more authentic Thai food rather than eat here again. It wasn’t that Go Thai is necessarily bad, it’s just that there is much better elsewhere.
502 East Columbia Street
New Westminster, BC
In the last week of November, my uncle decided to visit from Korea–for something like five days. That sounds short (and it was), but maybe you’ll see it in a different light once I reveal that he’s a flight attendant. The life of a flight attendant is quite tiring, as you can imagine, and he really just came to get some rest. Still, since it’s not like we see him everyday, we wanted to take him somewhere nice for dinner, although it wasn’t like we could introduce him to some brand new cuisine, since he’s travelled most of the world already. I did have a coupon for Tropika from ChineseBites, but my parents weren’t convinced when I mentioned Tropika is Chinese-run. Still, it got us thinking about the possibility of Southeast Asian food, and we ended up driving out to Bob Likes Thai Food, serving up (relatively) authentic Thai food on Main Street.
In comparison to Korean and Japanese food, I don’t have as tight a grasp on Thai food, and I was glad to have my uncle with us. Bangkok is one of his favourite cities to visit, and he became the unofficial judge of authenticity and taste that night. It was also my brother’s first time trying Thai food, so it was a special night in more ways than one.
First up, we had the Chicken Satay ($4.50 for 2 skewers). We had 2 orders. (I was hoping they’d add an extra skewer for free considering we were a party of five, but oh well). This was the requisite chicken marinated in a blend of spices and coconut milk, served with a peanut dipping sauce. Out of all the dishes we sampled, I felt the least enthusiastic about this one. The chicken was surprisingly tough and dry, and it was too salty for my tastes. I did like the peanut sauce though, which was quite thick and flavourful. Still, it wasn’t enough to liven up the dryness of the chicken.
My uncle insisted we order the Tom Yum Koong ($5 for a small, $10 for a large), so we decided on a small. The broth tasted strongly of lemongrass, and the soup included prawns and button mushrooms. We thought it would have tasted better if it came out a bit hotter, but it was good nevertheless. My brother, having never had tom yum koong before, was a bit put off by the taste of lemongrass at first, but he grew to really enjoy it, saying that it complemented the curry very well. Although I thought the lemongrass flavour was strong, my uncle insisted that it was quite mild compared to what he’d actually enjoyed in Thailand, so I suppose they are catering to Vancouver tastebuds a bit.
Speaking of that curry, we had the Green Curry Chicken ($11.50), a coconut milk-based green curry with chicken, basil, eggplant and bamboo shoots. It was coconutty and gingery, and tasted much better than it looked. The chicken and eggplant were in large slices, although we would have preferred thinner slices in hindsight. Although the curry itself was thick and tasted mostly of coconut, the aftertaste was surprisingly spicy, and eating it together with our jasmine rice and the tom yum koong was perfect. This was probably one of our favourite dishes of the night.
The five of us were very impressed by this dinner at Bob Likes Thai Food. The washrooms were clean, and the waitresses were attentive, filling the water regularly without being obtrusive. Despite my limited knowledge of Thai cuisine, I found the flavours satisfyingly bold. Still, I saw a lack of seafood on the menu, which would be my one complaint. But still, my final verdict is: In Hye likes Bob Likes Thai Food.
It’s weird, but I take the bus along West 4th three days every week, but I can count the times I’ve gotten off on a stop that isn’t UBC or VCC-Clark on one hand. Still, I do take notice of the many restaurants, and promise myself to try them out sometime. So on a Friday after my econ midterm, Yvonne, Dolph, and I wandered off the bus and into the Kitsilano location of The Noodle Box.
The Noodle Box is actually a franchise–there are two locations in Vancouver (one in Kits, and one in Yaletown), with five locations in Victoria. I’m always a little wary of chain restaurants, to tell you the truth. Still, they can also promise a solid meal in times of uncertainty. I liked the interior of the restaurant–it looked clean and modern. Also, I could see a bottle of Sriracha sauce from where I was sitting–yumm.
I chose the Thai Green Curry, which came with a plethora of bean sprouts, choy, green onion, and too many kinds of veggies to count! The noodles were at the bottom, and were satisfyingly chewy. I was a little surprised by the appearance of this dish, as I expected more of a traditional curry, but I still enjoyed this. I chose to have this with the chicken (the other choices being prawns, beef, pork, or tofu), and surprisingly, the chicken was moist and flavourful. The portion size was also quite large. I would have liked more noodles though…
Dolph chose the Pad Thai with chicken. She thought that the taste of ginger was too overpowering, and like me, she would have preferred more noodles for the price she paid ($11+). The sauce was tangy and vinegary. Like my curry, the noodles were accompanied by a lot of veggies: carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, etc. Dolph was not too impressed with this version of Pad Thai, but I suppose we have to consider that it is western-infused Asian food, and not to be compared with authentic Thai food.
Yvonne had the Singapore Cashew Curry, again with chicken. Now…the noodles. They tasted very strange, and um…stale? I’m not sure if they were fully cooked. Yvonne expressed that while she enjoys chewy noodles, this was more…crunchy? The chicken was flavourful, but the dish as a whole was dry. The veggies were crunchy, with the combination of ingredients creating a great texture, except for the noodles. I liked the taste of the curry, as you can decide the level of spiciness. (Dolph and Yvonne both chose Mild, while I had Medium, although I still used some Sriracha sauce). But we couldn’t really get past these strange noodles when evaluating this dish…
Dolph also ordered some Malay Style Fried Rice to take home to her family. It came in a cute little Chinese takeout box–although I’m not sure how (or if) they managed to fit the generous portions into such a small box. I’m pretty sure it’s more worth your money to eat in.
As a whole, the three of us weren’t too impressed by our experience at Noodle Box. Service was fine–but it is a pay at the counter, then pick up your order system. The food was fine, but nothing to write home about–I guess I’m not a huge fan of inauthentic Asian foods. The prices are also a little on the higher side, but you do have to account for the restaurant’s location in Kits.
The Noodle Box
1867 West 4th Avenue