U & I Thai take 2

U & I Thai

Wendy decided to take advantage of the Living Social voucher this evening so that I could try U & I Thai for myself.  It was busy when we arrived but luckily Wendy had made reservations and we were seated immediately.  They had the place done up nicely for Christmas with ornaments and wreaths etc.

U & I Thai: Isaan Lettuce Wraps (Yom Nam Khao Tod)

We started with Isaan Lettuce Wraps (Yom Nam Khao Tod) ($10.95).  They throw everything but the kitchen sink into this one: pork, fried rice balls, egg, curry paste, ginger, cilantro, red peppers, onion and toasted peanuts.  The menu says it’s served with sweet basil sauce but they gave us fresh basil instead (not that I’m complaining, the basil was fresh and tasted great in the wraps).  It also came with both iceberg and green leaf lettuce, which was nice.  It was also nice that there was more than enough lettuce to go around since we’ve run out before the filling is done at other places.  This dish reminded me of the yam naam we had at Maenam a while back but the flavours were more balanced so the salty and sour aspects didn’t overpower the sweet and spicy.
We both thoroughly enjoyed it.

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U & I Thai

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It’s very difficult to get Fannypack to make a choice…with me anyways. However for her birthday I finally got her to choose a place to eat.  She ended up picking U & I Thai in Cambie so a date was set!

We were supposed to pick a dish each but I of course ended up picking most of them.

On another note, it seems like the servers were Thai, so that gave me comfort on the authenticity of this place.

U & I Thai: Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

For appy I picked the Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) ($10.95). The green Papaya shreds had the right amount of crunch. The dressing was a bit tart for me but it all melded very well together. Portion was a bit small.

U & I Thai: Authentic Pad Thai

Next up was the Authentic Pad Thai ($12.95). Why is it ‘authentic’ you ask?? Well it’s because instead of the usual ketchup-based sauce most other restaurants use, here they use a Tamarind sauce. Also interesting is the addition of banana flowers.

U & I Thai: Red Curry Duck with Lychee

For the obligatory curry dish I picked the Red Curry Duck with Lychee ($15.95). It was a sweet curry, likely due to the lychee. However there weren’t many pieces of them… Probably just 3? The duck was also in smaller shreds. Otherwise the sauce went quite well with rice.

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Maenam

I’ve been wanting to try Maenam for a while now since I’m a big fan of all things Thai and was curious about trying Thai food with a gourmet twist, which is exactly what Maenam offers.  The first thing I noticed was the warm, inviting atmosphere, made apparent through use of light and colour.  I really dug their tabletops as well 😛 (see pics).  We had made reservations for the Chef’s Royal Thai Dinner ($47.50/person) in advance, a 3-course, 9-dish tasting menu of on- and off-menu selections which changes occasionally.  I’m not sure how often, but this one had started just that week.

satay gai, pork rinds, tempura fern, nahm jim, and crispy fried oysters at Maenam

First up was an appetizer platter featuring free range chicken satays (satay gai), tempura made with some thin type of fern, crispy fried oysters (hoi tort), prawn cakes and a couple pork rinds and cucumber wedges.  The sauces included standard homemade peanut, a red chili one, some watery cucumber relish and my personal favourite: the house sauce, nahm jim.  It embodied all of the Thai taste senses: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter (spicy).  Each bite made me forget my surroundings a little at a time, daydreaming of bustling Bangkok streets teeming with the pungent aromas of various mobile food carts.

The oysters were the highlight for me, and the nahm jim worked perfectly with them.  The fern dish was very bland although an interesting idea, and the chicken was just your usual Thai streetfood variety, but were on the dry side.  The pork rinds seemed out of place and had some inedible-y chewy hard bits in them.  But everything tasted good enough when dipped in the nahm jim I suppose.

Maenam: Thai and Ginger

For drinks Wendy ordered a virgin Thai and Ginger which consisted of passionfruit and cassia bark topped with gingerbeer.  She was expecting a bit more kick from the gingerbeer than what was delivered but still enjoyed the drink.  I ordered a pot of lemon ginger tea.  I found it a bit mild as well, but pleasant enough.

Maenam: Mussels

The next course consisted of soup, salad and mussels.  Wendy regrettably forgot to take photos of the soup which is unfortunate since for me it was one of the high points.  It was a hot and sour (tom yum) ling cod soup w/ Thai basil and oyster mushroom.  Needless to say it was tom yummy!  I think I enjoyed it a bit more than Wendy since she didn’t finish hers.  I did notice the absence of any big chunks of ginger or lemongrass which I normally like in this type of soup though. But I guess that’s kind of the point here, this ain’t your traditional Thai food.

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Sabai Thai

Sabai Thai

A friend from Surrey repaid a favor by taking me out for Thai dinner (actually I might’ve made him buy me dinner LOL…).  He suggested Sabai Thai from the Guildford area as he’s been there before and they seem authentic, as in it’s actually owned and operated by Thai’s.

We had quite an early dinner but the place was already half-full.  It got progressively fuller afterwards.  We also noticed that the clientele was all Caucasians, with me (and the owners/servers) being the only Asians.  We deduced that that could mean something about the authenticity of the food as in the actual supposed spiciness and such.

Sabai Thai: Thai Tea

I had been craving Thai Tea for the longest time and so far the only place I’m able to get it is from Tapioca Express in Richmond.  I was happy to see that it was offered here too, but it certainly wasn’t cheap.  I believe it was around $3.50-4.

Sabai Thai: Thai Tea

As with the authentic Thai Teas, this became a bright orange after mixing, and I was happy to see that.  Only wish the picture would do it justice in the bright “neon-ness” of the orange.  I was surprised that my friend hadn’t tried this before, having visited Thailand a few times…he wasn’t too impressed with it though.

I loved it.  It has a very distinct, almost herb-y flavor which I can’t quite describe.  You really gotta try it to appreciate it.

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