Tag Archives: thai

Try Thai!

One of my dreams is to go to Bangkok, a known food capital of the world. I remember the first time I tried Thai food (of course I was having Pad Thai), I immediately loved the fresh flavors and the mix of savory and sweet found in each bite. I try to seek out traditional and delicious Thai restaurants, but I know none can come to close to anything I would have if I were to visit Bangkok. So hopefully one day I will be able to visit, and even write a blog on it!

Thai food is very aromatic and full of spice and flavor. Each dish usually incorporates a blend of at least three taste senses: sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and bitter. Each of the four regions of Thailand has their own kind of cuisine. Thai food also shares similarities with the cuisines of its neighboring Southeast Asian countries. In fact, many dishes in Thailand came from China, but, over time, Thai cuisine has developed its own unique flavors and preparations. Today, Thai cuisine is one of the most popular around the world.


Thus, it is no surprise that I found an abundance of Thai restaurants while in Hell’s Kitchen. I do not at all regret my choice to go to the cozy Pure Thai Cookhouse. The delicious meal is very much worth the 15-minute wait. We began our meal with the daily steamed dumpling special. They were stuffed with chicken, crab, and shrimp. They were delicious with a firm filling that kept the taste of the shrimp and crab (the chicken helped to keep the filling together) and the dipping sauce to dip them in was even better – a salty and vinegary sauce with chili flakes to add spice. Along with the dumplings we ordered fried tofu with a peanut and tamarind dipping sauce. The tofu without the sauce lacked a bit of flavor, but the sauce with its crushed peanuts made the dish worth ordering. This dish was the only one that we ordered that was subpar, but the sauce is definitely worth asking for on the side. It has the characteristic mix of salty, sweet, and sour that is typical of many Thai dishes. Unfortunately, I did not manage to get any pictures of these two dishes, because we were to eager to begin.


Next, we ordered wok curry paste with pork, pad see ew with beef, and ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles. Each dish had its own blend of flavors and each was better than the next. The wok curry paste with pork included a spicy sauce that was not spicy at first, but lingered and became spicier over time. It included a variety of different textured vegetables (bamboo shoot, thai eggplant, and string bean) that balanced well with the pork.


The pad see ew was a sweet and salty compliment to the curry. The flat noodles were drenched in the brown sauce with pieces of scrambled eggs and broccoli, cauliflower, and beans. The crunchiness of the cauliflower and broccoli countered the softness and slipperiness of the noodles so that it did not become too overwhelming. Cauliflower is not often added to pad see ew dishes. It was a nice addition, but the broccoli does a better job of absorbing the sauce.


The ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles had the simplest flavor, mostly sweet, but were made with delicious homemade noodles. It included big pieces of crab and pork loin. It was hard to eat these together with the noodles, but all of individual pieces were so good.


Overall the meal was absolutely delicious, and I will definitely go back to Pure Thai Cookhouse sometime soon!



Pad Thai, Dorm Style

I was lucky enough to grow up really close to an excellent authentic Thai restaurant. There’s nothing trendy about this one. It’s nice and all, but in a way that makes you feel like you’re in someone’s living room. Some of my earliest memories involve that place- drinking coconut milk, holding spoons on my nose, making the bespectacled owner smile in delight while I greedily gobbled up the Chicken Massaman he had been sure I wouldn’t like, and feeling complete wonder at the delightfulness of sweet sticky rice. And the curry puffs, oh the curry puffs.

I’ll admit I was never a big Pad Thai person until I came to college. But soon after arriving I guess you could say it became my ramen noodles. And then a couple of weeks ago I made the most wonderful discovery- Pad Thai is actually pretty easy to make and totally doable in my tiny dorm kitchen.

The great thing about making this dish is the minimal cleanup and cooking time. The worst part is the prep time, but there are a couple ways to cut down on it, such as using pre-minced garlic and ginger. The preparation is by no means awful, but you do need to prepare the peanut sauce and wash and cut the raw ingredients, so depending on how experienced of a cook you are it may take longer for some than others.

But onto the wonderful things. Making Pad Thai requires a pot to cook the rice noodles and a pan to cook the rest, which you then add the noodles to at the very end. But that’s it. It’s not quite a one-pot meal but its pretty close. Then the noodles cook while you cook the chicken and vegetables, which goes quickly because they are cut into small pieces. Lather on that sauce and voilà!

I kind of, sort of followed a recipe, but that’s one of the marvelous things about cooking: you can make it your own. The trick to this dish, for me anyway, is to get the peanut sauce right. After that it all tastes delicious and tangy. I have a friend who has some dietary restrictions so she couldn’t eat the noodles. I just sliced some cabbage to a noodle length as a substitute and made a noodle-less version. And you know what? Covered in that smooth nutty sauce with a little bit of kick, it was almost as good as the noodle version! You can bet I’ll be making this one again and I think you should too. Time to get your Thai on.

New and Unusual: Sticky Rice Thai Restaurant

Sticky Rice Interior

Manhattan’s Lower East side is a hub of all sorts of international cuisines; in fact, I’ve found inspiration for all my posts this semester from this neighborhood. This past week, before catching a movie at one of the neighborhood’s cinemas, some friends and I stopped to get dinner at a truly remarkable Thai restaurant. Thai food has made fairly major inroads into American culture and is far more widely found than some of the other sorts of cuisines I’ve discussed. Sticky Rice, located at 85 Orchard St, just off Delancy St, offers some fairly common Thai fare as well as several signature items in a very unique atmosphere and at a very reasonable price point.

The menu offers a fairly common selection of Thai dishes including several soups, stir-fry, Pad-Thai, and satay. Our party decided to try several appetizers including a signature dish they called Firecrackers, a sort of chicken stick with a coating of fried tofu somewhat spiced and with dipping sauce. Despite the name, this dish was not terribly spicy, which was no cause for dissatisfaction for me. Additionally we ordered Thai Dumplings, which were stuffed with a mixture of chicken and pork, came with a dipping sauce, and were extremely flavorful. My favorite appetizer, however, was the Pineapple Pork Satay, which is (unsurprisingly) a sort of grilled pork with some flavoring accompanied by pineapple slices and a sauce. The pork was well cooked and quite flavorful, and the combination of sweet and savory very pleasing. For entrees our group ordered only stir-fry dishes; I myself got the Stir-Fry Basil Chicken, which included a mixture of chicken and vegetables with basil as the primary flavoring, and multi-grain rice. I was quite satisfied with this dish as it was fairly light and the basil was far from overpowering.

Firecrackers, Thai Dumplings, and Pork Satay with Pineapple

In terms of food the restaurant was quite pleasing, particularly considering the price point–our entrees and appetizers came to a mere $20 a person, an impressive accomplishment for a sit down restaurant in Manhattan. The wait staff was very friendly and the atmosphere was really remarkable. The restaurant is aimed to be something along the lines of a Thai Wine Bar and so has a bar area and a very large drink menu. The entire restaurant has a sort of pseudo-club atmosphere: they play somewhat loud but not deafening electronic trance music and the extensive decoration is a mixture between traditional Thai items and modern ones. Personally, I loved this environment; it was festive, lively, and visually stimulating. I recommend paying the place a visit, even for just a drink, if one is in the area.

Thai street food

Pok Pok NY serves up Thai cuisine that you are unlikely to find on menus of most Thai restaurants. The unfamiliar dishes are meant to be shared and they are delicious and unexpectedly filling. One of the desserts, described as a staple street side treat is the ice cream sandwich. It features sweet sticky rice inside a bread bun, with jack fruit ice cream on top, topped with crushed peanuts and chocolate sauce.  Indulgent doesn’t even begin to cover it!

Ice cream sandwich at Pok Pok NY

Photographed and sampled by: Onella Cooray, CC’14

Learn more about Pok Pok



It’s just really good Thai food


Curry Puffs from Thai Market

I know.  The title – not too crazy, not making too much of a punny statement, not leading you out on a limb to wonder what I’m talking about.  But that’s the thing about Thai Market (between 107th and 108th on Amsterdam) – it’s just really good Thai food.

Thanks, Thailand

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Thai cuisine, Thai cooking often features dishes using light cooking with a focus on spice and different aromatic components.  Each dish is exquisitely crafted to represent four dimensions on every plate: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter.  Now, Thailand is a diverse nation and as a result, there are regional differences.  For example, northeastern curries frequently include lime juice whereas southern curries tend to have more coconut and fresh turmeric.  Restaurant review and more photos after the jump!

Continue reading It’s just really good Thai food

Chinese-style Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps

Chinese Style Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps:

  • 3 1/2 pounds pork butt (pork shoulder)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • dried crushed red pepper
  • Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt
  • 2-3 heads lettuce
  • 4 packages shredded cabbage
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 knob fresh ginger
  • 10 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
  • sesame seeds
  • 1-2 large aluminum baking pans


1 Trim the excess fat from the roast. Put the meat in a large casserole or Dutch oven with chopped onion, chicken stock, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, red pepper, and 5-spice powder. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is very tender when pierced, about 3 hours.

2 Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove meat from liquid in pot and put the meat into a roasting pan. With 2 forks, tear meat into large shreds. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until parts are brown and crispy.

3. While the meat is roasting, skim and discard fat from liquid in the casserole pan. Boil juices, stirring, until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.

4 Return the meat to the Dutch oven. Stir in chopped cilantro. Season with salt.

5. Pull apart lettuce leaves into small bowl-like servings, try  to keep a bit of the white stem portion attached to make for easier eating.

6. Place small fork-full of pork into each lettuce bowl and serve with Mango Salsa!


Pics from the Hapa Fusion Party

Greetings all, finally posting pics/recipes from the Hapa Fusion Party event! The theme was cultural “fusion” and we were asked to incorporate flavors from four widely different cultures, representing the groups performing during the event: West African, Chinese, Indian, and Phllippino. It was definitely one of our more challenging events as we had to figure out not only which flavors to incorporate, but also how to incorporate them, in terms of ingredients and technique.  Here’s the finalized menu!

  • Puled Pork Lettuce Wraps w/ Mango Salsa
  • BLT Spring Rolls
  • Sweet Samosas with Yams, Bananas and Golden Raisins
  • Spicy Thai Peanut Chicken Quesadillas
  • Homemade Lime flavored Tortilla Chips w/ Asian inspired Guacamole- served as an appetizer
  • Ginger-Mint Limeade

and now for lovely behind-the-scenes pics: