Thai Spice in Norwalk, CT – Authentic Food Served by Teenagers

This was a funny little experience. I ended up in this stretch of suburban sprawl in Norwalk, CT, hungry. Looking around me, there were corporate parks, bad Chinese food take outs, genetic diners, fast food joints, liquors shops and massage parlors. As I was getting desperate, I saw Thai Spice, squeezed in between an empty office front and a massage place. The menu looked authentic and I went in. imageTod Mun: fried fish cakes, cucumber salad and crushed peanuts. The restaurant was empty and all the wait staff were in the back, eating dinner. They didn’t care to take the order; didn’t care whether there were utensils on the table; didn’t bother to even place the dish in front of me. The slid my big bowl of soup across the table to me – like slow motion bowling.imageNua Nam Tok: beef, lettuce, onions, lemongrass, roasted rice and mint. So good. The onions were strong. The beef was tender and the roasted rice smoky.imageThai Green Curry: coconut, vegetables, lime and green curry paste with shrimp.imageThai Boat Noodle Soup: beef, beef balls, rice noodles, and beef broth. Almost as good as the Vietnamese Pho and Taiwanese beef noodle soup. The broth was tasty. The noodles were infused with the beef aroma. It was very satisfying!

Despite the service, the food was amazing. Authentic, delicious and fresh. If this were a take out place or a strand in the food court, I wouldn’t complain at all. But with the restaurant set up, the dismal service by the teenagers was disappointing. I seriously consider skipping out on the bill because I didn’t think they would have noticed. I also considered calling the restaurant owner – I doubt the owner would be ok with paying all these people to not serve the customers.

This experience took place at

Thai Spice

Parkway Plaza Shopping Center
345 Main Ave #2,
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 846-3533

 

Thai Village in Princeton, NJ- A Local Favorite with Tasty Food and A View into Life

My high school friend, Monica, took me to Thai Village in Princeton, NJ. I have a special connection with Princeton because I spent three years living as a boarder at The Hun School of Princeton and loved every minute of this quaint university town. Since I last lived there, Princeton has become very global and very Asian. I lost count of the Asian restaurants on Nassau Street. Thai Village is the favorite Thai place for Monica. It’s a no-nonsense, looks like a take out joint but is also a sit down place, restaurant. The conversations surrounding us included one on technology startup infrastructure and one on pharmaceutical clinical trial. Monica and I chatted about her photography business, MK Photography, and the pleasure in creating beautiful images. For her, it’s the headshots. For me, it’s the food, nature, far away places, and people.See Me: Crispy egg noodles topped with brown gravy and cooked with shrimps, bamboo shoots, scallions, and straw mushrooms. I ordered this dish largely because of its name. I want you to SEE ME! Chicken with red curry and coconut milk.

The food was fresh and tasty. No complaints for a $20 meal for two. It’s even better by the simple fact that there is a free parking lot attached to the restaurant. Of course, love from a long time friend is definitely priceless. If I lived in Princeton, I would frequent the place.

This experience took place at

Thai Village
235 Nassau St # C
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone:(609) 683-3896

H Mart in Williston Park, NY- Tasty Sashimi and Great for the Pocketbook 

I shop at Asian grocery stores, from time to time. When I am out in Queens, I tend to go to H Mart in Williston Park on Long Island. H Mart is best for one reason: You can buy reasonably priced sashimi and indulge/gorge until your heart beats with delight. You can buy all the accoutrement and make the plate real pretty. This plate consists of tuna, salmon, octopus, yellow tail, seaweed salad, and the “smelly” daikon salad (My co-workers had a huge issue with the daikon salad when I brought it into work one day.  They threatened to go to HR to stop me from eating the smelly food!) Of course, I also had ginger and wasabi. All in all, this plate was less than $50. The effort to cut up the sashimi was minimal. The presentation was beautiful.

So why wouldn’t you do the same, if you are a sashimi fan and eating out in restaurants is not always economically viable?

The H Mart in Hartsdale (Westchester, NY) has a hot food court (My post on Reliable Food Court Eating). That’s also an excellent option for delicious Asian food with ingredients straight from the supermarket. This is as close to Asian local/home eating as one gets in the New York ti-state area.

This experience took place in

H Mart
400 Hillside Ave
Williston Park, NY 11596
(516) 699-0270

P.S. This is my 6th of 17 challenge, writing one post a day until I go on vacation this month.

Wanderlust Singapore- Thai Express at the Esplanade Theater

My friend wanted to take me to the mini Hawker center at the Esplanade. Unfortunately, it’s not open until late afternoon. We settled into Thai Express for lunch. Thai food here is rather different than Thai food back in New York. It’s more flavorful and more varied.  It’s not a menu designed for fusion Thai-American cuisine.Hor Mok Talay: Thai seafood otah. Grounded seafood with spices,  grilled in a banana leaf. A Bangkok Street Favourite ta-noň ah-hahn. Yummy Otah!Khao Phat Supparod Talay: Pineapple fried rice with seafood. The nuts and the seafood are surprisingly good. Not sure about the pineapple; it didn’t come through clearly for me. The fish floss was great with the seafood friend rice though.This was their special for the day, boring fried chicken with rice, for a picky daughter who often wants Italian pasta while in Asia. Fortunately, she did rather well with the other dishes and we ended up with a lot of leftovers.Sen Lek Neua: Stick noodle with sliced beef in beef broth. Ok, this is the Taiwanese beef noodle soup, 牛肉麵. The soup base was rich, thick, and filled with the five spice flavor.  This is one of my favorite noodle dishes and it is also on my last meal list. So happy to have it here in Singapore. Khao Niao Mamuang: Sweet glutinous rice with fresh mango and coconut milk.  I wasn’t sold when my friend suggested this dessert. But I figured when in Singapore, go with a local’s recommendation. Am I glad that I did! The glutinous rice and the coconut milk combo was heavenly. Adding mango to the mouthful is like adding a cherry on top. Didn’t think rice could be a dessert but it is.  I will now retract my statement of “Only French desserts are true desserts.” This is something to love and to have in the tummy.

I must say that I didn’t think much of Thai Express when I first walked in. It is a chain restaurant. But the looks can be deceiving. The food was packed with umami; the menu options are plenty and authentic. Perfect Thai food in Singapore.

Recommend.

This experience took place at

Thai Express
Esplanade
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-13D Esplanade Mall
Singapore 039802
Tel: +65-6533 6766

Fusia in NYC – 紐約市的昇Fusia餐廳

I have been missing Taiwan a whole lot recently, for its warmth, familiarity, comfort and a sense of self it evokes. I feel homesick although home is here in New York. To honor my sense of displacement, I will write this Fusia Asian Cuisine restaurant post in traditional Chinese and submit to the fact that this post will get no SEO ranking in English whatsoever. #HomeSick

Fusia 是一個位於曼哈頓市中心的亞洲餐廳。我和我的家人在聖誕節晚上去看百老匯音樂劇,Matilda, 以前去那裡吃晚餐的。那天真是很糟的一天,如果我能重新開始,我一定會改變我的做法,不去曼哈頓! 這一家餐廳是很中式的,客戶服務不頂好,讓我們坐在洗手間旁邊。 因為這是我第一次來這兒,看了一看,餐廳裡大部份都是美國華人還是亞裔美國人,大家都說英文,連餐廳的服務員也說英文。唉呀呀呀呀!真完蛋了!

所以我點了很美國式的菜希望他們能至少能煮美式的中餐。請下面看看。

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Grilled Tofu Skewers: Peanut sate sauce. 這盤豆腐是馬馬虎虎的。我真的是很想要吃台灣的臭豆腐。但因我在美國流浪二十九年,不長回家,我真需要好好學會忘記食物的記憶,不然眼淚就哭也哭不完。

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Thai Calamari: Sweet chili sauce,為什麼這是泰式的小管? 笑死人啊,這是炸得很懶的義大利式的小管。難吃難吃。也很醜,長的像洋蔥圈一樣。

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Miso Soup: Shiitake, seaweed, tofu, scallion。 普通,沒啥好喝。我家煮得比這兒好。香菇切得薄點兒。

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Singapore Noodle: Thin rice noodle, egg, celery, carrot, pepper, onion, bean sprouts, sesame in curry sauce. 新加坡炒米粉煮得很適合美國人口味,很美式。蝦子很多很大,讓妳覺得值得這個價錢。但是,因為他太美式了,很讓我想念台南的柦子米粉。去年暑假有po過,按這兒看。也讓我想起一位董阿姨煮給我們吃的台式米粉和大腸麵線,越想肚子越餓。

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Shrimp Wonton Broth Noodle:Thin egg noodle w. clear chicken broth, baby bokchoy, shiitake, enoki。這是我老公的菜,老公是我家的大廚師,所以我沒有問他的意見。 結婚這麼久了,他煮我吃,他點我吃, 我不批評!

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Chicken Lo Mein: Egg noodle, onion, cabbage, squash. 這個菜的唯一好處是它很大盤。大盤而已! 足以打包,下一頓再吃。但你真的想再吃這個油油的,滑滑的,少味的麵嗎?我可憐的小朋友喜歡這個菜,她是一半美式一半台式。她也喜歡台灣的肉燥麵。

這聖誕節晚餐是我這輩子最難過的一頓 :不只是因為菜難吃,是因為心情不好。  因為那是很痛苦的一天,不管是多好吃一定會感覺像在喝苦瓜湯一樣。Fusia餐廳是一間很美式的中國餐館,菜煮給美國人吃的。正式的中餐到法拉盛去吃吧。Fusia是沒什麼特別的。

This experience took place at

Fusia Aisan Cusine
677 Lexington Ave @ 57th St,
New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-2111

Thai Angels in Mount Kisco, NY- 你吃飽了嗎? Have You Eaten Yet?

Thai Angels is a cute, middle of the road Thai restaurant in Mt Kisco, NY.  It is a local place that I frequent for its Wonder Tofu that bears slight resemblance to my beloved Stinky Tofu from Taiwan.  The food has always been satisfactory enough during the period of drought between my visits to Taiwan.  Twelve days after I returned to NY, I felt brave enough to have my first Asian meal here.

Epic Fail!  I was so disappointed with the Wonder Tofu, seen below.  I am certain that it is made exactly the way it was.  Still crispy.  Still yummy.  It was the diner that has changed.  I came back with a heightened and authentic sense for Asian food and the bastardized version of Asian food in NY just won’t cut it. I really should have waited until I am fully reverted back to the old NY me and completely succumbed to the Americanized Asian food.

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This is the Wonder Tofu. Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It is crispy and the consistency is good, minus the stink. The sauces are still yummy and spicy. But to my “true” Asian palate today, it lacks the nuances and the finesse of the tofu eaten in Taiwan.  I thought to myself while eating, “What am I doing here?”  My brain had trouble processing the signals from the tofu.

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Thai fried rice with chicken. Reliable and with a Thai slant.  Not bad if I were to evaluate it from the American perspective.  Just look at the picture – isn’t it vibrant?

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Pad See You with tofu. Satisfactory from the American perspective.  Americanized stir fry , from the Asian perspective, not even worth writing about.

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Tom Young Goong Soup. Spicy and that was all I could taste.

If I were to view the Thai Angels restaurant as one that serves Americans, the food was decent and even delicious.  It has the umami that food should have. The Thai tea hit just the right spot. I used to love this place and still want to love it. I even love the waitress that serves us all the time. She is nosy and always sticks her nose in my business but I love that. It felt like home.

Depending on what you seek and what your requirements are for Asian food, this is a nice place to come if you live an Americanized life like I will do in the next 11 months.  If you just came back from Asia and miss the food there, avoid all Asian restaurants in the states. 😦

Food creates memories and is an integral part of any culture. The sensation that we get from food becomes emotions and is embedded in our souls.  Make it a good one.

你吃飽了嗎? Have you eaten yet?

This experience took place at

Thai Angels Restaurant
Address & Hours
155 Lexington Avenue, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
Telephone: 914-666-0937
Business Hours
Monday – Thursday : 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday – Saturday : 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Sunday : 11:30 am – 10:00 pm