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Thai food in Central Jersey

Good Thai food is scarce in central Jersey--we have an overabundance of good Indian and Korean--but not Thai. Pad Thai in my home town is overly spiced and the fresh flavors of the food are, in my opinion, covered up.

So, much was the joy in my household when we discovered Bangkok Cuisine this weekend in the Shoprite shopping center at Route 1 and Old Post Rd in Edison. The owner comes every day from Queens and gives a lot of attention to the food.

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  1. Far East Taste in Eatontown is the best I've had. Don't expect much ambiance, but they make some fantastic food. Richard, the owner/chef, will let you chose the level of heat that you prefer for your selected dish. You can go for a wimpy "1 chile" all the way up to a super hot "5 chile" mouth burner. Either way, you'll love the fresh and distinctive tastes of his entrees and soups.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Anco

      I, too, really like Far East Taste. If you go, don't expect a typical range of Thai dishes. Richard does his own interpretations of Thai food. The food is hearty and comforting. He also has a standard Chinese menu.
      The fish is good because Richard catches it himself. It's one of the few places where you can get real locally-caught ocean fish in season -- like blackfish and ling. You can get whole fish prepared various ways. For real comfort food I like basil fish -- chunks of fried filet in basil sauce. I also like the tom yam bean curd soup.

      Far East Taste, 19 Main St, Eatontown, NJ (732) 389-9866

      1. re: val ann c

        I also agree that the food at Far East Taste is some of the best around. There are actually dishes from 3 cuisines on the menu: Chinese, Thai and Malaysian.

        Our favorite Thai restaurant is Thai Chili, in Spotswood. It's in a small strip mall (Romeo Plaza) on Summerton Road, and from the outside, one would expect a take-out joint. However, while they do do take-out, the interior space has about a dozen or so tables, and the decor is charmingly attractive. Service personal are very pleasant and efficient. Most important, the food is well-prepared and delicious. We recently had a deep-fried whole fish (striped bass?) with mango and vegetables that was superb!

    2. We went back with friends a couple of weeks ago just to see what it is that I am missing about this place. I think that Val sums it up nicely when she says that the dishes are Richard's "interpretations" of Thai food. And I agree that the food is hearty and comforting; we found the ingredients to be fresh and tasty.

      But for me, all the dishes taste about the same. And, sure, you can ask for the heat level to be from 1 chili up to 5 chilies--but there will be no perceivable difference in that range. There is no heat to be had here. We brought our own bottle of Sriracha as a precaution, and it helped. But it didn't help enough. I really wish that I liked the place more.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Deb Van D

        wondering if anyone has tried the malaysian food?

      2. Try Thailand in Clark, on Central Avenue. It's in a renovated diner, it's very easy to pass by. Great food, frequently so crowded you have to wait for a table unless you get there on the earlier side. Heat level way up there, every time I say medium, I regret not saying mild :-) Extensive, varied menu, and the service is good. I always hate to recommend this place because it's too popular as it is and we find ourselves having to eat earlier and earlier in order to get a meal there, but I also feel guilty not passing on the info to those who seek out good food.


        1. Sorry to disagree Gabbeh, but I find Bangkok cuisine not to have good thai (greasy, tasteless. I also do not enjoy Sawadee <sp?> in my hometown of metuchen, again, greasy and salty. I will try Thailand in Clark and possibly Far East Taste as suggested above. I am still searchng for very good-excellent thai in the central jersey area, but none have come close to my earlier experiences at the queens NY restaurants :-(.

          1. Shows you how sad the situation is in central Jersey. Can't blame me for grabbing at straws. What do you think of Mie Thai in Woodbridge.

            It is sad that central Jersey is such a wasteland for Thai.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Gabbeh

              I'm going to dissent here and say (as someone who grew up in NJ and then moved to Los Angeles) that Mie Thai is about as good as Thai food gets in Central NJ. You do need to be careful what to order, though -- the pad thai there is terrible, but the pad kee mao is very tasty (and not on the menu); the tom yum goong is terrific. The curries were passable. Pad prik king was great. Don't order anything deep-fried, it'll lead you to heartache.

              Also, it's the only Thai place I've been to in NJ that will actually accommodate my requests for "Thai spicy"; most places still dumb it down.

              I haven't been to Pad Thai since I was taking summer classes at Rutgers and working in Edison, many years ago; but I remember it being terribly greasy and if you ordered things spicy all they did was jack up the chilies without adding any flavour.

              1. re: Gabbeh

                Ok, my, it has been sometime since I returned to read all the replies.

                these psts are becoming way too much and I need to write all of these places down and try and couple. Westfiled may be the closest, so I will try that one. I am not sure Gabeh, Mei thai has received several not so good reports, not certain I will try.
                Somerville: I WIL write that I thoroughly enjoy Origin in Somerville for their lunch specials, however, I went for dinner one saturday evening and was not as impressed (maybe psychological...wonderful ambience, but then a not so wonderful dinner)...thai kitchens are great for lunch, never been for dinner. Been to the thai chef in Somerville for lunch and did enjoy it....oh well....

                1. re: dragonguy

                  If you're going to Westfield, Clark is literally right there and Thailand is authentic while Splash of Thai is not. I'm not discouraging you from trying that one - just pointing out the difference. The recent issue of NJ Monthly (I think that was the one) had quite a good review of Splash and again, even tho I had issues with it - they have nothing to do with the quality - we did have a very good meal there. But if it's real thai you're looking for, seek out Thailand in Clark instead - no glitz, just good food.

                2. re: Gabbeh

                  Mie Thai is my favorite restaurant bar none. NYC is even a wasteland for thai. I've tried a bunch of Thai places and nothing has compared to the quality of Mie Thai. The food is delicious, portions are pretty big and service is decent. It has a very serene atmosphere also. They also have another restaurant in North Brunswick, NJ on Rt 27. My recommendation would be the veggie spring rolls for an appetizer, Moo Tod Rod Prig for an entree (crispy pork in a chili sauce, order extra mild if you want normal spice) and the chocolate saucey cake for dessert!!!

                  1. re: Gabbeh

                    Thai Thai Cuisine in Old Bridge has really good food. I wouldn't know if it's authentic, though. Has anyone here eaten there that can tell if it's authentic?

                  2. I went to Mie Thai once about a year ago. I was very disappointed. Most of what we ordered was ordinary. My fish was downright bad. Perhaps it was just a bad night, but I won't be returning.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: val ann c

                      I'm with you on Mie Thai. We went there for the first time a few years ago. Given how much praise it receives, we had high expectations which were severely dashed because the food was, as you said, very disappointing. So, that first time became the last.

                    2. hello:

                      So, ok, it's not Lotus of Siam, but ...

                      I like Far East Taste, Thai Chili, and Pad Thai. I also like Mie Thai, esp for their lunch special.

                      To be specific, the fish specials at Far East Taste, the papaya salad and Tom Kha soup at Thai Chili, and the Thai fried rice, Sausage salad, Prawn and avocado curry, and (only if you really like garlic) the Garlic Shrimp or beef at Pad Thai.

                      Great - now I'm gonna have to get some thai for lunch ;o) What we really need is a good thai place that delivers.

                      *edit* You are right of course, RGR, but do you think they would bring it down to Freehold?


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: seal

                        hey, seal, Thai Chili does have free delivery.

                      2. There is a Thai/French place in Somerville called Origin. Not straight Thai, but excellent Thai flavors layered on heartier seafood, chicken and red meat entres, as well as the usual run of noodles and curries.

                        Only concern is that I haven't been there since they expanded or since they opened an outpost in Morristown. Hopefully, they aren't stretching themselves too thin.

                        That said, there's a set of Thai Kitchen's (unnumbered, II, and III) in Bridgewater, Raritan, and Hillsborough. I've been to Bridgewater and Hillsborough, and impressed with both.

                        1. Splash of Thai in Westfield, NJ (South Avenue) is delicious. (Same owners as Khun Thai in Short Hills, NJ). The decor is classy, the service is great, and the food is amazing. I've had the drunken noodles (ask for extra spicy), grilled beef, and the Three Flavored Red Snapper (whole fish). I just moved from NYC so - I was actually quite impressed by restaurant overall.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: towergirl

                            Ok, there's been a lot of discussion of Splash of Thai when it opened. I was one of the first to review.

                            I really enjoyed it however, I would not say it is authentic at all. It is more thai fusion in a sense - many dishes are not being prepared in a pure fashion. Plus the preparations are way too fancy schmancy. Also, quite pricey all things considered. Service was horrendous at the beginning - really just terrible. A lot of complaining, walkouts, etc. I hope this has cleared up in the months following. We've stayed away because of that alone and have been looking forward to a return trip. Has this improved?

                            But the food was delicious and the atmosphere is lovely. I just would not go expecting a true authentic thai experience but I would recommend it, with small caution, nonetheless.


                            1. re: sivyaleah

                              Laurie, I ate at Splash of Thai at the end of May, and the service was fine (we've gotten take-out several times since it opened, and that has always gone smoothly). Some odd things about it, though...for example, we all ordered sodas and they brought them in individual bottles instead of pouring them into glasses first. It's really strange to have one of those little ten or twelve ounce bottles with a Coke label sitting alongside a fancy place setting. I felt like I should be ordering pizza instead of pad thai.

                              Mary Elizabeth

                          2. Hi Mary Elizabeth :-)

                            That's good to hear. I do remember you mentioning that the take out went ok. Pretty odd about the sodas. Maybe their dispensing machine was out of order?

                            I'm curious, were they the glass or plastic bottles? Glass would show "some" class LOL.

                            We'll have to make a point of going back soon.


                            1. They were glass bottles, the "single serving" size you might get at business meetings.

                              1. Try Thai Thai in Stirling(not quite central NJ..but close!). I have been there quite a few times and really like it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: vlewis

                                  I wholeheartedly second Thai Thai in Stirling. They have the best Pad Khee Mao in the world! You must order it Thai hot though. It is definitely worth driving to from Central Jersey. In fact, it is worth driving to from anywhere in NJ or NYC.

                                2. Has anyone tried Aroma?

                                  1. Where is Aroma ?

                                    Its interesting to see how varied the opinions are of Thai food in the area. We certainly don't lack a large number of restaurants in the area... in fact it seems there is a new Thai place everywhere you look.

                                    In the past, we enjoyed Four Season(s?) Thai on Stelton Road in Edison. A "zero" on ambience, but nice food. However, some service issues have turned us away.
                                    My current favorite is Bangkok Cuisine on Old Post Road in Edison, where as someone mentioned above, the owner really cares and the food is well prepared. He even makes his own homemade ice cream for dessert, and once I ordered the mango sticky rice he would not serve it because the mangos were not ripe.
                                    Also enjoy Thai Kitchen (II) is the one in the Somerville Circle, I believe, which is a bit more "americanized" but very good. (They also have one in Bridgewater on Prince Rodgers, and one in Hillsborough)
                                    I am not a fan of Origin, I think they are too big for their britches, and was put off by their attitude so much I would not eat there, plus I think its over-priced. Some people rave about it. They have expanded to a new seafood place (Madame S) across the street, and someone mentioned an outpost in Morristown also.

                                    Years ago Thai Chef was the only game in town, up in Montclair, and had good food, but they have been eclipsed by other more authentic and better places. The Somerville location seems to be struggling and a bit lackluster, now with an added sushi bar for no apparent reason.
                                    There is also Chao Phaya in Somerville, which is pretty good but even the ice water seemed SPICY!!!
                                    The recently opened Sukothai is also scary, we drove by on a Friday nite in the springtime and the place was EMPTY at 6:30pm... not a good sign, and to be honest it had a bad smell in the place.

                                    Happy hunting.

                                    1. Pru Thai in Clinton is my favorite. I highly recommend their Green Papaya salad and the Crying Tiger dish. They are always busy and are now expanding next door with a Tea room.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jesifuentes

                                        Thanks for the recommendation on those two dishes. I haven't tried those. I always get the fried calamari -- not very exciting, I know, but they fry it so utterly to perfection that I can't resist. The Thai restaurant in Frenchtown is supposed to be good, but haven't been yet.

                                      2. I see the posting, above, on the Mie Thai that's in Woodbridge, however, as I was driving to Dosa Grill on 27 in South(?) Brunswick, I saw a Mie Thai on 27, south of Cozzens Lane (i think). Is this the same people? Anyone been to this branch of it? I think I'll check it out, but would love to hear feedback if anyone's been.

                                        1. The Mie Thai down on 27 is owned by the same people--I haven't tried it yet. I did try Aroma last night. It is owned by the same person who owns Ruppee Room on Route 1 and Commerce Blvd. The food at Aroma was tasty and creative, but I thought the dishes too saucy (both as in cute and too much liquid--even though the liquid was delicious) and it lacked the crisp vegetables that I like in really good Thai. Still, it is worth a visit to taste the way they make adaptations on traditional thai food.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Gabbeh

                                            Gabbeh, FYI: Aroma is I would guess that different style of Thai from a different part of the country. (It's a big, long country, and Aroma's food is from the cooler part, so saucy and warming. (All those Chiantg Mai restaurants are in homage to a city in the north.) Most Thai we get is Banghok style, sophisticated, often with French influences (Origin is that, in spades), both of these in contrast to Phukey (yeah!) on the coast in the south. I find Aroma dull foood-wise, the people attentive as Thais usually are.

                                          2. Gabbeh--we went to Aroma last year and were really disappointed. entirely possible that we ordered poorly (tho by now i dont' remember what we ordered aside from a tofu dish and a chicken dish)...what we got all had the exact same sauce, one which was both too sweet and in which red pepper flakes provided the so-called heat. after reading Karla Cook's glowing review, we were really let-down.
                                            Your experience there sounds way better than ours. Bummer for us!
                                            I've been to the Thai place in Metuchen--we liked this the best, ordered medium hot and WHOA, the one right by the train station (sawadee?), the one across the river from New Brunswick (we thought it was rather lackluster and greasy), and the one out near Parsippany which was too-sweet. I am pretty convinced that the menus in Parsippany and Metuchen were exactly the same, as in same owners, but def. different chefs.

                                            I've never eaten at the famous Sripraphai, but i'm starting to think that I just don't like Thai at all. Which is odd b/c I didn't think that was the case.

                                            Seems like you been to a lot of the NJ Thai spots. If one were to make a big schlep from Princeton, where, of all the places in this thread, would you say is the don't-miss spot? Thanks!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: brownie

                                              Last night went with my son to his favorite Thai place--unfortunately it is in Jackson Heights, Queens. Reminded me what good Thai food is like and why I have been so disappointed with all the Thai I have tasted in Jersey. This place is called Zabb (or Zaab)and it is on Roosevelt Road. The balance between meat/fish/poultry and veggies was just right, the tastes were fresh. I think the only solution is to appreciate the great Indian and Korean food we have in this area. Sawadee is the place in town in Metuchen--haven't tried it. Used to go to the one by the train station but we found the portions kept getting smaller.

                                              1. re: Gabbeh

                                                Can you tell me what Korean restaurants you like in the area?

                                                1. re: taste test

                                                  keum ho jung is great korean on old post road in edison, next to the pep boys.

                                            2. I must admit I haven't really tried many Thai dishes; I'm still in the Pad Thai phase!

                                              Out of these restaurants which one serves the best Pad Thai? I've had (in order of how much I enjoyed it) Mie Thai in Woodbridge and Thailand in Clark.

                                              Any recommendations on other dishes to try? There was a Thai restaurant near my old home town in New York that had a great dish Pad Panang that was a duck dish with the Panang sauce, really good.

                                              1. Whoever said Origin in Somervillle was overly impressed with themselves, hit the nail on the head. The food there is actually pretty good (and a good value at lunch, not such a value at dinner) but they are a bit aloof. Their dinner choices stray more into the French-Thai range. The 3 Thai kitchens (Bridgewater, Raritan, Hillsborough) are also pretty good but we can never get them to make the food hot enough, hot barely registers a tingly. Best of all is Chao Phaya on Davenport Street in Somerville (though they have a new location on Easton Avenue just outside of New Brunswick ...Franklin?). Love Chao Phaya, crave it actually. No afraid of spice, 2 peppers (on their 3 pepper scale) is plenty hot, 3 is insane, our friends frequently ask for "1/2 a pepper or 1/4 a pepper". This is always our first choice for Thai in central NJ. Everyone we take there (alot of combined Thai experience in that group)ends up raving about it.

                                                1. Just an update - went back to Splash of Thai this past weekend for the first time since it opened. Service has improved significantly - this was the reason we had stayed away so long. Our first visit was marred by the confusion between the kitchen and waitstaff.

                                                  Food here really is quite good but I still say it is not exactly pure thai. Not that this is a bad thing. Before I begin, excuse my lack of names of dishes - I'm no expert in thai food, and also many of their dishes don't have thai names either.

                                                  I started with the Mei Krab (we always laugh over this, it's a Southpark thing). It was listed a crispy rice noodles with strips of fried egg over the top with tamarind sauce. It got even better because there were 3 large shrimp on top also, which was not listed. The portion was enormous. I really enjoyed this alot and my husband, who does not eat seafood, helped himself to the noodle portion with much gusto. His appetizer was a curry puff. We've had this at many thai places and unfortunately, this one was not the best of the bunch. It was rather flavorless actually. The pastry puff was nice, but it really needed a lot more curry flavor for the filling.

                                                  I was not in the mood for heavy entree, so I had seared sea scallops, which was served with grilled vegetables and sticky rice. The scallops were very fresh, served with dab of spicy sauce on each of them. Surprisingly, one of them was NOT hot, although the other 5 were. Weird. The veggies (zuchinni, squash, carrots, eggplant, mushrooms) were simply grilled and I think buttered and had some kind of herbal undertone I couldn't quite place. The sticky rice was something I'd never had before and I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Dark black, very gelatinous, not unpleasant but not something I could eat a whole portion of.

                                                  My husband had a dish of wide soft noodles with chicken and broccoli and a sauce which reminded me more of a chinese type of sauce - had a lot of soy in it. I don't rememember the name of the dish. However, it was very good.

                                                  We split a creme brulee for desert - a bit heavier than it should have been in texture and there was no "crack" on the top to speak of, but very intensely vanilla (it was real vanilla, the flecks of the seeds ran through it). I had a small pot of tea too, which was very nice tea.

                                                  Dinner came out to about $60ish, before tip. We realized that if you took out the desert and 1 appetizer (because normally we split one) this was just about what we normally spend in Thailand in Clark and frankly, we're getting kind of bored with it lately and, sad to say - we think the quality may be slipping somewhat (it pains me to even say that). Splash of Thai is practically around the block from our house, although we've heard the wait for tables most nights is ridiculous (we were lucky - it was very early on a Sunday so we were seated immedately).

                                                  I'm glad we stopped in again, and we'll definately put this place back on our list of places to frequent.

                                                  1. I was just in Somerset last weekend and as the result of an inquiry to my fellow Chowhounds, went to Chao Phaya Thai Cuisine restaurant.
                                                    I was delighted. I had an excellent appetizer, some Thai Dumplings. They were identical in shape to what I have come to recognize as Shumi dumplings, served in many Japanese restaurants. The resemblance ended with shape, although the basic filling had shrimp paste, they had added some very nice additions and they were very tasty. I followed that with Tom Yum soup (Chao Phaya’s version) and as an entrée, a curry named ‘Spice for Life’ which contained shrimp, calamari, mussels, scallops and veggies – all in a nicely spiced red curry sauce.
                                                    I had intended to return and sample the dishes with duck in them, but was spending a limited time there and didn't get a chance. Next time.

                                                    1. Not one mention of Siam Garden in Red Bank? Surprised

                                                      I always thought that was great Thai food

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: mm5

                                                        I did one of their mutli-course tasting dinner a few years back and left unimpressed. I've had better at many other establishments for half the cost. Since then I have failed to return and instead satisfy my Thai fix at Far East Taste,

                                                        1. re: bgut1

                                                          Far East Taste has been under new management for almost a year now. Not as good as it was...

                                                        2. re: mm5

                                                          Is Red Bank really central jersey though?

                                                        3. I like Siam in Lambertville and would consider that Central Jersey.

                                                          1. I went to Chao Phaya in Somerville, and was very disappointed. Their satay tasted sour, and the sauce was gritty. The pad thai was a disappointment as was the cashew chicken dish (don't recall Thai name). It came so highly recommended, I was bummed. The veggie fried thai rice was ok but too many large, bizarre veggies and too many tomatoes. I absolutely LOVE Pru Thai in Clinton - worth the drive for us - their tea is out of this world! Much spicier and more flavorful than Chao Phaya...

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: claytonsmum

                                                              Chao Phaya is flat out awful! If you'd read the little review I wrote about the place you would've saved money and gas. Here it is:

                                                              In fact, one of my recent rants was about just *how* disappointing the place was after it got raved about as *Fabulous! Unbeleivable! Fantstatic!" etc. Try Thai Kitchen in either Bridgewater (the original) or in Raritan. Their consitency is suprising and you can ask to spice your dishes as you wish. The Pad Thai is always made fresh, one portion at a time, and the beans sprouts still have some snap to them. You'd do well to get a reservation in the evenings, and if you go for lunch (Big bargain) be sure to get to either one a few minutes before noon; by 12:05 there's fifteen wait for a table!

                                                              1. re: mmgpsych

                                                                Interesting. I haven't been to the location in Somerville, but the Somerset location is excellent, and I really know Thai food -- I've spent months in Thailand and have many Thai Foodie friends there that gave me a great Thai Culinary education.

                                                                That said, I've only ordered real Thai classics there, not the "Fusion" stuff that so many people think is real Thai food. The Pad Thai there is, of course, freshly made to order. Invariably, it has had a perfect balance of hot, sour, salty, and sweet, with the noodles at the right level of softness.

                                                                Other dishes are equally good and (if you order the Thai classics) authentic for the most part. Here's the thing: When I go out for Thai food, I want Thai food like they make in Thailand. Chao Phaya in Somerset comes pretty close. Pam Real Thai in NYC comes closer.

                                                                1. re: cranrob

                                                                  the bottom line is that thai food in cnj is fairly inconsistent....and i know my thai food

                                                                  1. re: dragonguy

                                                                    There's a couple thai places in CNJ that I feel are up to par. Thai Basil on Centennial Ave in Piscataway is a little hole in the wall place that is pretty good, and its sister restaurant Thai Thai on Rt. 1 in the Shoprite plaza is supposed to be equally good (it has different owners from the restaurant that was there before).

                                                                    Bamboo Leaf in Bradley Beach has always been a homerun. Great service, consistently great dishes, clean ... it's definitely my new favorite place. I wouldn't give up on Thai in CNJ yet.

                                                                  2. re: cranrob

                                                                    A Chao Phaya Somerset Update... Unfortunately, the chef quit. The owner (Kenny) is now cooking, and the food has definitely gone downhill. I hope he finds a new chef soon.

                                                              2. I LOVE thai kitchen II (well all of them). I usually go to the one in somerville circle. The Honey puffs have to be the most AMAZING thing that I have ever eaten. I also love the Curry puffs (for those of you who aren't seafood fans). I also love 'splash of thai' in westfield. I know that it's not as authentic as FOUR SEASONS..which is also a great place. They have the most amazing Massaman curry made with sliced avocados...OMg YUMMM! I still have yet to check out Thailand in clark. Heard rave reviews.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: staceeknj

                                                                  If you live near Somerville, and if you like Splash of Thai in Westfield, you will no doubt be pleased to know that there is now a Splash of Thai in Somerville. It's in the space formerly occupied by Thai Chef.


                                                                2. Hi Gabbeh,

                                                                  Wow, such "heated" disagreements about Thai restaurants in NJ. The idea of authenic Thai food is silly. If you have been to Thailand you would know that the food is, as in most countries, regional.

                                                                  As far as Fusion is concerned, what kind of fusion are you talking about? To call Origin in Somerville, fusion food is to deny the history of French control of South East Asia and the infuence that period had on Thai food. Thai cuisine is naturally fusion food. Whether it's the curries brought to them by the Indians from the west or the wok from the Chinese to the north, the Thai people love to fuse new ideas into their cooking.

                                                                  For my money, the Executive Chef at Origin has one of the best food minds in New Jersey, regardless of the cuisine. His attention to detail and flavor is expressed in his personal take on Thai ingredients meshed with French cooking disipline.

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Glasgowman

                                                                    Has anyone tried Royal Orchid in East Windsor? It's in a shopping center off of 130 South. Difficult to find if you don't know it's there...and then still... difficult to find! Haven't been in over a year but we always enjoyed their food. (I loved the peanut coconut prawns as an appetizer and the thai red chicken curry as my entrée. Love the BYO too. I am Interested in others opinions...
                                                                    Here is a link:

                                                                    1. re: care11

                                                                      Not crazy about this place. It's really not a Thai restaurant at all. I haven't been there in awhile, but the last time I visited there was very few Thai dishes on the menu, and the flavors were bland and unbalanced. The Chef/Owner is from India. Pretty place though.

                                                                      1. re: cranrob

                                                                        Interesting. Like I said, it's been a while but I don't remember their food as bland at all. Maybe it depends what you order. I do like things spicy and always informed them of that when I ordered so maybe that made a difference. Yes, he is from India and his wife from Thailand. We have to try it again I guess. The first time we dined there, we had just moved back to NJ after living in Manhattan for 5 years. It's possible we were just SO excited to finally find a Thai restaurant somewhat close (I remember reading a good review on them in the local paper too). Still miss NYC and all the amazingly wonderful worldly food options right outside our front door! :(

                                                                        1. re: care11

                                                                          When I say "bland" I really mean "lack of flavor depth". Bland is really the wrong word... I think something can be spicy and bland at the same time. The hallmark of good Thai food is a perfect balance of Hot, Salty, Sour, and Sweet giving an amazing depth of flavor. This place never pulled that off for me.

                                                                          1. re: cranrob

                                                                            Hi cranrob, not sure if this is in your neighborhood but there is a Thai place on First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands called Royal Thai. It is rather decent.

                                                                          2. re: care11

                                                                            I have been to Royal Orchid a few times for lunch, although not recently. My two cents - not great but not bad either. I think it is worth a try for any Thai foodies out there.

                                                                            1. re: JerzeyShore

                                                                              FYI: Royal Orchid is now closed. Seems it became an Indian restaurant a few months ago, and now there is an eviction notice on the front door. There was a crew removing the contents of the place last night.

                                                                              1. re: cranrob

                                                                                Thanks for the update! Seems they maybe had an identity complex?

                                                                    2. SIAM BASIL in NJ (Sea Girt area). Has anyone been there lately and how was it? There never seems to be many cars parked there, so I'm a bit leery of it. If it's worthwhile, I'd love to know of dishes & favorites worth trying.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: 007

                                                                        We discovered Siam Basil more that a year ago and at first it was great. However, over time we notice a drop off in the quality of the food. Not bad mind you but not as good as when the first opened. As far as the service it is excellent and provided by very friendly people who go to any degree to please.

                                                                        Based on this I would still recommend ths restaurant. Give it a try and let us know what you think. As far as favorites - anything on their very nice menu is fine.

                                                                        1. re: JerzeyShore

                                                                          Everyone with all of the 'expected' rec's as to Thai restaurants in CNJ (and some that are newly opened); with most of the recommendations probably of posters respective experiences in their backyards. Most of all which I have tried over the years as one of my mottos is "Have Thai, will Travel" . Some of the recs are vg (the original Origin, Mie Thai, Chao Playa) and some very pedestrian (Siam Garden, Thai Basil). Interesting that not a poster cited "Four Season's" in Piscataway on Stelton Rd.

                                                                          I work but 3 minutes from Chao Playa in Somerset, and while I've dined there a half dozen times, and I'll admit that it's good, When I do crave Thai, I'm taking the 10 minute ride to Piscataway (Four Seasons) for this great and authentic cuisine. There is ALWAYS a line there, with my dining last Friday (week before T'giving) as a single had me paired up with an already seated diner enjoying his lunch. Didn't mind a bit in that shoebox of a space as I got to sit and eat much sooner. There's a reason that folks travel to this place for lunch and regardless of the demographics of the area, you will always see many Indian, Malaysian and Thai diners in here enjoying the terrific food. To the original poster, who lives in Highland Park and has Pad Thai as his home based Thai restaurant. They're owned by the same people. That's where the commonality ends. Four Seasons is head & shoulders over the HP location with the menu hardly resembling that which is served in Piscataway.

                                                                          Bon Apetit.

                                                                          1. re: JustJake

                                                                            100% agreed--I can't believe I never mentioned Fourt Seasons on this thread, but I'm sure I did on others. We've been going there for over 10 years, lately we've been going there once a week. No lines mid-week dinnertime. For novices, be cautious about the spice level--their medium would be considered very hot at most other places. But the preparations are complex, portions are generous, and the prices are extremely fair. BYO, of course, but there is a liquor store with a good selection of beers and ales 2 doors down in the same strip mall.

                                                                            1. re: albinoni

                                                                              Could either of you offer any menu reccomendations? I have little experience with Thai cuisine but would love to dive in. If you could be so generous as to share your favorite dishes and what it is that makes them stand out to you it would be much appreciated.

                                                                              1. re: jrd303

                                                                                jrd303, over two and a half years ago I knew basically nothing about Thai food and posted a similar question. Here's the discussion, which may be of help to you. I now eat Thai whenever the opportunity presents itself!


                                                                      2. I would beg to differ- there is a scarcity of Indian and Korean restaurants, at least in the more rural areas like Hunterdon County and portions of Somerset and Mercer. While you still see quite a number of Thai restaurants statewide.

                                                                        However, since you are asking about good Thai restaurants in central NJ, my personal experiences have been good at:

                                                                        Siam Restaurant in Lambertville, NJ

                                                                        Origin Restaurant in Somerville, NJ

                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                        1. re: combokid

                                                                          want to revive this discussion since things have changed but good Thai is still a challenge in Central NJ
                                                                          my favorite place is Chao Phaya Thai Cuisine in Somerset. so far it beat out a couple of NYC Thai restaurants.
                                                                          also tried the Thai is Seagirt. not half as good but still decent.
                                                                          am going to try Far East in Eatontown to see how it does. no idea on the quality, but they are still open.

                                                                          Any others in Central NJ that anyone can recommend?

                                                                          1. re: saphira

                                                                            Saphira, I work in Somerset with Chao Phaya off the boards as a 'go to'. Nice folks, in fact very nice folks who own and work there. It's ok at best. Far East is gone and is now reloc'ed in East Brunswick.

                                                                            The best Thai in Central Jersey remains Four Seasons. IMHO, but then again there are hundreds who feel as I do and continue to patronize it (over nearby Thai Basil, Chao Phaya, etc) . Been dining there once a month for over 10 years now - nothing comes close. It's a shoe box of a store front, and if you're looking for fancy touches, go elsewhere - this is straight up indigneous Thai street food (peasant) at its very best. http://www.yelp.com/biz/four-seasons-...

                                                                            Read for yourself....http://www.yelp.com/biz/four-seasons-...

                                                                            1. re: JustJake

                                                                              For what it's worth, I've eaten Thai food just about all over NJ, NYC, Philly, SF, Seattle - have done so for well over 20 years or whenever I get the chance.

                                                                              I can honestly say, that I've never ordered Pad Thai - folks, you need to take a walk on the wild side once in a while. Until you begin trying other dishes, you will never know the beauty of their food, or their spiciness - which is why anyone interested in this food should pay a vist to Piscataway. And NO, I have no equity in the place lol.

                                                                              1. re: JustJake

                                                                                I'm with you,the same tired chicken satay with a bottled peanut sauce and the ever popular Pad Thai or the Tom Yung Goong but I believe we all realize that Thai restaurants have to offer these favorites to survive simple because diners are comfortable with food they can identify. For Thai food I drive to Queens where there is a larger Thai population and just better food.However I will have to try Four Seasons soon.

                                                                                1. re: JustJake

                                                                                  JustJake, Far East in Eatontown is not gone. I had lunch there today, right after I posted. if desperate, i will go back again, but it is not on my "go to" list. i will probably get fish next time to try, but today basil shrimp, was on the dry side and shrimp was breaded and there was too much broccoli to taste the basil sauce.
                                                                                  i have been to Four seasons once, but probably picked the wrong dish as it left not much of an impression on me. will try again.

                                                                                  1. re: JustJake

                                                                                    Well we tried Four Seasons this afternoon and tried the Tod-mun { fried fish cakes} which was quite good but sauce was lacking heat even after being warned that they season Thai Hot. Next was the Guay teow neau sub {Noodles with beef in curry sauce and hot peppers}Noodles was firm and tasty and the yellow curry sauce was seasoned just right with fresh Thai peppers and lime leaves, this dish carried some heat but not overwhelming. Kao pad mie {Fried rice mixed with pork,shrimp,tofu,egg in a light soy based sauce}. complex and savory in the slightly sweet sauce but again lacking heat but all ingredients was fresh and plentiful. The massaman curry was next and more than any Pad Thai, a way to gauge the kitchen. It was very good with just the right heat and tang from either the lime leaves or tamarin pulp...a keeper.
                                                                                    We really enjoyed our meal and while very good,it still can't match ShripraPhai or Chao Thai in NY.
                                                                                    We were intrigued by Cafe Bua just next door and apparently affiliated with FS, may try their Hawaiian breakfast tomorrow.

                                                                                    1. re: Duppie

                                                                                      And it'll cost you $8-$12 to take the tunnel and $25 to park too duppie.

                                                                                      I'll keep ShiripraPhai and Chao on my list (on the presumption that they're in Manhattan and not Queens). Thanks.

                                                                                      1. re: JustJake

                                                                                        They are both in Queens, and yes it's expensive at the crossings but it's street parking and it's just that good,Sripraphai has dishes that I've only seen in Asia and never in NJ.We generally make a day of it every couple of months and meet up with 4 to 6 friends so we can order a slew of dishes and dine family style.2 weeks ago there was 9 of us and the check totaled $220.00 with tip and our guests from Singapore raved about the food.
                                                                                        I know it's a haul and it can get expensive but the food is like nothing you can find in NJ IMO. The running joke among our friends is that we cross 2 rivers to eat Thai but both restaurants have regulars that drive from Connecticut and Pennsylvania so there's many that believe as we do.

                                                                                        1. re: Duppie

                                                                                          Took train and subway from Red Bank to meet friends there. Well worth it!

                                                                                          1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                                            Indeed it is....Look, I'm not suggesting that I expect anyone in NJ to hop in their car and cross the bridge every time they get the craving for Thai.The restaurants I've suggested are more destination dining than someplace to satisfy a Jones for Pad Thai, but in my mind I'm wasting precious resources and calories eating in the so called Authentic Thai joints in NJ when I know there's much much better an hour's drive away.I still seek a Thai and Malaysian restaurant in NJ that can rival anything that's available in NYC and the outer boroughs.
                                                                                            Have you eaten in one in NJ that can come close to Sripraphai or Chao Thai?

                                                                                          2. re: Duppie

                                                                                            Thanks Duppie. The last time I was in Queens was via one of the expressways going out to the end of the Island and that could have been in the Reagan Administration lol. I'm sure they're great (wish they were in Manhattan) but it is what it is. Seeing your report on 4S tells me that you enjoyed and is as good as it gets on this side of the river.

                                                                                            As to the spice factor, unless they know you as 'regulars', they're very reticient in applying the heat for new diners (did you happen to notice their 'caveat' inside the menu as to 'level of spiciness' ordering) - as you very well know that some folks will be overly exuberant, ask for hot, and then can't touch their meal and begin crying about a refund because it's unedible. But all in all, you were very positive in your review and that's a good thing from someone who has tasted Thai throughout the city (which I cannot avow). It's all good.

                                                                                            1. re: JustJake

                                                                                              Yes I've witnessed diners leave their dinner virtually untouched than admit that their tolerance for heat was optimistic at best. I don't fault 4S for holding back somewhat,they don't know me but I do hope to persuade them to work off the menu perhaps in the future. All in all it was a good recommendation and I thank you.

                                                                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                Mie Thai in Woodbridge is also reluctant to serve really spicy fare ("Medium is veddy hot!"). I've witnessed idiots trying to impress themselves and others with the "You can't make it too spicy for me!" routine, then being unable to eat the dish. I've found that if you are somewhat of a regular customer, getting to know the management helps. When the server hesitates to fire up a dish just invoke their name... "Rich says it's OK..."

                                                                                                1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                                                  We can handle the heat because of our cultural backgrounds and indigenous dishes but when eating in a group and unsure of everyone's tolerances, I typically order mild and request a dish of diced Thai peppers in a bit of fish sauce for those of us who like it spicy.I don't quite understand the must have it hotter for hotter sake people and even with my tolerance there is such a thing as too hot especially if it takes away from the traditional preparation of the dish...Brick Lane's phaal curry and the Atomic wings phenomenon comes to mind.

                                                                                                  1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                    This is true. Most chileheads I've known require a balance of heat and flavor. The other side of the issue involves places that just absolutely will not even properly season their dishes, don't even think about asking for extra spicy. There are some cuisines that require at least a minimal amount of spice, and require those seasonings to be cooked into the food. Sometimes it's just not enough to add spice to the food at the table.

                                                                                                    1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                                                      I've only encountered that in NJ in some South Asian,Thai and Malaysian joints. The West Indian and Latin places I frequent pretty much lets you fend for yourself...you order it hot..we make it hot..you eat it hot..or not but you still have to pay. I admire their adherence to traditional preparation.

                                                                                    2. re: saphira

                                                                                      went back yesterday for lunch. ordered their special called Yummi Yummi (sp?). Will never order again. no flavor at all, but they sprinkled hot spice right on top of the rice. dish is extremely hot for medium i ordered, and i like hot and had very little flavor. service was also so so. they were short staffed. compare to basil fried rice with chicken i had before, it was not worth eating.
                                                                                      i also came to realize something, they must have changed the chef, because the quality is going down on most things. not just my opinion. heard the same from several friends who are from the same region, though not Thai and have been customers for some time (read several years). too sad, as i really like their basil fried rice with chicken

                                                                                  2. We have found that Siam Smiles on Rt 34 is a good Thai restaurant. Never having been to Thailand, I can't testify to the authenticity of the food, We have tried several of the dishes and find all very good. Favorites are Pad Thai and Panang Curry. It seems to be family owned. I think the mother cooks. She sometimes comes out from the back and speaks to us. The service is always good.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: bhagannj

                                                                                      Thanks. i will try that one. will post how it goes.

                                                                                      1. re: bhagannj

                                                                                        I've always liked Mie Thai in a little strip mall right next to the train station in Woodbridge. They have received good reviews from Zagat for years. They do many traditional Thai dishes like whole, deep-fried fish that are nice and spicy and delicious. Anybody else like this place?

                                                                                        1. re: cke25

                                                                                          It gets the thumbs up from me...hands down the best Thai I've had anywhere in NJ.

                                                                                          1. re: The Professor

                                                                                            Love the Mussels appetizer, crispy duck dishes and larb served at Mie Thai. Drive to Red Bank, park down the block from Siam Garden, avoid their bland food and use the money saved to pay for round trip train tickets to Woodbridge...


                                                                                      2. Our first visit to Four Seasons was about twenty years ago and we still consider it numero uno when it come to Thai food in New Jersey. A hole in the wall for sure but it can't be beat by any of the myriad of americanized Thai restaurants around these days.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: JerzeyShore

                                                                                          Say it JerzyShore. Say it as it's right on the money. Delicious, spicy, indigenous Thai at a reasonable price.

                                                                                          Looks like I'm heading there tomorrow since I think I"m going to come into the office - I still may work remotely, but if I'm here in Somerset, I'm at Four Seasons. It's been a couple of months, but that happens in the summer.

                                                                                        2. Siam Basil Thai Restaurant on Rte 35 in Sea Girt, NJ is consistantly wonderful. One of my favorites.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. This thread has so many replies not sure if I ever answered. Siam Spice in Toms River is the real deal. Top notch Thai food in a nice little place.

                                                                                            Will be in Bangkok in a few days to compare :)

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: tom246


                                                                                              Thanks for this recommendation. By coincidence, we needed to be in Toms River yesterday afternoon (not been there since I worked there wa-a--ay back in 1979!), so your mention of Siam Spice -- which I've not heard of before -- was timely. We went for lunch. Shared Chicken Satay, Fried Dumplings, and Pad Thai. All well-prepared and very tasty.

                                                                                              Siam Spice photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                                                              Bon voyage!


                                                                                              1. re: RGR

                                                                                                For others who may not have heard of Siam Spice before, here's the link to the thread about it:


                                                                                                As you will see, it's a favorite in the area.

                                                                                            2. Wow, old thread!

                                                                                              Well, I must mention Rhong-Tiam in Plainsboro. One of my favorite Thai places when I lived in central NJ. Loved the Pad Kee Miao (aka Drunken Noodles) with shrimp. Perfect balance of SE Asian flavors (spicy, sweet, citrusy, nutty).

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: tamagoji

                                                                                                Rhong-Tiam is not a Thai restaurant but rather a "Asian Fusion" melange of marginally authentic and slipshod preparations from Thailand,Malaysia,Indonesia,Viet Nam et al.
                                                                                                I have eaten 3 disastrous meals there, at least 2 of which included still frozen vegetables, ladyfingers with under toasted shrimp belachan,and Drunken noodles that came to the table as one big noodle in a too sweet sauce sauce with no trace of bird peppers or basil. In retrospect Rhong Tiam is well suited to the endless parade of blue shirted salary men and bored soccer moms of the Plainsboro/Princeton area.

                                                                                                1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                  Oh you're right about the fusion thing (forgot about the roti canai, etc).  I just have to say that your drunken noodle experience is so different from mine. I remember seeing fresh basil... noodles were expedited quickly so there was no congealed mess. And I was always impressed w/ the shrimp (nice and plump, good char on the outside, never overcooked). In short, the dish was delsih. I've had overly sweet sauces in other places, which is always disappointing. Would be a shame if the quality declined that much.