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Is there any good, authentic, non Americanized Thai food in Boston?

Desperate for great Thai...

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    1. Search on Dok Bua and Khao Sarn (both in Brookline).

      Dok Bua is very good authentic very spicy Thai, especially if you order it "pet pet" or "pet ma" -- I forget the difference, but they both get you some real heat.

      Khao Sarn more refined Thai, but some outstanding traditional dishes including the salmon haow moak and the miang kum, a zesty little appetizer composed of spinach leaf, dried shrimp, peanuts, lime, cocunut, a tamarind chutney -- you bundle it all up and eat it in one bite. Fabulous.

      We're lucky we've got some really good authentic Thai in the area.

      5 Replies
      1. re: yumyum

        I like the salmon haow moak a lot too, but it's not really traditional in the sense that the dish typically incorporates a white fish, likely basa, and salmon is rarely used in Thai cooking, just because it's not as often encountered in the native Thai waters.

        1. re: limster

          Is it native to Cambodia, then Limster? I tried to google but turn up empty-handed on where the haow moak is "traditional" to.... all I know is it's a great dish you wont find elsewhere in metro-Boston.

          1. re: yumyum

            Woops, sorry I was not clear -- haow moak is a traditional dish, but the use of salmon in the dish isn't traditional. Kinda like making coq au vin with squab or turkey.

            I'm not sure if haow moak is also found in Cambodia, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. We have variants in Singapore (and presumably Malaysia) where the mousse is wrapped in banana leaves and grilled.

        2. re: yumyum

          Well, "chawp phet" would mean you like spicy food. "phet phet" basically is saying "very spicy". "mai phet" means _not_ spicy. I tend to stick to English to avoid confusion :-)

          1. re: Sgt Snackers

            Yeah, if you stick to English they will definitely get it right. I usually stress the heat I want at most Thai places expecting the dishes to be dumbed down for Americans. My friend made the mistake of telling our waitress to make his dish "kick my ass spicy". He could barely get through it..and that was just after returning from a trip to Thailand.

        3. In addition to Dok Bua and Khao Sarn, I'll add Montien in the theater district. Be sure to ask for the Thai menu.

          re the salmon how moak, I've been buying a pretty fair frozen version from Super 88. It's made in Thailand from farm raised salmon ..hor mok pla..so maybe the Thai are expanding on the traditionally used white fish version.

          reheats real nicely in a mw.

          1 Reply
          1. re: 9lives

            I'm suspending my recommendation for the Super 88 frozen "hor mak." Had 1 today and it wasn't nearly as good as the last few times..also made with a white fish.

          2. Apart from the other recommendations here, Montien near Chinatown has an authentic Thai menu (separate from the regular menu, and you may need to ask for it) that is fantastic. Warning: "chicken finger salad" is, in fact, chicken _feet_ (what was I thinking anyway?) I am not sure if the Inman Sq location has this menu or not (earlier reports said they were planning on it).

            I also like thew Similans near Lechmere -- some very interesting and authentic dishes on the menu if you know how to order. (True, the menu there is also full of Americanized dishes like "mango chicken curry" but there are some real gems there too). They're owned by the same folks as Brown Sugar.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sgt Snackers

              What's good at Similans? I work across the street and would love to take out from there ... I tend away from noodle dishes, but towards beef salad with all kinds of fresh herbs and larb. Any rec's?

              1. re: yumyum

                Gosh, it's been a while, but I remember there being a couple of pages of fairly interesting and authentic Bangkok-style thai dishes on the menu (perhaps not all in one place). We've had a few of the spicy salads there, fried catfish salad, the whole fish fried with peppers and basil, and mu yang (grilled pork). Have never been disappointed, but, some of the dishes are a bit on the sweet side -- I find this to be a feature of many Thai restaurants in the US and wonder whether it's worth asking them to cut out some of the sugar next time.

                1. re: Sgt Snackers

                  "Sweet" was my impression the first couple of times I ate there. My palate doesn't swing that way so I've never bothered to try it a third time, but maybe I should check them out again. Thanks for the reply.

            2. I like Montien. Has anyone tried Phuket (sp?) in West Roxbury, I think it's only been open a few months?

              3 Replies
              1. re: ptrefler

                Phuket is EXCELLENT - fantastic pad thai, great grilled entrees, and definitely feels lighter and less greasy than most Thai restaurants. Got a very good review in cheap eats a few weeks ago...

                1. re: sallyt

                  thanks am going to try it asap it's right down the street from me. Saw the review.

                  1. re: sallyt

                    just went to Phuket for the first time last night. it was delicious! definitely more of a sit-down place than takeout, which is a nice change from the way i usually eat thai food (sitting in front of the TV!). food definitely tasted fresh and healthy, and portion sizes were on the smaller side, a nice change actually.
                    can't wait to go back!

                2. Nud Pub near Cummington St. & Commonwealth Ave., off the BU Central stop on the Green line. I recommend their chicken pad thai dish. :) Enjoy!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: onetnecm

                    Having spent a great deal of time eating food from Nud Pob, I'd have to say there not all that authentic - they serve a real purpose on campus (e.g. cheap, good, filling) but you can tell that there are certain characteristics to their food that are lacking.

                  2. Bangkok Blue is Thai-owned in Copley Square, and they have wonderful dishes. However, you have to say "Thai style" when you order so they know not to make it Americanized. They used to have a separate menu with other Thai dishes, but I haven't been there in some time.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jenga

                      I've never had anything that good there, honestly. I would put in the same class as Bang Chaing (or whatever) in JP. Plus the service is terrible. But maybe I'll give it one more chance ....

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        my mother-in-law grew up in thailand, and she loves it. have you seen the thai menu? my friend confirmed that there is a separate thai menu. if you don't mention that you want things thai-style, i think you'll get the usual americanized dishes.

                    2. Rod Dee's is the most authentic by far. I like Dok Bua, but it's not super interesting. I find Khao Sarn over-rated and Westernized. Rod Dee will make anything you want and do it amazingly well.

                      1. Agree on Rod Dee but I find Khao Sarn excellent as well. Lam's on Washington Street in Newton if that's your neighborhood.

                        1. Our favorite is Pepper Sky Thai off of Central Sq. Let me preface by saying that I'm not really an expert on what is or isn't truly authentic, but we love Thai, and they've got dishes there I've never encountered before in other restaurants. I'm always deeply satisfied here. I wish I could remember the name of this one particular dish, on the menu its described as being a "purist's noodle dish" and it's spectacular. There's also the very good sunrise curry (if I'm remembering the name correctly), which is a yellow curry with an egg broken over the top -- it cooks as you stir the whole thing together. Yum!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: litchick

                            I agree with your rec about Pepper Sky for that side of the river - it seems they have unusual items on the menu and they are not afraid to use some spice.

                            For other side of the river, I route for Dok Bua.

                            FYI - Whatever you do, I'd stay away from the Thai Hut on Washington Street between Kirkland and Inman Square. Driven by this hole in the wall a ton of times, but never stopped because it looked sketch...but then I figured, if it's been there for two plus years, how bad can it be? The answer? kinda icky. Went with "safe" chicken pad thai, which was extremely bland, the chicken mildly overcooked and seriously under-seasoned - it was basically this gelatinous mass of noodles, and well, there was this funky, funny taste that eventually went away as I kept eating. I won't be going back.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              ohgodohgodohgod... that place is THE PITS! Skanky, dirty, and wierd tasting food. Convenient, but so not not not worth it. Gah, you just brought back sense memories of a deeply unpleasant meal.

                          2. So glad to find people who don't recommend 9 Tastes in Harvard Square as "authentic!" I have yet to find a place in Cambridge/Somerville I love, so I want to venture to Boston.

                            Any places w really good tom yom or interesting spicy salads like yam ma muang. I have yet to find even vaguely authentic tom yom in boston, and i miss it so much!! always tastes musty here, like maybe the kaffir lime isn't there or was frozen?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: stateofames

                              Som Tum (green papaya) salad at Khao Sarn is moderately spicy and absolutely delicious.

                              1. re: BobB

                                Thanks, Bob. I love som tam, too. But no word on the tom yam? i lived in thailand and environs for 3 years and am in bad need of a tom yam fix.

                                1. re: stateofames

                                  None that stand out above the rest (the only impressive one I've had recently was on a visit to Singapore), though I must admit I haven't tried Dok Bua's version and they are the best in the area at most other things - overall, better even than Khao Sarn, in my opinion, despite my love for Khao Sarn's som tum.