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Mar 21, 2007 09:59 PM

Thai Angels - authentic?

I passed by Thai Angels at 285 College just west of Spadina many times and always found it completely empty. However I was intrigued by the menu posted outside, as apart from regular Pad Thai there was a "Pad Thai, Thai style". So today I went to try it. Well it had not a single hint of red colour or tomato flavour. The tartness was provided by small pieces of what I thought was pickled turnips. It also had quite a bit of dried shrimps, along with the fresh version and chicken. Later the owner/chef came out to ask how I like it, as it is the authentic way it's served in Thailand. They were shocked at the ketchup version of pad thai found here when they arrived, so they opened this resto four months ago, which offers real Thai flavour. What I thought was pickles were dried white radish. Can anyone verify if that is authentic Pad Thai?

I also had the ginger tea, it's actually brewed and not tea bags or instant stuff like some other restos offered, it was not too sweet and had just the right amount of bite.

Tonight I was the sole diner and two people came for take out. They are hoping for more business as the weather gets warmer. If they are indeed authentic, I'd hate to see them closing their doors soon!

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  1. Pad Thai is a very loose term in Thailand; hence the term "authentic", when applied to it, must embrace a large umbrella of variations in themes and ingredients. Certainly they would never deign to use ketchup or tomato sauce in their Pad Thai, but the sauce and composition differs dramatically - while, of course, demonstrating certain common themes - from kitchen to kitchen. From what you mention here, though, it sounds like this would probably fall into the authentic category; pickled white radish is a common addition (and a delicious one - if you make your own, go to Chinatown and buy a jar of it) to Pad Thai. I'm curious, and not that this determines fully authenticity, but what was the principle sauce ingredient? Tamarind?

    I've never noticed this place before, although I work at U of T just near that intersection. I'm going to have to pop over and check them out since I've had a bitch of a time finding edible non-N/Aicanized Thai food in the city. Anyone know if they have a website?

    6 Replies
    1. re: vorpal

      Yes I think I tasted tamarind in the sauce, also fish sauce. I did not see a website printed on their takeout menu.

      1. re: vorpal

        Yep, tamarind is used in more "authentic" recipes, to that are added fish sauce and palm sugar to make the sauce. I am amazed there actually is a place in To that makes pad thai like that - thank you for the rec !

        1. re: corinaci

          Evidently Salad King also makes 'authentic' pad Thai. Here is their recipe (which I posted earlier, but seems to have mysteriously disappeared), from a CBC Radio show--'Here and Now'.

          1. re: corinaci

            Here's my own recipe. I omit shrimp and tofu, not being a big fan, but, of course, they could be easily added back in. I'm quite happy with how it turns out.


            I'm under the understanding that Pad Thai in Thailand typically does not have chillies in it. I've never encountered an actual authentic Thai recipe that contained any chillies save chili radish, which had a tiny bit of kick but is still mild. I might be wrong, having never been to Thailand (soon, I hope!), but I suspect that this too is a product of North Americanization of Thai food.

            1. re: vorpal

              I have been to Thailand and my experience was that no chiles are used in the making of Pad Thai, but there are often a few different kinds of chiles available on the table. Locals can be seen sprinkling dried chiles, pickled chiles in vinegar, white sugar and fish sauce in any combination and quantity until their Pad Thai is perfect ... for them.

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                Fresh Thai hot peppers are not an ingredient in traditional pad thai. Follow the link below to a picture of pad thai the way it is commonly served in Thailand. Note the fried egg perched on top, and on the left side of the plate, top to bottom, are piles of crushed peanuts, hot pepper flakes and sugar. Serving it this way allows the eater to mix in as much or as little of those ingredients as he/she wants. Often the bean sprouts will be off on the side too, as well as a spray of young banana flower that adds a nice flavor and crunchiness.

        2. Hi Teep!

          Thanks to your post, I found myself having pad thai (thai style) and panang shrimp at Thai Angels today. It was gooooood!!
          The pad thai was yum, not too greasy and not a hint of ketchup. As you said, there was lots of dried shrimp, tofu, chicken, two pieces of large shrimp, peanuts, and beansprouts. The panang shrimp is actually not even on the menu, but since there was panang chicken and panang beef on the menu, they said no problem to the shrimp request. It came in a large bowl with plenty of shrimp and lots of the panang sauce, which was so good to eat with the rice.

          The service was a bit weird, since the waitress was all the way at the very back of the room, she didn't notice anything going on in the restaurant. There was nobody when I first came in, but then a group of 3 and a single diner came in during my meal.
          The cook was actually the ones bringing out all the dishes and checking to make sure if we liked the food and also filling our water. I don't know where the waitress that was there at the beginning went, but he did everything! He was also really nice and friendly.

          I hope they get more business as well... it was cloudy and kind of rainy today so maybe that explains the lack of customers, but I would definitely go back there to try out some other dishes.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sumashi

            Glad you liked it! I feel sorry for them coz every time I walk by there's at most 4~5 diners (usually 0). Hopefully they can keep it open!

            1. re: jlherman

              Yeah, this is one of the places I'll occasionally stop into for lunch, and it is nearly always deserted. It's not the best Thai food I've ever had, but it's a darn sight more authentic than, say, Salad King. The chef is a sweet guy who really does seem to put his heart into what he's doing. As a general rule, I avoid the lunch specials - generally pretty blah - although he does have his own Thai-style take on pho that is a nice change of pace from the Spadina strip. I'd like to see him succeed, but am always kind of amazed that he's still open every time I walk by and see the place empty.

          2. Yum! I've lunch here a couple of times, and both times it was such a relief after having to eat bad Thai food. I've had the pad thai, tom yum gai, and vegetable curry. The pad thai was as Teep described it, and the vegetable curry had some character to it with kaffir lime leaves and other bright flavours. Among the usual carrots and red peppers were bok choy and bamboo sprouts, as well as small cubes of tofu.

            1. FYI, they had a table at 1000 Tastes of Toronto today at Luminato. I had the pad thai and a spring roll - both very good! No tomato at all in the pad thai.