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Jul 14, 2008 11:53 AM

best real thai food in Vancouver?


I've hit several places so far and haven't found much that i like. Looking for very authentic places, preferably that gear their food towards local Thai people. Preferably N.Thai and Isaan stuff.

So far i've been to Urban Thai Bistro, Thai House, a place on maybe Burrard whose name i've forgetten, and Simply Thai on Hamilton. Simply Thai was the worst of the bunch and ridiculously expensive: the somtam was made w/ what tastes like canned/jarred chili (as opposed to made/chopped to order) and contained no dried shrimp and hardly any peanuts. The sticky rice (5 dollars!) was not really khao-nio at all, but was mushy overcooked piping-hot regular rice. Nice people working there, but the food was Simply Bad.

As rec'd here, i plan to try O-Thai, and Montri's once they reopen.

Any other suggestions?

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  1. I just posted this on another thread. I like the food at Sawasdee Thai Restaurant on Main street. I have no idea how authentic it is, but it was tasty. I would be interested to hear what you think of it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mawson Plan

      Along with Montri's and O-Thai, I think that Sala Thai, Sawasdee, Wimaan, Arroy D tastes pretty authnetic. I have not been, but I hear from another food forum that Baan Wasana is good too.

      1. re: fmed

        Having never been to Thailand, I can't wait to see the recommendations. I usually go to Sala Thai because it's close... the food is yummy even though they tend to overcook the meat and shellfish. I can't say how authentic it is though because I have nothing to compare with.

        Poor Arroy D, stuck in the Canada line freakshow. I would go there just to get their taro dessert (to go?). It's a baked taro custardy cake with fried onions on top. Fragrant, barely sweet, hint of smoky savory... yum. I don't really recall how the rest of the food is.

        1. re: smel

          i tried O-Thai was the best of the bunch so far...not the pure rootsy Thai of my dreams, but the somtam was adequately fish-saucey and spicy, the sticky rice fine, and the chicken&cashews ok...i'd go back try more things...

    2. I went to Thailand a couple of years ago and when I came back, I had cravings for good, authentic Thai food, but every restaurant I tried didn't really hit the spot. I became so desperate, I ended up calling the Thai embassy for recommendations! They were actually really nice and recommended Montri's (this was before he retired) and Wimaan. Maybe they have some updated suggestions?

      9 Replies
      1. re: im_hungry

        yeah, it's addictive, isn't it?...especially the somtam...i think i crave chilis now the way some people crave's one of the great luxuries of living there that you walk down most any street and you'll find a stand w/ an old lady making somtam to order that's better than anything available in N.America and it costs about 60 cents.

        I'll keep searching Vancouver and report back. Sawasdee and O-Thai are the next on my list to try.

        1. re: Simon

          I prefer Sawadee over Salathai, although over the years I find their food to be declining. As well, it's saltier than I would prefer but still delicious paired with rice. If you venture into Burnaby, there's a place called Tom Yum on Hastings right by Shoppers. The service is slow but the food is quite tasty and my preference these days.

          1. re: gourmet wife

            It looks like we are getting take out fromm Baan Wasana tomorrow night, after the parental units gave it a thumbs up whilst dining in recently. I know it's not entirely fair to judge a place by take out but I'll do a post on it anyway with that caveat...

            1. re: grayelf

              As promised a quick report on Baan Wasana takeout: overall, the food we ordered was decent but not stellar. The two standouts were the eggplant and the pineapple fried rice. The other items we ordered were pad thai, bbq pork appetizer, tom ka gai and tom yam goong (no pix), yam woon sen, larb gai, beef with basil, garlic pork/prawn, pla lad prig (whole tilapia), and plain rice of course. The meal came to $104 for 8 people, so not expensive at all, but the flavours just weren't there. I found the balance of salty, sweet and sour (not to mention the elusive umami) that are a hallmark of good Thai food to be missing -- most dishes were pretty one note. Again, not really fair to judge entirely on a) one meal and b) takeout so I may dine in with the P2s to give a fairer assessment.

                1. re: grayelf

                  I'm still looking for a Thai place that doesn't use broccoli or bell pepper. Filler, I say.

                  1. re: fmed

                    Amen, fmed -- though if done exactly right, brocolli in moo gratiem can be awesome cf. Sawasdee's version. Bell pepper, never!

                    1. re: fmed

                      I know what you mean, I hate that. The thai places in NY all use gai lan instead. I hat getting pad si ew with broccoli but I love it with gai lan.

          2. Things are looking up - Scout is reporting that Angus An is closing Gastropod to open up a Thai resto called Maenam.

            Angus worked for David Thompson at Nahm in London. (The Thai government contracted David Thompson to help set up a training program for Thai chefs. He is known for serving very authentic food. Angus An is married to a Thai as well).

            Too bad about Gastropod (a restaurant I enjoy), but I think we have too many of those types of restaurants already here in town. Vancouver needs an authentically Thai place (especially since chef Montri retired.)

            Here's to Thai food without broccoli. This will be good.


            1. Here is Thai community in Vancouver, Canada.