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Feb 22, 2009 07:16 AM

Someplace New? (hooked on Bangkok Deli) MSP

So yesterday we went to Bangkok Deli, again! We went for the first time in early November and
have probably been 30 times since..Like I said, we went yesterday and we were actually thinking of gong again today! The only thing that stopped us was that we thought it might be embarassing..

Not sure what it is about this place but it's got us wrapped around it's little finger. We usually get the Beef with Thai Basil and peppers and either Red or Green Curry with chicken..oh man.

So I'm wondering what new places people have found that they're obsessed with? Dong Yang on Central is one we plan to try this week that sounds amazing. It doesn't have to be an Asian place. St. Paul is better but we'll go anywhere really..

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  1. Manana for pupusas. I've seen other food on other peoples' plates that also looked good, but the pupusas (and their accompanying curtido) are what keep them on my mind . . . super flavorful, piping hot, great texture, and che-eep! If you are lucky enough to have a little blurb of cheese that leaks out and gets crispy on the griddle, it will be etched on your heart forever.

    Manana Restaurant
    828 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

    1 Reply
    1. re: diesel

      the fish soup at Manana is over the top good and they had gorditas when jfood was there. also highly recommend it.

    2. You don't know how happy I am to learn that I am not the only one with an obsession...

      Anyway, our antidote requires a trip across the river for fear that staying East would cause our strength to dwindle too easiily. We usually go to Brasa for a break, but even that can get obsessive. Our other fallback is the Mercado Central in Mpls.

      Realising that Brasa's new home on Grand Ave is slated to open in May, or thereabouts, means we'll most likely be found at Happy Gnome nursing a fine and new beer, paralyzed by having to make a decision about whether to eat North or South of the freeway.

      cheers. (and Dong Yang's is a fine choice)


      16 Replies
      1. re: HuaGung

        Huagung, you deserve all the credit for our Bangkok addiction..Your glowing endorsements on CH led us there in the first place last fall..

        After trying to convince ourselves to go someplace other than Bangkok yesterday we decided to give in. It was very, very busy so we thought we'd gotten away with it. When the owner saw us though he came up to our table and said "you again?" with a big grin. Busted.

        We thought we should at least try something different so we had the "grilled pork salad" which we kind of made into lettuce wraps. We really loved it, this seems like it'll be a great thing to have in the summertime. We love lemongrass and the pork was full of little lemongrass rings and lots of thai red pepper bits. Our favorite is the Beef with Basil. This is the dish that causes us to lose all sense of reason and go 2 days in a row!

        There used to be a place on Lake and about 1st avenue called Pollo Asado (grilled chicken)
        Brasa is the same basic idea as this place..Pollo Asado was in the old fish and chips place just like the old Saigon on University used to be (complete with the portholes and other nautical decor..) We loved that place in a similar, obsessive, nearly unhealthy way. We ended up having their chicken at our wedding!

        We haven't been to Manana since they first opened but will go again. We got distracted by Los Ocampos and Teahouse...

        1. re: cherrylime

          When they start bringing you food before they've offered a menu, you'll know you're past the point of no return...

          Why struggle, I ask?

          They have a lovely little dish there not served elsewhere in town you might want to try sometime to change things up a bit: ask for Khao Moo Dang Moo Grob. It's a rice pile adorned with sliced red roast pork, and smothered in an addictive sauce. You'll also get a portion of crispy pork belly and a hard-boiled egg. Ask for some sweet soy sauce with chilies in it as an accompaniment/dip for the pork belly.



          1. re: HuaGung

            A couple times ago when we went in he did bring a menu but he just opened it up and said "Thai Basil w/ Beef and Green Curry?" So, we may have already passed that no return point..!

            1. re: cherrylime

              We went there again today ( I know, I'm tired of having to explain..) and got the red pork dish! You were so right it was incredible..Did you say it was supposed to include a strip of fried pork belly? I thought I'd seen it on other peoples plates in the past..we asked about it and they said no..That sauce that comes with it..oh my!..What do you think is in it? soy sauce, chili oil..and we were thinking maybe ginger and tamarind? or hoisin? That's obviously the subject of our micro-obsession..

              1. re: cherrylime

                You have to ask for it, and they probably won't know what "pork belly" means. In Thai, it's called Moo Grob, which literally means crispy pork. In Thailand the dish is served with red roast pork, hard boiled egg, crispy pork, and fried Chinese sausage. Lovely lovely lovely.

                Next time ask him for the crispy pork with it and you'll get it unless they're just out of stock for some reason. It's happened to me a couple times.

                If you like spicy sauces, also try their Kaw Moo Yang Jim Jaew (it's a mouthful to say (the jaew is pronounced like the vowels in "ouch", sort of...)). It's grilled pork neck meat served with a sauce made of toasted rice powder, cilantro, fish sauce, chilies, lime juice, a hint of tamarind and maybe some dried red chili. Really good, really hot.

                It's an "off-menu" item and he may look at you funny when you order it, but persist. It's incredible.


                1. re: HuaGung

                  I went to Bangkok Deli for the first time Wednesday night on impulse to get takeout, came in here to write about it tonight, and discovered that purely by chance, I had most everything you recommended.

                  I ordered egg rolls for my daughter, spring rolls for my husband, and an entree for each of us: chicken pad thai for my girl, Thai beef basil for my husband, and the red pork dish, which I now know is properly called Khao Moo Dang Moo Grob, for me. While I was placing the order, another waiter walked by a plate of something fabulous looking: chunks of dark meat surrounding lettuce, basil and cucumbers. I asked the person taking my order (who was very charming and helpful) what it was. He stroked his neck, explaining it was an dish made of neck pork, and that the guy it was being delivered to "really likes it....asks for it all the time." I started hemming and hawing, thinking maybe I'd change my order, and asked him how much the neck pork thing was. He said he thought it was around $12, but if I just wanted to try it, he'd ask the cook to make some up for me for about $8. So I tacked that on to my already huge order.

                  A woman came out of the kitchen a little while later and the man up front pointed me out to her. I suspect she wanted to see what kind of food hog had entered her restaurant. I just waved cheerily and she grinned, waved back, and disappeared back into the kitchen.

                  I LOVE this place. Service was quick, everyone was friendly, the Thai music videos playing on the counter kept me entertained while I was waiting. Plus, the food!

                  The eggrolls were solidly dull. I wouldn't order those again; then again, I rarely do order egg rolls. I didn't get to taste the spring rolls, but they were huge and according to my husband, very good and not too chewy, with lots of fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, and thin slices of red pork.

                  The Thai basil and pepper beef was outstanding. Very, very spicy, lots of good beef, addictive flavor. My daughter quickly abandoned her pad thai for it.

                  Both of us thought the pad thai too sweet, although the noodles were perfectly cooked and the chicken was good, with none of that slimy quality that some pad thai chicken has.

                  The red pork dish was great. Just enough tasty thin slices of red pork, a mound of rice, hard-boiled egg, and yes, I got the pork belly AND the sweet spicy dipping sauce along with it. Excellent! Although I may not have paired it with the proper sauce.

                  As for the serendipitous pork neck meat--holy cow. That might be my favorite. We made the mistake of being so eager to taste everything that we allowed the sauce containers to become disassociated from the foods they may have been meant to be paired with, but I think I used the right sauce for it a rather thick, reddish sauce, almost a paprika color? Anyway, I had no idea how I was supposed to eat it, so I just wrapped chunks of that absurdly tender, slightly charred grilled pork--just a bit fatty on some edges, in the most delicious way---in lettuce leaves, added some of the basil and cucumber, dipped it in the sauce, and chowed.

                  Besides the sauce I just mentioned and the little container of dark dipping sauce for the pork belly, we had a medium container of a very, very hot sauce with a layer of chili seeds floating on top (which I mistook for crushed peanuts) that I ate with the red pork, dipping sauces for the rolls, and a big container of clear sauce, maybe fish sauce with a little green onion? Maybe one other sauce too; can't remember. Next time I'll be more careful to keep the proper pairings.

                  Now here's the kicker. All these, plus two cans of soda for my carbonation fans, was $41. All three of us ate our full Wednesday night. My daughter ate left-over Thai basil beef for lunch Thursday--my husband and I polished off the rest of that Thursday evening, along with the remaining red pork. Tonight my dinner was the leftover pork neck dish. And there is still enough pad thai in the fridge for yet another meal. So that's 8 delicious meals for less than $38, once I subtract the sodas.

                  I'm definitely going back!

                  1. re: clepro

                    Yay!! So glad to hear you liked it. You ordered my two fav's on their menu... my other fav right now is the Doo Dee Noodle soup. What a horrible name, right?

                    The clear "sauce" you got with the green onions floating in it actually wasn't a sauce, but a white pepper broth that is served with the Khao Moo Dang Moo Grob. You just eat it like soup. My wife loves it because her mother makes a nearly identical thing for her when we go back to Bangkok. I'm not crazy about it because I'm not a big white pepper guy. I usually just give it to her. Other than that it sounds like you got the right sauces with the right dishes! I'm also thinking if you got something fish saucy it was probably meant for the pad thai or the fresh spring rolls, but I can't be certain based on how you described it. I've never gotten take-out from there so I don't know what they send along by default. My wife always orders specific sauces (by habit) when we go.

                    We eat there twice a week on average, but I fear can't hold a candle to the venerable Cherrylime for visit frequency. The owner told us on Tuesday she is creating a new menu which she plans to release in August. She is developing recipes, etc., now and claims the new menu will be much much larger than the current offerings, maybe a hundred things she said. Wow.

                    And, what ever else will I do once August comes but camp in a booth at the Bangkok Deli and feast until they turn the lights off?



                    1. re: HuaGung

                      Yea, doo dee noodle soup is a terrible name. Especially when you say it quickly. But that won't stop me from ordering it next time.

                      I felt like slapping my forehead when you explained the clear "sauce." Yes, it's a broth, not a sauce. I stuck my pinkie in it that night and it didn't taste like much, so I just put it away. But now that I know it's a white pepper broth, I'll go retrieve it from the fridge for an afternoon snack. Thanks for the explanation.

                      Any thoughts about the oversweet pad thai? Do you think they might have been catering to what they assumed were my tastes, or is that standard, do you know?

                      I shall look for you in August. And before!

                      1. re: clepro

                        Pad Thai is a dish we never order in the States because of "tampering" tendencies by restauranteurs. In Thailand it's a pretty benign dish, which people jazz up to their own tastes with a condiment tray. Most Thai people add sugar to it, and a little fish sauce, maybe some lime juice, maybe some dried red chili or whatever else they have at hand. Remember, in Thailand it's more a snack than a meal, so people will often season it to whatever taste they feel like eating at that moment. We both prefer it less sweet when we eat, but admittedly we don't eat it much around here.

                        You can ask them to make it less sweet for you and they will. The Thai way of saying that would be "pad thai gai mai wahn," which means "pad thai with chicken not sweet."

                        The really spicy sauce you had (the paprika-colored one) goes with the pork neck. it's called jim jaew and is made with tamarind, dried red chili, lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, and fresh chilis all mashed together. It can be wicked, but it's chock full of flavor as you now know. It's also great with any grilled meat, especially beef.



                        1. re: HuaGung

                          I just went back for our second time this afternoon. The food is amazing. My first time I ordered what sounded interesting. It was tough to decide, but still good. This time I ordered all the suggestions you've made. They were amazing!!! I loved the Do dee soup (sp?) and the pork dish was incredible! Thank you!!! I am bring my Dad this week!

                          1. re: FusilliFarfalle

                            HA! we went today and ordered the Kaw Moo Yang Jim Jaew which is the grilled pork dish that Clepro spotted and ordered and that Huagung suggested above as an "off menu item". Well I'm speechless. That dish was absolutely incredible. We ordered it and our waiter didn't seem to understand at first. Then I said I think it's "grilled pork neck" As I was saying this he pointed to his neck and said "Ok I have to check if we have it". He came back and said yes they did and also said "Sorry, we don't have a booth for you today".

                            This is one thing I don't think has been touched on..the service almost equals the food..Everyone has been friendly and accomodating, always. Then he says ok so the grilled pork and the Beef W/Basil? umm yes. (I don't know why this is slightly embarrassing but it is..)

                            You've all already heard me wax rhapsodic about the Beef w/Basil so I'll spare you that (I'm pretty sure they sprinkle crack over the top) The Kaw Moo Yang Jim Jaew however, is just unbelievable (please refer to Clepro's descriptions about the yumminess) The dark sauce with the floating chilis was the one we got with the pork. And this is the "Jim Jaew" that's the sauce component of the name (let me know if I've got this wrong Hua G) and the sauce made the dish for me. I asked our waiter about it and he said it was his favorite too. He said he loved to have grilled meats with this sauce and some very very cold beer or some whiskey. (once the weather turns we plan to re-create this on our back patio..) I asked how to make the sauce and he said next time you come I'll get the recipe, my sister makes it.
                            Sunday afternoon is the busiest I didn't push it but I plan to get the recipe next time.

                            1. re: cherrylime

                              Next time I go, probably Tuesday, I'll take photos of the Jim Jaew. Jim Jaew is lime juice, fish sauce, a smidge of tamarind, crushed red chilis, garlic, cilantro, toasted rice, and is generally really really hot. The dark stuff with the chilis actually floating in it is usually called See Euw Nam Jim. "See Euw" is the phrase for soy sauce. It's a sweetened soy sauce and then they toss in chopped fresh chilis. Like I said, I'll take photos and post them and then you can see which one is which.



                              Glad you liked my favs. I'm going to have to suggest politely to the owner that she carries a larger stash to accommodate all the new fans...

                              1. re: HuaGung

                                Yes. my husband says.."where's the off menu menu?" So I think the Jim Jaew came with the grilled pork (the off menu thing..) and the See Euw is the one that come s with the red pork? I love them both and want both recipes from "the waiter's sister" I thought of getting photos today..I do have this nagging feeling that we'll overwhelm them..

                                1. re: cherrylime

                                  Yep. Right on both. Jim Jaew with the grilled stuff, See Euw with the Khao Moo Dang Moo Grob.

                                  I'm going to be watching for all of you now. See who's getting the good stuff! BTW the waiter's sister is the owner/chef. She's been a professional chef for 30 years. Crazy good talent if you ask me. Her husband is the handsome dude handling the cash up front and occasionally waiting tables.



                                  1. re: HuaGung

                                    My husband and I nearly argued yesterday over the leftover Doo dee noodle soup! It is incredibly. We both kept sneaking into the kitchen for more and more. I finally came back to polish it off and he had just left me with broth! It was still great though! I think we are going back on Thursday with my Dad. Thanks again!

                  2. re: HuaGung

                    has there been a menu change? I asked about the dish with pork neck meat and the waiter pointed me to #25(IIRC). not sure if this is the same thing you're talking about but it was damn good, and I loved the insanely hot sauce it came with.

                    also, is the "red pork" dish #17?

        2. Not new, but semi-recently moved: Saigon. Best banh mi. Ever.

          Now I'm a woman of a certain age, and spend plenty of time awake at 3 am (check posting time :-) ). The food I am generally thinking of is Saigon's banh mi. The pho is amazing as well.

          Yep. Obsessing again.

          So hungry!


          1 Reply
          1. You have no idea how relieved I am!!! We thought we were going nuts for thinking about Bangkok Deli every weekend - my wife even had a dream about the place the other day :) We live in Chaska so going to St. Paul is quite a drive but the food there would make me want to drive even if we lived 4 hours away. Any ways enough on my obsession with Bangkok deli.

            We are thinking about trying Saigon for the first time this weekend. I love Banh Mi but my wife is not a big sandwich fan. Would there be other good food at Saigon? I looked everywhere but I couldn't find a menu.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rjayasuriya

              Yep, Saigon has a big menu, and I've liked everything that I've tried. I bet you'll be tempted by something other than a sandwich.

              Their soups (pho and more) are really good - great broth, nice noodles. My favorite is the grilled pork rolls - they're appetizer rice-paper rolls (aka "spring rolls") with chilled rice noodles, sprouts, and herbs - everything is cold except for the warm grilled pork. Yum!

              Note, however, that the meat is usually a bit gristly and fatty, which I like (and view as a hallmark of an inexpensive Vietnamese place). It's definitely not an upscale restaurant, even though the decor is nicer and much cleaner than the old place. But if you're a regular at Bankok, Saigon will seem downright swanky!


              P.S. Me, I'm addicted to Punch pizza - we cycle through the same two or three pizzas every week or two, as take-out (I rebake them when we get home, to warm them and further crisp the crust). The one time we ordered something different, the cooks made the order-taker call us back to be sure we really meant to have a "non-standard" pizza. That's a sure sign that they know us too well....

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                The new Saigon is "downright swanky"! You're right, it is much cleaner than the old place but I can't decide if I prefer it..Something about the "hull of a schooner" decor of the old place really attracted me. The new Ikea curtains etc. kind of leave me cold..but I'm a big weirdo.

                Anne, Punch is in my top 3 obsessions..I don't think I'd be recognized as a regular but I do think about it all the time...mmmm..D.O.C.......

              2. re: rjayasuriya

                I agree wth Anne on the pho. Delicious. In fact, I have never been served anything I disagreed with at Saigon.

                The new location is nice, thankfully minus the portholes from the old (Arthur Treachers? Long John Silver's?)location. If you go now, try not to get a seat by the secondary door on the east side. Veeeeery cold. Ask for the back of the room in cold weather.


                1. re: rjayasuriya

                  That's so perfect, I had a dream about Bangkok too. (by the way my husband is now saying "don't write about it on there everyone will go!!" but the thing is, I think this makes it appear as though only crazy people would like it. We went again today..)

                  Wow, I guess I would probably drive from Chaska too if I were you.. We feel pretty lucky these days because even though the pickings are slim in our area we live within 2 miles of Bangkok, Teahouse 2 and Los Ocampos in every direction...and Manana for that matter..East side, Yo.

                  Our favorite dishes at Saigon are the rice noodle salads..and the pho with either beef, meatballs or roast pork. We went there for the first time since they reopened about 3 weeks ago and it was just as good. We love anything with the grilled pork in it especially the rice noodle salad (I used to know the number on the menu but not since they moved! ) They were definitely our obsession for awhile..The lemongrass chicken is really good too.

                  1. re: minncalif

                    Here it is..!

                    Bangkok Thai Deli & Supermarket
                    315 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103