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May 9, 2009 10:31 PM

Is there ANY good thai food on the Peninsula?

I like Bangkok Bay and Camerahn Bay OK but are there others mid-Peninsula that are good? Pls do not suggest Thai Time which I give thumbs down to.

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  1. I have really only had OK Thai food between Redwood City and Mountain View. Not a lot to get excited about. The places we go I wouldn't tell anyone to go out of their way to.

    11 Replies
    1. re: P. Punko

      I'd have to agree. I'm Thai and this is the first question I'm asked whenever I meet anyone new. That being said, I have had pretty good food at a little Thai place on California Ave in Palo Alto called Lotus that's not bad for the limited things that I order (and whether you like a particular Thai place or not really depends on your usual go-to dishes).
      The Thai farmer I see at the local farmer's market says that Lotus is his best bet, you just need to tell them to make it "Thai style" (easier for me since I speak Thai).

      1. re: Pinkster

        Can't speak to mid-Peninsula, but a bit further north, I had some good meals at Thai Nakorn in San Bruno a few years ago. Any updates? And my favorite is the Sunday morning brunch at the Thai Temple in San Bruno.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          We've been going to Thai Nakorn for years and enjoying it. All the salads we've tried are very good--not quite as vividly flavored as those in Thailand, but that's a terroir issue and can't be helped. I find the curries on the bland side, but DH loves his curries. (The red and massaman curries are tastier than the others.) Noodles are not bad, but not very consistent with the char.

          I'd say a good meal would start with the corn fritters or pla duk foo, followed by duck salad, catfish salad, pork larb, sticky rice, pork with fresh green peppercorns (when available), and maybe sriracha noodles with shrimp. . . Now I'm hungry.

          1. re: pilinut

            Thanks, loved the catfish salad at Thai Nakorn.

            I've ordered it at other places, but none as good as that meal.

            Thai Nakorn
            464 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066

        2. re: Pinkster

          I ate at Lotus only once. The dish was about as mikeyjr has described Thai Time - sauce was thin, tastes were muted. Wasn't a second-try kind of place. You'll have to explain what you order and how to say "thai style" in thai.

          I did like Basil Leaf on University the one time I tried it before it closed, but then it closed.

          1. re: bbulkow

            Well the most common complaint from Thais about Thai food in the U.S. is that it's too sweet. There seems to be a widespread belief that the American palate tends to want that. So when I order in a Thai restaurant, besides ordering it Thai-level spicy for my husband (who does like it "smokin"!), I will tell them (probably twice) to please not make it sweet.

            But then again, because I do get to Thailand a couple of times a year, I'm not going to order yum pla dook foo here in the U.S. I might order green or red curry, but I'm more likely to go with Thai "comfort" food - which is more like pad see eew or lard na for me.

          2. re: Pinkster

            Can you please tell us how to say "thai style" in thai?

            Thank you!

            1. re: Austin_1007

              Well it is a tonal language but I guess you can give it a try!

              "ped baab khon tai" means spicy like for Thai people. "ped" means spicy, and the "p" is soft, kind of like a cross between a "p" and a "b" sound in English.

              1. re: Austin_1007

                Asking for "Thai hot" will usually do the trick.

              2. re: Pinkster

                Pinkster, can you tell us what limited things you order at Lotus?


                1. re: thejulia

                  As mentioned above, I usually get Thai comfort food - pad see eew, lard na, fried rice for the kids, maybe a Thai omelette with minced pork, garlic/pepper pork and usually either a panaang or a green curry.

            2. I like Erawan in RWC better than Bangkok Bay mainly because Bangkok Bay wouldn't make my food spicy (that and the food was generally bland). I haven't been to Erawan for a while because I took a Thai cooking class and have been cooking Thai food at home, but from what I remember most things were pretty decent although not amazing. Their Pad Ta Lay is my favorite... I love how the green beans are still a bit crisp.

              6 Replies
              1. re: lrealml

                I just tried Erawan for the first time last night - we asked for our curry to be "Thai spicy, not American spicy. Very very spicy please." The guy nodded, and when we got the dish, it was mildly spicy...we still had to ask for extra chili powder to get it to the level of heat we desired. To be fair, when we ask for the same thing at BB, they just throw in some extra chiles and tell us to bite into them. I thought the food taste was the same level at both restaurants, except at Erawan the service was ridiculously slow.

                1. re: alina555

                  I know it's a Thai restaurant, but if "Thai hot" doesn't do the trick, try asking for "Lao hot" or "Lao spicy". Lao hot is Thai hot on steroids.

                2. re: lrealml

                  Same experience here with BB.
                  I miss woodside thai spot. There, they'd make it SMOKIN.
                  Which is why I often mention nipa-pon to the north - with all their downsides, they know how to turn up the heat.

                  Maybe there's something in the neighborhood - the usually reliable Crouching Tiger did me "white guy spice" for a take-out order last night. Sure it's still good, but the ma po had no numbing at all.

                  Whoever solves the spice calibration problem will be filthy rich forever. I would pay $10/month, easy, for a little card to carry around validating my level of spice tolerance.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Once, many years ago, I went with a friend to a Thai restaurant that had the menu marked with 1-2-3-4-or 5 stars for heat. He ordered something with 5 stars, and the waitress argued with him, not wanting to give it to him that hot. The way he finally convinced her he was "serious" about it is that he told her he had lived in Thailand. (He really had.) When he said that, she just said, "oh, ok" and gave him his very spicy dish. I took one bite -- it was all I could take of it.

                    1. re: Kim Cooper

                      I have that experience constantly. I usually do better in person, where I can fix them with a steely gaze and say "spicy!" My girlfriend likes spicy, but not quite as much as me, so sometimes I'm overenthusiastic and we get a dish that I consider quite hot (but edible) and she considers inedible.

                      The business in question would have to create "reference packets" for the cooks, and show a little sign in the window. I'd carry a little card rating me at 4.5 spices. Or, alternately, no rating, just showing the card means I've taken the spice reference certification and can be trusted to order as to my whims.

                      But what bugs me no end is a single inconsistent restaurant. I've had that same dry fried chinese dish from CT multiple times, and it's always been as spicy as they come, I love it, then I get a version with no kick. I don't get what happened this time, because I had to pick out the meat from among the hot peppers. Humph.

                3. Krung Thai has the most authentic Thai food I've found in the SF Bay area (or they did seven years ago, the last time I was there). Here's a thread


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Paul H

                    Krung Thai had a good deep fried fish in sweet & sour sauce: ปลาราดพริก
                    Bpla Raad Prik. If a restaurant doesn't offer this, they are just faking it :-)

                  2. I'll restrict my answer to Burlingame - Redwood City

                    --Nipapon (good pineapple curry chicken)

                    --Sirayvah (if you're okay paying double for organic ingredients)

                    --Thai Satay (though when I went last time I only thought it was okay)

                    If you're willing to go farther south, I strongly recommend Shana Thai. I think right now it's my favorite Thai place in the Bay Area.

                    Sirayvah Organic Thai
                    366 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA

                    Shana Thai Restaurant
                    311 Moffett Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

                    Thai Satay Restaurant
                    173 E 4th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

                    121 W 25th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403