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THAI IN PARIS

I am craving Thai curry. What is your favorite Thai restaurant in Paris and what did you love on the menu.

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  1. This thread should get you started. However, Paris is not really the place for outstanding SE Asian food in general.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/729935

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dodo

      Very true and the same can be said about my other favorite, Indian food. But I am living here at the moment and am desperate for something other than bistro and Italian so I'll have to settle for what's here. I know the food in every ethnic group is adjusted to the taste of the people. The French, for the most part, don't like things too spicy so it's not going to be the same as in California, for example, where they are used to eating spicey. Unfortunately or fortunately, I have not yet been to Thailand to taste the real thing.

      Thanks for the link. I will check it out.

    2. Lao Siam.
      Casserole vermicelle, langouste or crab.
      Beef salad.
      Quail fried in its own weight in garlic.

      27 Replies
      1. re: Parigi

        I second Lao Siam. I like the Salade douce, the salade with crispy fish, the dried beef, the ribs with garlic... and a bunch of other stuff that I've recommended in the past but won't anymore as other posters have admonished me for ignorantly pushing things that aren't Thai.

        The deserts are really good.

        1. re: vielleanglaise

          Please continue to make your recommendations. We know you're a UFO and not Thai. :-)
          "The deserts are really good."
          You mean the psychedelic tricolor dessert? It looks totally chemical but is actually very tasty and strangely light. The perfect dessert after a spice-fused meal.
          I never figured out its official name. The patronne and I refer to it as the tricolor.

          1. re: Parigi

            I never remember the name. I do know that you have to order big one though. The little one's for sissies, or whatever the PC name for sissies is now.

            1. re: vielleanglaise

              The little one is Ruby Mix, the big one is Ruby Mix Spécial! They do have the same ingredients though....oh boy, do I want one now!

              1. re: Parigi

                In Lao, it is called rouammit (duh).
                In Thai, I know at least the name of the little red things, thabtim krob (rubies), made to resemble pomegranate seeds and being actually small bits of fresh water chestnut wrapped in a water chestnut flour dough, then boiled, dyed red and eaten cold with coconut milk.

                With green vermicelli flavored with bay toey (pandanus), translucent palm toddy seeds, shredded jackfruit, sugar syrup and lots of coconut milk, they make up that three-colored dessert that my son and I call alien pudding. I notice that Vietnamese and Lao people in Paris order it with their main dishes...

            2. re: Parigi

              Today I went to Lao Siam for lunch. I ordered chicken curry in coconut milk with bamboo and sticky rice. Both were delicious. I also ordered the Rubis. It was good, but probably wont order it again.

              I plan to go again next Sunday for lunch and will order the casserole vermicelle.

              The servers were extremely nice.

              Thanks, Parigi, for the recommendation.

               
               
                1. re: forestqueen56

                  No aromatics in the chicken curry?

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        Not according to my Thai curry recipes.

                          1. re: Parigi

                            From the photo it looks like a red curry base, which is standard for a chicken and bamboo curry. Thus I would have expected to see plenty of aromatics in such a dish in any decent Thai restaurant - I thought it odd there are none visible. Thus it doesn't look particularly good.

                            In my experience I also would expect in addition to basil, shredded lime leaves and some deseeded sliced chillies would be standard. I also checked the five different Thai cookbooks and they all seem to agree - interested in the source of your recipe?

                            1. re: PhilD

                              From the photo I'd rather say it was a green curry base with plenty of coconut milk. Aside from basil leaves just before serving and perhaps indeed a few shreds of makrut lime leaf, there is no other aromatic required than the green curry paste and its basic additions (lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce) as all the aromatics are already in the paste. Also, green curry being generally hotter than red or yellow, no additional chillies are required.

                              One last-second addition I've been shown was a red drop of namprik pao oil to create a contrast, but the simpler that sort of curry is, the better.

                              1. re: Ptipois

                                We obviously have very different experiences and expectations of Thai foods, I am also not certain I have come across lime juice in curries especially not kaffir (makrut) limes: zest and leaves are fine, but not the juice.

                                Maybe it is a green curry but I am used to green curries that have much more of a pronounced green colour; that said I make my pastes with lots of vibrant green chilies, and this may be too much for Parisian tastes so the restaurant uses far fewer. So to me it looked like a fairly pedestrian curry be it green or red.

                                Should green curries have lots of aromatics? I still maintain they do, they should be complex in terms of their flavour profiles and the aromatics complement this complexity. I offer a quote from David Thompson's Thai Food cookbook for his green chicken curry recipe: "The Garnish needs to be crisp and decided in its flavour, so that it improves the curry rather than disappears into it: it almost always includes kaffir lime leaves, fresh chillies and Thai basil and, if the curry is pungent, holy basil, grachai (wild ginger) or white turmeric"

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  I meant lime lime juice, not kaffir lime juice. A must-add for the balance of tastes in every kaeng (curry), with its usual companions palm sugar and fish sauce. That is rather basic knowledge.

                                  I do respect David Thompson but judging from what I've regularly been shown by Thai cooks or in restaurants in a non-book context, the best green curries are pretty unadorned as the garnish goes. A little makrut leaf (shredded or whole), regular Thai basil or royal basil, maybe a little stick of lemongrass, and that's it. If you've made your paste right, you do not need to add a lot to a green kaeng aside from the usual ingredients, meat and vegetables. Krachai, galanga, green chillies, coriander root, etc., all necessary aromatics are already in the basic pounded paste, which has the right amount of green chillies (= lots).

                                  The lesser-quality green curries do have more bells and whistles, indeed, because the base is made from commercial paste and the dish really needs extra aromatics. Adding more stuff is meant to conceal the fact that not-so-great basic ingredients are used. But if you're sure of your kaeng paste, you make it simple.

                                  I don't remember having seen fresh green chillies used for garnish in a green kaeng, and God knows how hot they were. But perhaps I forgot that detail or I have never had the orthodox stuff.

                                  1. re: Ptipois

                                    Pti - your comment caused me some degree of consternation, whilst I use lime juice to balance the flavours in my Thai salad dressings. I had never used it in a curry, and I cook a lot of Thai food, and I make my own pastes (always have). How could I lack such basic knowledge? Time for some research, I pulled our Thompson’s definitive tome “Thai Food”, and of the 31 curries only 3 have lime juice, I then looked up his first book “Classic Thai Cuisine” here he has 13 curries and only 1 has lime juice. I then reflected on your comment it is there to balance the palm sugar, but green curries don’t have sugar, that is only used in red curries and mussaman curries, and as you have said this a green curry, there is no sugar to counter balance.

                                    I make my own pastes and I am pretty confident that I get the pastes right, I am careful to crack the cream, and cook the paste to the point it releases its aromatic flavours. Yet, I still find a good curry benefits from the flavour and texture contrast added aromatics give. I do use lots of chilli in my paste, yet the garnish of chillies adds a different flavour and textural dimension as they are not crushed and cooked. Similarly, freshly cut kaffir lime leaves release their oils and aromas when they are added to the dish just before serving. So in my experience the aromatics added just before serving add a different dimension to the aromatics that are cooked out in the paste.

                                    I have enjoyed a lot of great Thai food in both Thailand and Sydney (which has some amazing Thai cookery) but I have struggled to find equally good Thai food in Europe. In my experience the better the restaurant the more they add aromatics etc. After all why use a cheap bought in paste then use expensive fresh herbs - its illogical. Again in my experience the less good high street and suburban curries tend to be plain and unadorned.

                                    Parigi - I agree I can’t tell what a dish tastes like from a photo, but you can get some clues as to the quality of the dish - the photo gives clues to an experienced diner. I failed to find what I considered to be good Thai food in Paris, and given this thread I hoped the scene had improved and was interested in the discussion and planned to try again on my next visit (we also don’t get good Thai food here in Hong Kong). But then I saw the photo; the curry doesn’t look great, the colour isn’t vibrant: it could be red it could be green. The chicken looks pre-cooked and added to the sauce rather than cooked in the sauce, and the lack of greenery (aromatics) made me think it was a pretty bog standard high street example.

                                    I asked the OP the question about the aromatics because none were evident and to me those are often the difference between an average place and one that is doing great things. I asked the question because I was trying to ascertain whether Thai in Paris was really worth trying, whether it had improved over the years: given these answers I am still not convinced.

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      I felt no consternation from your reply, being all too aware of how misunderstood Thai cooking principles can be although it is one of the best appreciated cuisines in the world.

                                      I think we'll just have to beg to disagree on that subject and say we've had different experiences and training, including on the use of the lime juice/palm sugar/fish sauce trio which is really a staple of curry seasoning (whatever the color), be it in small quantities. Very important for the taste balance which is — far more than ingredients per se — the basic principle of Thai cooking. An essential detail I've found to be misunderstood even by French chefs claiming "Thai influences" on their food while they're just using lemongrass, galangal, etc.

                                      I remain a bit astonished at your assertion that the better the Thai restaurants, the more added aromatics there are in their curries. In my experience it has not been so. As I wrote, I rather witnessed a glut of aromatics when the basic quality of the kaeng sauce was not great, which figures. I've been taught by Thai chefs that your basic kaeng preparation should shine through; really when it is so, of course lots of added aromatics won't hurt a good paste but they will seem a little redundant. So they never used a lot of them. Except of course the final touch of fresh basil and makrut leaf, to bring out the zing. Together with the final balancing using the three ingredients mentioned above, the equivalent of "correct seasoning" instruction in French recipes.

                                      As for the OP's photo of chicken curry, being accustomed to Thai curries in Paris restaurants and not expecting any miracles from them whatsoever, here is how I read it:
                                      The paleness of the sauce only means that they've used very little paste in order not to disturb the notoriously chilli-fearing French palates. Commercial green paste gives a distinctly duller color than freshly made.
                                      The chicken does not look like it was precooked and added to the sauce. Biggish chunks IMO, but they do look like they were cooked in the sauce, and possibly overdone. The bamboo looks like it was cut from fresh, which I doubt, but it could be, judging by the white color. Whatever basil and makrut leaf there may be does not show on the picture (the OP wrote "only basil", so there was no makrut).

                                      So overall this looks like a simple green curry, certainly very mild in taste given the insufficient quantity of paste to begin with, but only from the picture there is no reason to say that it is bad. Anyway one can't judge that from the lack of added aromatics. The proof would be in tasting the sauce.

                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                        Totally agree with the concept of balance or "rot chart" between the sweet, salty, sour, and hot components of a Thai dish. However, this is the concept applied to the dish as a whole. So sugar can be used to balance the sweetness but coconut milk and cream are also sweet so often no sugar required. In green curries that are not meant to be overly sweet (compared to the red curries) as they that element from the coconut. In fact adding sugar would probably take them out of balance - unless you have a sweet tooth and that is the taste you are after. Similarly the sourness can indeed come from limes especially in salads, but often in curies and cooked dishes it will come from tamarind water and in other dishes from coconut vinagar.

                                        Agree the aromatics need to be in balance with the curry: but to me a total visible absence is a cause for concern when I am presented with a dish. They are added when the dish is served so as to be still fresh and add texture as well as flavour.

                                        I also agree with your assessment of the dish in the photo but probably not your conclusion. How can using insufficient paste and lots of coconut milk result in a good curry? It is going to be out of balance, as you say OK for local tastes but really a pastiche of a true Thai curry.

                                        My fear is that if this is an example of good thai food in Paris are we leading people astray? After reading all about the Isaan food I was looking forward to a mind blowing spicy plate of grilled Isaan sausage washed down with a cold Singha. But if the food is tempered for the French palete is it going to be worth seeking it out?

                                        As the Thai's say - Gan Gin Gan Yuu - as you eat, so you are.

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          It is possible judging by the photo that we are not dealing with a textbook Thai kaeng but as Parigi wrote, eating is for enjoyment. Not everybody likes it fiery hot, even in Thailand. If the sauce is correctly balanced, the taste is good. So maybe that green curry on the photo was nothing to write home about, and maybe it was. You can't tell it's not good from the color and the "absence of aromatics", but you can tell it's mild, which is a different thing.

                                          It is true that curries are quite toned-down in French Thai restaurants, and while I'll say that it impairs that the taste balance for those in the know, I also think Westerners exaggerate the importance of chilli and hot spice in Asian dishes, making them seemingly the only criteria for acceptability (that is pretty much Lobrano's position on the overall "Asian offering" in Paris, leaving aside the fact that many Asian cuisines have little or no chilli, like Cantonese or Zhejiang). As if dishes with less chilli immediately became unworthy. But chilli is less important than taste. Oth Sombath in Paris serves Isaan-type food (often based on green pastes) that is weak in chilli but his taste balance is wonderful. Going back to the photo, if the curry tasted good, it was good. Only the OP can tell us, and she did say it was delicious.

                                          I'm afraid I don't follow you at all on the taste balance. When it comes to adding the "taste correctors" for the balance, the choice of them all depends on which particular dish you're making, not on adding this instead of that. Tamarind paste and lime juice are a totally different kind of acidity (to be precise I'd say tamarind has sourness and lime juice has acidity), you don't add them to the same dishes, and above all the sweetness of palm sugar has nothing to do with the sweetness of coconut milk. They're in a different range. So you still have to add the final touch of palm sugar in a dish based on coconut milk as is the case with most curries.

                                          As the French say, "l'important c'est que ça soit bon".

                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                            Of course the ingredients are not interchangeable, that is why your mantra of sugar, lime juice and fish sauce with everything is wrong. If a dish gets its sourness from tamarind rather than lime juice then add tamarind not lime juice. If a dish gets its sweetness from coconuts add coconut (I simmer beef in coconut milk for four hours for curries and it gets sweet enough without sugar), if your salad dressing uses lime juice don't add tamarind etc etc. And yes lime is acid, but it is used as a souring agent in thai food to get the balance between sweet, sour, salty and hot.

                                            Living in Asia I do appreciate the breadth of Asian cuisines and I do fully understand they use heat to a greater or lesser extent. Clearly Chilli isn't a substitute for taste but in a dish that should have heat its absence means the dish is a pastiche. I can't fathom how Thai (especially Isaan) restaurants can be recommended if they are dumbing down the heat for local palates.

                                            I am really glad this discussion has flushed that out as it would be a shame for people to head to Thai restaurants in Paris expecting good food and to be disappointed to find it has been neutered for the local taste.

                                            I dread to ask about Szechuan places - please tell me they don't substitute the pepper because locals can't tolerate the numbing effect and that that is OK because the balance is wonderful.

                                            1. re: PhilD

                                              "Of course the ingredients are not interchangeable, that is why your mantra of sugar, lime juice and fish sauce with everything is wrong. If a dish gets its sourness from tamarind rather than lime juice then add tamarind not lime juice."

                                              Of course. But where did I write otherwise? Previously you were the one who implied that ingredients were interchangeable by saying that one sweetener could replace another, etc. What I precisely wrote is that some dishes require tamarind and some dishes require another sour or acidic touch. Since I am merely recalling the final taste balancing with palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce which is common to most Thai curries, green and all, you don't need to resort to misplaced expressions like "mantra" and "wrong". That is basic Thai cooking and I can't help it if if you've been instructed otherwise and been spared that rather essential detail. In that case we were dealing with a green kaeng with coconut milk, so it's an affair of lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce. Quite simply.

                                              Also if you don't understand the simple fact that the creamy sweetness you get in a dish from a lengthy simmering in coconut milk is a totally different taste component from the tangy sweetness you get from a final touch of palm sugar (which works in addition with the two other elements), then perhaps you should explore the details of Thai cooking a little further, there's more to discover. A dish does not "get its sweetness" from coconut milk, it should have different levels of taste, which may include different levels of sweet.

                                              And be certain that there are wonderful Isaan/Lao restaurants in Paris, as well as Sichuan; no amount of chilli is missing from their dishes, to the point that you have to request a lighter hand if you do not care for that amount of fire. If you don't, you may well receive email from friends three days after the meal with "My palate still feels numb" messages.

                                              "I am really glad this discussion has flushed that out as it would be a shame for people to head to Thai restaurants in Paris expecting good food and to be disappointed to find it has been neutered for the local taste."

                                              I am really glad too, for what would be the value of a recommendation from someone who draws excessive conclusions on all the Thai food a city has to offer from one single, and not very telling, picture?

                                              1. re: Ptipois

                                                Pti - if you read the thread you will see I base my opinion on a combination of factors - not the one picture. My logic is a follows:

                                                1. Lived and/or worked in Asia for 5 years - so have a fairly good level of experience (and now back in Asia).

                                                2. Then lived in and visited Paris - searched for good Thai/Asian food - always disappointed. Good information wasn’t easy to find, in those days the best seemed to be from Pim Techamuanvivit who wrote about Paris on her blog.

                                                3. Noted the recommendations on CH and thought this is looking good, there seem to be some options worth exploring.

                                                4. Saw the recent photo, asked some questions.

                                                5. The answers and subsequent debate (especially the admission that much of it is neutered or dumbed down for the French palate) has failed to convince me Thai food has moved much further forward in Paris. Hence the question: is it really worth checking it out?

                                                6. How much can you tell from a photo? Well I am researching my next trip to Bangkok at the moment. The type places am looking at are highly regarded: Sra Bua, Krua Apsorn, Bo.lan and Nahm in addition to a lot of street food. If you look at images of their food you will see the dramatic contrast to the picture on this thread: lots of aromatics, textural contrasts and rich vibrant sauces. I know which ones appeal to my taste buds.

                                                So no I don’t believe I simply drew “excessive conclusions on all the Thai food a city has to offer from one single, and not very telling, picture” - the discussion part of it has been most illuminating element.

                                                Have I really said ingredients are interchangeable? I thought I was quite clear that dishes get their balance from their core ingredients. I am not saying you use coconut milk instead of palm sugar. I am saying that in a dish with an intrinsic sweetness from coconut milk there is no need to add more sweetness in the form of sugar as it would take it out of balance.

                                                And to pick up your criticism of my my cooking ability and knowledge, all I am saying is that you don’t add lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce to every dish (which really does come across as your mantra). In my coconut example you don’t use palm sugar as a balancing agent because to don’t want to swamp the intrinsic taste of the curry with palm sugar. The subtle sweetness of the coconut meshes with the bitterness of a lot of other ingredients, adding palm sugar swamps this. Similarly with lime juice, if the curry is meant to receive its sourness from tamarind why add another flavour or dimension? Surely by using the same these ingredients for all dishes you risk a uniformity in flavour profile that isn’t very representative of this broad based cuisine?

                                                Clearly my experience is different to yours and I think its is best if we simply agree to not agree.

                                                1. re: PhilD

                                                  "Good information wasn’t easy to find, in those days the best seemed to be from Pim Techamuanvivit who wrote about Paris on her blog."
                                                  I didn't know where else to tuck this in but our great Paris Thai friend has opened her own very authentic place in SF and it's terrific.
                                                  http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                  2. re: PhilD

                                    My cooking experience is nothing like Pti's. But, firstly, I understood that it does not take a large number of ingredients to make a complex taste. There is a difference between complicated and complex.
                                    Secondly, one can't tell from a photo whether a sauce is complex any way. Since you criticize a sauce based on a photo, you mean all you have to do is to look at the pics when you "read" a cookbook. You do not need the recipes after all.
                                    Thirdly, you are asking the OP for an exhaustive list of ingredients . Phil, dining is an enjoyment, not a trick test and especially not a trial interrogation.

                                2. re: PhilD

                                  Whether green or red, it was delicious, but my experience with Thai curries is limited to Massamun curry and Temple of the King curry which is a type of Massamun curry served in a restaurant in Lakewood, California. Both are made with coconut milk and one is quite sweet. I almost always order these.

                    1. if you'd like some Isaan food (very different from Bangkok-style Thai food, but quite spicy and wonderful), i highly recommend Rouammit, in Chinatown...while Rouammit has some curries on the menu, the best items are Isaan dishes like somdam, laab, grilled meats...some of the best Isaan food i've had outside of SE Asia...

                      i personally thought Lao Siam was just ok, but if you want curries, it might be a better fit than the Chinatown Isaan places...

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Simon

                        It is not true that Paris is not an outstanding place for Southeast Asian food. What is true is that we're rather poor on Central Thai food (which is what many people refer to when they say "Thai food"), Southern Thai food (Muslim-Thai, my favorite) is inexistent, but we're darn good on Isaan/Lao food because of France's (um) old relationship with Laos. And our Vietnamese restaurants are quite good (and run by real Vietnamese people).
                        Paris is also graced with decent Cambodian places.
                        Wong Heng used to serve scrumptious Lao feasts (including crispy rice salad and homemade lemongrass sausage), but I think it serves only noodles now.

                        I like Rouammit, it is actually a smaller annexe of Lao Lane Xang on the same sidewalk and they share the same kitchen. Lao Lane Xang II, across the street, was IMO only designed and decorated to attract the yuppie/Figaroscope crowd, and succeeded. It is not bad, even rather good, and has very good desserts.

                        But if you like Rouammit, you'll love Lao Viet, on boulevard Massena, not far. As Lao/Isaan food goes, I consider this place the best in Paris (until I find a better one). And don't let anyone tell you that the surroundings are depressing ;-)

                        1. re: Ptipois

                          True...Isaan food is prob the cuisine i am most picky about, and i was very happy in Paris, and enjoyed the Vietnamese places too.

                        2. re: Simon

                          Oh yes Simon, I just recommended Lao Viet for Isaan food, but actually Lao Thai is also a good place for Isaan/Lao food. Their laab neua is even better than Lao Viet's (but Lao Viet is better for other stuff).

                          1. re: Simon

                            Simon, it was because of your rec that I went to Lao Lanxang (I was going to go to Rouammit, but I didn't write the name down... but I remembered the name Lao Lanxang, so we went there).

                            I've spent some time in Thailand and Laos and the meal we ate was the best I've had since being there.

                            I live in the south of France so I don't get to Paris all that often, but I would make an effort to go back and eat either at Rouammit or Lao Lanxang.

                            Thanks, Simon!

                            1. re: juliadevi

                              Glad you enjoyed!...i was first taken to Rouammit by my Thai upstairs neighbor in my old apartment on Isle St. Louis -- we went w/ a group of her Thai friends...and it soon became one of my regular places...

                              1. re: Simon

                                I am slightly confused - Julia is talking about Lao Lanxang everyone else talks about Rouammit: which is the good one?

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  Same owners, next door to each, maybe same/mostly-same kitchen...i've only eaten at Rouammit, only because that's where my Thai neighbor took me the first time, so i always went back there...

                          2. All your recommendations sound wonderful to me. I will save them for future cravings.

                            I have a feeling you have eaten a lot more Thai and SE Asian food than I have. I am anxious to try some of these dishes that I have never heard of.

                            For tonight, however, I am meeting a friend for dinner and I know that I wont be able to persuade her to go far from home, especially to Belleville, so we are going to Spice and Vine near her apartment. It's on Rue de Maine. Have you heard of this one. If so, what are your thoughts?

                            19 Replies
                            1. re: forestqueen56

                              Being naturally suspicious about Thai restaurants with a chic decor, playing on the "back from Phuket and still dreaming about the hotel spa" note, I never went to Silk and Spice but also I never heard bad things about it. They seem to be serious, they give Thai cooking classes, so why not? Please report!

                              Less expensive in the "Central Thai" category, and not too far: Chez Paï, rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière. In a self-service cafeteria style, but there are genuine Thai cooks in the basement kitchen and the kaeng (curries) are renowned.

                              Khaosan Road on rue Condorcet: untried by me but good reputation.

                              Oth Sombath (rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré) plays closer to the haute cuisine department but he's an excellent Isaan chef. I would only say that he uses a bit too much palm sugar, but I like his cuisine. He used to be head chef at the Bangkok Blue Elephant and should be credited for inventing raw salmon yam (Thai style salmon tartare, delicious).
                              (Forget what I wrote about "chic décor", but at least this one does not play on the "typical" note.)

                              1. re: forestqueen56

                                Sorry - my mistake. Got confused between Spice and WIne, where you're going, and Silk and Spice, where you're not going (rue Mandar, 2e), but that gives you extra suggestions for Thai restaurants in Paris.

                                Never been to Spice and Wine — pairing wines and Thai food is interesting. I hope both food and wines are up to reasonable expectations, so please tell us about it later!

                                1. re: Ptipois

                                  Will let you know about Spice and Wine. I am looking for less expensive and according to the website, it might be a little out of my price range (I must translate always into dollars), but will give it a try and add Khaosan Road, Oth Sombath, Bangkok Blue Elephant, and Silk and Spice to my list.

                                  Please keep in mind that I am not an expert in this department. And I I probably would like the heavy handiness with the palm sugar.

                                  1. re: forestqueen56

                                    Khaosan Rd on rue Condorcet? This resto in my own 'hood has never attracted me. Khaosan Rd in Bangkok is a place where European backpackers outnumber Thais, and giant cockroaches outnumber the Europeans. Once I saw one so big (cockroach, not European) that it made a crunch-crunch noise crossing the street.
                                    Why would anyone in his right mind call his restaurant Tourist Hell?

                                    I am confused re what you really want. You seem to have a couple restaurants in mind, and you also seem to want us to talk you out of them.
                                    Do you want to eat at any Thai resto provided it is near your place or your friend's place? That is understandable, and you do not need our advice.
                                    Do you mainly want to have inexpensive Thai food from those two restos? you can check their prices online. Again, you don't need us.
                                    Do you want to eat well? That's what chowhound is for.
                                    And none of our various recommendations are expensive.

                                    Please report back on how your two restaurants turn out. Esp Khaosan Rd, which is just up the street from my home.

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      Well, there's a new restaurant in the sixième that's called Schmuck. Many Parisian foodies seemed to find that brilliant. I was tempted to grant a personal Darwin Award to the genius who came up with the name. Some reviews were good, but strangely enough no buzz ever came out of it. Haven't heard of the place since. But a terrible name does not automatically mean that the food will be bad.

                                      I agree that the name "Khaosan Road" is most infortunate, but the reviewer who gave me the info is trustworthy. The place is run by people who go back to Thailand several times a year to bring back products and inspiration. A good sign: the tables are set with spoons and forks, no chopsticks (unless you order noodle soup). At least they know their Thai table manners.

                                      Mind you - I havent tried it. Seems that we'll have other people test it for us ;-) But really I heard good things. But I've also heard good things about places that proved to be utter dumps. Sometimes not.

                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                        Hahaha, Schmuck, everyone. A Cambodian resto in the 'hood is called Dung. Well, was. Didn't make it.

                                        1. re: Parigi

                                          My favorite is "Takayalé", a fake sushi place somewhere near the grands boulevards. I'm not making this up.

                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                            Nothing to do with food, but I think the Anne Franck wig shop on the Bd de Strasbourg takes the biscuit.

                                              1. re: Ptipois

                                                what does Takayalé mean? I think it came up once before and I was confused then...

                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                    haha! I was lying in bed after I asked the question and it suddenly dawned on me! at first I was so stuck on it being something gross that it didn't occur to me it would be cheeky.

                                            1. re: Ptipois

                                              My Jewish friends in New York use the word schmuck to describe a jerk. I looked the word up and it has another meaning--a body part that I wont mention here. Now I am not sure I want to go to a restaurant called Schmuck. But I might pass by there and take a picture.

                                              Vielleanglaise, I might stop by that wig place to try on a gray wig. I want to see what I look like if I stop dying my hair.

                                              You learn so much on chowhound.

                                              1. re: forestqueen56

                                                Unfortunately I really don't know how to explain this to the english readers, but in the 19th there is a little kebab place called "A la one again"...

                                                1. re: forestqueen56

                                                  Whereas in Germany, "schmuck" refers to jewellery - I was in Hamburg & Berlin last month, and you see "schmuck" signs everywhere :-D

                                                   
                                                    1. re: Parigi

                                                      try Olympiades, this is where the asian communities are, there are tons of choices, you can also find fresh thai basil there and make your own curry, so far, i think is better and cheaper than most thai restaurant in Paris. But you should really try Vietnamese in this area, they are as good as in Hoi Chi ming.

                                                      1. re: Penpen

                                                        "Hoi Chi ming"
                                                        ?
                                                        You mean Ho Chi Minh Ville, formerly Saigon?

                                            2. re: forestqueen56

                                              If you really like Thai food and look for less expensive, I think Chez Paï might be your thing.

                                              Oth Sombath's food is really good in spite of the excess of palm sugar. It's just that there's a little too much of it and it wasn't really benefiting the Sauternes pairings that we were having one night at his restaurant. But I would definitely recommend the place.

                                        2. Update on Spice and Wine.

                                          I ordered the Kang Kiewant Kai, green curry chicken in coconut milk and sticky rice. There was a sommelier, or rather a server who knew something about wine, but since I was only going to have one glass the choice was limited.

                                          The curry was quite good, but not excellent. I only had the main dish so I found the portion too small. There was just a hint of sweetness to it and it was definitely not spicy.

                                          The waiter pointed out the vegetables in it which were tiny Asian eggplant of two varieties. He warned me not to eat, separately, the one that looked like a little ball because it was bitter, but eaten with the other ingredients it was not. According to my research on the internet it must be the Thai Kermit eggplant.

                                          I will go back, but not before trying all the restaurants mentioned above. Only then will I be able to give it a rating.

                                          http://www.spiceandwine.fr/