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Jan 6, 2013 07:25 PM

What's the different between Indonesian and Thai Food?

Any suggestion? Where can I find good and authentic Indonesian and Thai Restaurant in Montreal that not too expensive?

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  1. I have not been able to find it here in Montreal.

    1. Well, for starters, they are two entirely different countries with separate cuisines. It's a bit like asking what's the difference between Japanese and Chinese food. Not really enough time or space to address that here so maybe Google it? For Indonesian food you can go to Nonya, Gado Gado, or Mia Tapas. Nonya has a table d'hote special on Tuesdays, I believe.Gado Gado might be the least expensive with more home style cooking dishes but the other two are also very fun. None are snack food places or the prices you might pay in Indonesia, but that's understandable given the scarcity of the ingredients and the complexity of the cooking style.

      I'm no expert on Thai food but enjoy Chuch.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Plateaumaman

        I actually think this is an interesting question. A lot more rubbing off of food cultures in Southeast Asia than between, for example, Japan and China. The cultural influence of India, and later the spice trade, resulted in exposure to and use of many of the same ingredients and also to Chinese and Arab influences. There are also similarities in prominent products (rice, lemongrass, galangal) that result from both countries sharing similar climate and geography.

        The cuisine of both countries is very diverse (maybe moreso in Thailand than in Indonesia). In North America there is some regional variety in Thai restaurants (just not in Montreal) but what we eat is largely Bangkok-centered and Indonesian cuisine is largely Javanese. Interestingly, Bangkok-style and Javanese food share many characteristics (emphasizing creativity/diversity in rice based dishes, not much meat, very little seafood, reliance on fermented fish/shrimp paste and large variety of herbs, use of similar local ingredients like citrus, sugar and some coconut).

        Don't bother eating at any Thai restaurant in Montreal, but if you're ever in L.A. do some reasearch and go crazy. I have liked Nonya for Indonesian, though I haven't been in years.

        1. re: thelonious777

          It's true that the chefs of Indonesian origin here in North
          America are very often Javanese but many of the dishes served are from different regions of Indonesia, like rendang which is from Sumatra. And it is not unusual to find Indonesian staff cooking in Thai restaurants which might be where it gets a bit jumbled too.

          The beef rib at Mia Tapas is very good and a nice example of a Sumatran recipe, and the pepes ikan (spicy fish in banana leaf) is also an interesting dish to try.

          I wouldn't go so far as to say it isn't worth eating in any Thai places in Montreal. Pad Thai and mock satay at Chuch is good and not too expensive. To have something more like street food, It might be worth trying some Singaporean/Malaysian cuisine like Satay Brothers at the Atwater market? I haven't been but hear it is good, although currently closed for renovations.

          1. re: thelonious777

            I don't know much about either of these cuisines & I appreciate your informative post, but I disagree with your advice not to bother with any Thai restaurants in Montreal. Even if the Thai food we have is not super-authentic (and some of it may be; i wouldn't be the one to ask about that!), it can still be tasty, well-prepared and interesting food, and well worth eating.

        2. Phayathai on Guy has been consistently excellent for Thai. If you're 4 people, try the beef satay, green mango salad, bbq duck in red curry, eggplant with basil, phad thai, crab and egg noodles, coconut milk and mango with sticky rice dessert, and green tapioca (natural homemade colouring from some tropical leaf) and coconut milk dessert. Also ask them not to put any MSG in it, and get both sticky rice and regular rice to go with your meal.

          As for price, it's more like a Japanese restaurant than a Chinese or Korean one, maybe $140 for the above meal with tax and tip. I've always felt it was good value.

          See also:

          1. Thanks guys.. I tried 3 of them. They were all good. However, since i live in downtown and can't eat too expensive all the time, I'll stick with Gado Gado on Mackay.

            4 Replies
            1. re: gregorius

              Do you think Gado Gado is authentic enough? An Indonesian friend thinks the flavors are not strong enough.

              1. re: marblebag

                It's authentic but not from the spiciest region (in my part-Javanese opinion).

                1. re: Plateaumaman

                  The owner is from South Sumatra. I love their food. Yes, not too spicy. (Don't forget Indonesia is a very big country with many sub-regional cooking specialties).

                2. re: marblebag

                  I wasn't too impressed with Gado Gado.
                  The owner was a bit embarrassed to admit that their recipes are really dumbed down for North American tastes. His concern was that that given the location, they'd likely scare people away if they cooked authentic dishes. It's such a shame. He apologized for not being able to turn out the flavours we were accustomed to in Indonesia. All he could offer was some extra sambal, which itself was an overly sweet version!

                  The food wasn't bad. It tasted very good, but it's not at all what we were looking for.