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Mar 11, 2003 04:33 PM

Austin-Little Thailand

  • k

Long time lurker...first time poster.

I am obsessed with Little Thailand and think that it's the ultimate Chowhound destination for any Austin area Chowhounds. We try to go every other week, but sometimes we're the only table in the restaurant. People just don't know what they're missing. Has anyone else had an experience here- good or bad? I've been to Lotus of Siam in Vegas three times and this place runs a very close second, and actually surpasses it on certain dishes, such as larb and stuffed chicken wings. My husband has dreams about their warm beef salad. We always get the chicken lemongrass soup, with coconut milk added. The beef papaya salad is the perfect combination of tang and crunch. Don't miss the fried bananas or Thai bloody marys. The proprietor is quite a character and always makes you feel welcome. The bar in back alone is worth a visit. Only downside is that it's kind of hard to find-7 miles east of the Austin airport on 71. Amazingly reasonable Dick says "Put a 1 in front of that total and that's what you'd pay in Austin".

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  1. I'll second your recommendation. I've eaten lunch there some twenty or thirty times. Never been for dinner. I can't resist the Phat Thai lunch special. I haven't been in a few months. I'm glad to hear that Dick is still hanging in there despite what may be tough times. My only gripe is the TV on at lunch. I hope it's off at dinner. But the food is good and the atmosphere is like your uncle's living room, so the TV almost makes sense. Thanks for reminding me to go back.

    1. Almost as good as LOS? I will have to remember that on my next trip to Austin.
      At LOS I love the northern thai pork stew. Is there anything like that here? What about the curries? Tekll me more about the stuffed chicken wings.

      4 Replies
      1. re: John Scar

        I haven't seen the northern pork stew on Little Thailand's menu. Their menu is much more limited than LOS, probably due to the lower volume of business.

        As for the stuffed chicken wings: instead of being breaded like they are at LOS, they have a perfectly crisp skin. They're stuffed with cabbage and other goodies, and served with both a fish sauce and local honey. Glad you asked about the curries- that's the only thing I've had there that doesn't completely wow me- too many bamboo shoots for my liking. But that could be because I'm more accustomed to Indian curries.

        As BillB mentioned- it is a bit annoying that they have the TV on (and they do frequently leave it on for dinner) but they'll turn it off at your request. We're usually so busy oohing and aahing over the food that we don't even notice.

        1. re: KT

          So, KT, Bob, what DO y'all recommend to order? Any real favorites?

          Am going to make an effort to trek out there real soon, and want to be certain to follow your lead.

          1. re: ChrissieH

            Glad to hear that you're going to check Little Thailand out, Chrissie. My favorites so far are the chicken lemongrass soup, warm beef salad, and Som Thum w/ beef (everything can also be ordered vegetarian). What it lacks in atmosphere it makes up for in flavors. It's kind of tricky to find, but the address is 4315 Caldwell Lane. It's on the north side of 71 under the water tower in Garfield. They're closed on Sundays. Please give us a full report after your visit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

        2. re: John Scar

          Little Thailand is a different kind of good than Lotus of Siam. Nothing strikes me as all that exotic, in fact it has a similar menu to a lot of ordinary Thai restaurants. There is a lot of subtle care that goes into the dishes however. For instance, they grow their own chiles to fill the spice shakers on the tables. And the ambience, if you start things off in the bar, is really special.

        3. Thanks for the recommendation. I had never heard of this place.

          1. Welcome to the board, KT! Hope you'll not lurk any longer and continue to offer advice on food.

            I've heard of Little Thailand and seen it driving by, but never had the chance to eat dinner there. I'll put it on my list of places to try.

            Thanks for the post.

            1. Every single thing you said is right on the money, except I always get that papaya salad with pork.

              And yeah, the place isn't often crowded. I'd better go back soon, with my own crowd.