Mini Mango 1056 91 Street SW Edmonton, AB (780) 756-6464
True to its name, Mini Mango is a tidy little space set up within a strip mall (of which there are many in Edmonton) on the city’s southside. But contrary to so many Vietnamese noodle joints that I’ve frequented, this establishment has applied some more modern touches, thus resulting in a chicer, compact environment that should appeal to those who are less inclined to visit more hole-in-the-wall type of restaurants. Four and two-top seating arrangements, a corner booth, and even a special section with high stools for solo diners completes the picture here, though I imagine they do get their fare share of take away customers. According to my local contact, the lunch hour here can get hectic, and seemingly a popular place for the stay-at-home moms who perhaps want to have a mid-day meal that is more on the “exotic” side. Such is the life of Alberta suburbia I suppose…
The system in place was very much like Famoso, that I’d visited a few days earlier. Step up to the front counter, place your order, pay there, and then go to your seat and your food would be brought out to you. I don’t think I saw any menu cards or booklets at the tables themselves and my only reference of what there was to eat was the sign board pinned to the wall in the employee-only area connected to the kitchen. Appetizers hitting on things like Vietnamese spring rolls and salads were interspersed with a few other Asian-themed dishes such as kimchi and “Thai” deep fried prawns in wonton wrappers.
3924 N Mississippi Ave
Portland’s dining scene is incredibly diverse. Thai food, in particular, is very good in this city. Pok Pok is renowned for its Issan/Northeastern Thai cuisine….and along Sandy Rd are a number of small family run Thai restaurants (along with a good smattering of Vietnamese and Cambodian). And over in the quickly gentrifying Mississippi District is Mee Sen – a restaurant run by a young crew of Thais that is serving uncompromising Thai food.
Those are indeed deep fried grasshoppers – a common drinking snack in Thailand. Mee Sen serves this delicacy perhaps as a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the rest of the field. The food served here is a good survey of Thai cuisine but definitely leans towards Bangkok style southern Thai. However, noticeably absent from the menu are the all-too common Tom Yum soups, and the red/green/yellow curries found at most typical North American Thai restaurants. Instead you are presented with a menu of curries, salads and soups that are more representative of the cuisine. The flavours and spice levels are authentic – all the food I have had here had the right pungency and heat.
Now that we’re rolling into the fall season and coming back from various journeys over the summer, I thought it would be a good time to do another one of these consolidated posts and provide an update on previously visited places again as a refresher. The links throughout will lead you to original posts and/or commentary on follow up visits. If in doubt if you’ve viewed them all, please do a search on the main page for all your queries…
Previous editions of multi-restaurant/monthly recaps: 1, 2, 3, 4
Simple, honest food without pretense but with the tasty flair that only the cuisine of southeast Asia can provide is something that I’ve had a craving for lately, as its been much too long since my last visit to that part of the world (sadly, over a year ago now)…
Located in a dilapidated building along Edmonds Street, very close to the new Burnaby Public Library, is this quaint space known as Lhy Thai, that served as a quick fix for me recently. Inside, the dining quarters are cramped to say the least and you won’t be coming here for the decor. Coupled with the widely unnecessary array of low quality posters that could easily be mistaken for being ripped out of some promotional material for Tourism Thailand encased in cheap frames all over the walls, and the stacks of books near the bar enclosure, and the place feels even more claustrophobic. Where I was seated, I had a decent view into the kitchen area, which I noted was staffed by all female, Thai-speaking cooks.
6010 – 104 St.
(780) 438 – 8338
We have mentioned Syphay on this blog in the past, and have identified it as one of the better Thai restaurants in the city of Edmonton. I personally have yet to find a dish on their menu which I have not liked; from their salads, soups, stirfry’s and especially love their fried fish dishes.
Syphay Platter, includes the sweet pineapple shrimp, spring rolls, and garlic shrimp rolls. We noticed a slight alteration to the platter on our last couple visits – as they removed the Tod Paa Mun (fishcake), but have padded the quantities of the other items to compensate. I do miss the fishcake, but this fried platter of goodness will probably continue to find its way into our order.
Maenam Thai 1938 w 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC V6J1M5
I have high hopes for Maenam. The chef here is Angus An who used to run the late, lamented Gastropod at this location. He was known for inventive dishes that bordered on molecular. Gastropod was critically acclaimed, but I speculate that it didn’t resonate with the much of Vancouver dining public.
Sometime in the past year, the Gastropod team decided to cut their losses and switch to a new format: high-value (not necessarily “budget”) “authentic” Thai food. Finally, I thought, real Thai food in Vancouver - a city desperately lacking in this great cuisine. Knowing that Angus An worked at London’s Nahm under Australian Thai cuisine expert David Thompson and also knowing that he is married to a Thai, the promise of authenticity should be easy to keep. Angus An (from my own experiences dining at Gastropod) is an exacting, fastidious chef and would go to great lengths to procure the right ingredients and use the proper techniques.
The first time I visited Maenam, I was less than wowed. The menu looked very ordinary – listing only the usual suspects. On sampling the food, I thought that the Thai flavours were muted and compromised. (I am, however, happy to note that things are trending up as of late.)
Given the high volume of restaurants and eateries that we cover here on foodosophy, its become less and less likely that we’ll find that yet undiscovered place that can surprise us…
But on my last visit to Calgary in late-August, I had just that kind of experience. And in of all places… within a cookie cutter, value-priced hotel situated next to one of the busiest commuter roads in the city. Better known as Motel Village (given the other discount places to stay on the same street), its not exactly a prime dinner destination area (although there are a few places to eat directly behind all these hotels – one of which I’ve already posted about).