Saturday, August 2, 2008
These days, its rare to find a place that offers good food at a cheap price. I'm glad to say that I discovered a little whole in the wall that serves up a great plate of Thai food for only $5.60! Bangkok Chef is a Thai restaurant/take-out place that operates out of a converted garage (yes, its literally an old garage... door and everything!) over in Nuuanu. With that said, don't expect any fine dining ambience, but its worth a visit (or two)! My dad took me to this place for dinner one night and we had no problem finding a table to eat on, but it was very busy with take-out orders. If you go during peak lunch or dinner hours parking can be a real tight squeeze because this spot is quite popular and offers only a few small stalls out in front.
The Thai Green Curry was a spicy blend of chicken, eggplant, bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, peas, fresh basil, and coconut milk. The menu said that it was the spiciest curry, and I agree, it had just the right amount of spice to satisfy me, yet not overpowering the flavor of the food. We ordered it with brown rice (Thai style) which was slightly sweeter and fragrant than typical brown rice, and consisted of longer grains.
We also ordered to Basil Chicken, which was advertised as being "sliced chicken breast, sauteed with oyster sauce, bamboo shoots, chili pepper, garlic, and fresh basil. If you go there, please do not order this... you will be very disappointed (well, we were anyway). It should be called "Bamboo Shoot Basil" or something along those lines, because the dish was filled with bamboo shoots and a few pieces of chicken. When I opened the styrofoam container, I couldn't even figure out what it was that we ordered! Now maybe this is where we felt their pennies being pinched the most! It was not very appetizing.
Aside from the main courses which are $5.60, there are other salads and noodle dishes for a little more. For $7.25, we got a Mango Salad. This was the first time I had anything like it. It was shredded green mango with carrot, shallot, chinese parsley, chili peppers, and cashew nuts in a spicy, house dressing. I could have had a little less dressing on it, but other than that, it was very delicious! It reminded me of the papaya salad that I'm more accustomed to.
In order to make up for the horrible "Basil Chicken" we ordered Thai Crispy Noodles ($4.75). These tiny deep fried rice noodles served crispy with bean sprouts, green onions, and carrots with a sweet and salty sauce.
My favorite part was dessert!! It was called "House Delight," which was a scoop of rich mango ice cream served over warm coconut-flavored sticky rice and sprinkles of crushed peanuts. It was so good that I couldn't stop eating it! It also has a little mint garnish on it that actually tastes really yummy with the flavors of the mango and coconut. I just loved the warm and cold combination paired with the gooey and sticky textures! This was a great way to end the night's meal!
The unique thing about this converted garage is that there is also a little "open market" type thing as well. There are some fresh vegetables and imported sauces and condiments that you can buy. My dad bought some curry paste and coconut milk to use at home and it turned out really well! There was also this snack that I wanted to try. It was some type of sweet sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, but after all that food, I couldn't fit another thing into my stomach!
1627 Nuuanu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96817