“I don’t want real Thai. I don’t feel like cauterizing my anus.”
Wanting to participate in this month’s DOTM, I tried swaying my reluctant son into heading out to Thai Town for more traditional Thai food.
I always considered the awful drive out to this part of Hollywood to be the biggest obstacle. My wife and daughter were on board, but my scoville-shy son was squirming where he sat while pondering the severe pain caused by the internal self-immolation that “real” Thai food could mete out.
"Dude, not all Thai dishes are spicy. You love duck, right? "
“You know I do.”
“I don’t ever recall eating a Thai roast duck dish that was intolerantly spicy. Heck - I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Thai duck that was spicy at all. Give it a shot.”
Sanumluang is the kind of eatery in Thai town that gets a diverse customer base. Heat levels on many of their dishes are or can made to be tolerable to most eaters. And my son was glad to see that they offered roast duck in almost every category on their menu. Fear quelled.
We tried to order almost all relatively mild dishes. Koo chai - steamed. Not spicy at all. The accompanying sauce was quite sweet - instead, sprinkle a little prik dong and fish sauce on this dish and it’s a nice light way to start a meal.
The fried tofu is a pretty basic dish but the frying skills of the kitchen were evident. The exterior of the cubes were firm and very crispy. The sauce on the side was similar to mae ploy with a lot of garlic but not spicy at all.
We ordered three meat and rice dishes. Crispy pork with Holy basil, Hainanese chicken, and roast duck of course. Of the three, the crispy pork was the spiciest, but even this dish was relatively timid even by my son’s scale. The roast duck satisfied my son’s craving as well. The Hainanese chicken was a little on the dryer side but the dish as a whole was more than acceptable.
The only dishes showing any heat were the seafood salad and the yen-ta-fo noodle soup. The seafood salad was pretty simple. Parboiled/chilled shrimp, squid and fake crab sprinkled with sliced chile and chile flakes served on iceberg lettuce.
The yen-ta-fo soup was interesting. It seems like a hybrid of Thai and Malaysian soup styles. The sourish profile of tom yum but a little sweetness and smokiness, with lots of yummy components found in Malaysian wonton noodle soup like seafood, fish cake, fishballs and and fried wonton. Some charsiu would have knocked this soup out of the park. We will have to request this add-on (if it’s available) the next time we find it on a menu.
All in all, I personally was slightly let down. The food was fine in general. The lack of heat was my personal gripe, or maybe it was actually trying to order around my son’s phobia of Thai heat that killed it for me. Next time, he stays home and gets Domino’s.