Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bangkok Thai Deli (and Supermarket) – St. Paul, MN

A blogger friend of mine from An Herbalist Eats, Jen, has been raving about this place for some time now. I keep meaning to get there, but I’m never in that neck of the woods when I’m hungry for some reason. However, D.Rough and I made a special trip there to check out this food. We did a quick run through supermarket side of the building.There is a lot of large case-style Asian ingredients, as well as a hodge-podge of American and household items. They also have a huge candy section, from which we scored some Hello Pandas – I’m 5, what can I say?

A lot of the reviews online refer to this place as a hole in the wall, but I was really surprised how large it was on the inside. There’s a lot of seating available and there were a lot of people eating dinner here. We grabbed a booth and checked out the menu the server brought us. There are a TON of things on this menu. More than we ever expected. Then there’s an additional “special” menu with more items. Thankfully, this place has photos of almost every item on the menu, which helps you visualize what you’ll be getting before you order. VERY nice feature.

It took us a while, but we finally figured it out. We knew we were going to go with the fresh spring rolls. And then we ordered the Hot Pot with pork and also Red Curry with Roasted Duck. Well, I meant to order it with Roasted Duck, but the words Mock Duck came out of my mouth for some reason. And I realized it too late. I have no idea what I was thinking. I’m sure I was distracted by the Doodee Noodles on the menu, since as I mentioned, I’m 5. Speaking of 5, the server asked us how spicy we’d like our food – on a scale of one to ten. We asked him how serious the spice level is here and he said it was serious – with a smile. We decided on 7’s for both dishes.

The spring rolls came out quickly and they looked pretty good. They were open at the ends so if you tried to pour the sauce into the things, you’d just end up with it running down your wrist (which we both did). But the ingredients were fresh and delicious. They weren’t the best we ever had, but they were pretty darn good. The sauce was the thinner light and spicy sauce with tons of peanuts in it. D.Rough and I both mentioned how we used to not be a fan of that sauce – we usually preferred the hoisin sauce – but this one was one of the best light sauces we had. Good bit of spice in it.

The Hot Pot was something I had had in China last year and it was really fun to eat. It is served a little different here at this place, but it was still phenomenal. In China, it’s more like a fondue – you have many plates full of ingredients and you drop them in the boiling broth and fish them out later with chopsticks. At Bangkok Thai Deli, it is served with the ingredients already in it and you scoop them out with a ladle. The whole thing is constantly heated with a sterno-type deal at the bottom of the pot. The soup was hot. HOT. Both temperature and spice level. Wow, but it was delicious. The temperature heat opened up your flavor receptacles to allow more spice level to penetrate your skull, in this case. Thankfully, they had also brought out a serious mound of plain white rice. D.Rough and I like our food spicy – really spicy in fact, but I think next time we’ll scale back to a 6.But as I said, the ingredients and the broth were delicious and exactly what we needed. There were large chunks of ginger and lemongrass in it to avoid, but all of the meat and kafir limes were fantastic (once we figured out they were kafir limes). We would totally get this again. We had to bring half of it home since there was so much of it.

The Red Curry, somehow, was even better than the Hot Pot. And this was despite the fact that I ordered mock duck instead of the real thing. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. I knew it would be tasty, but this was the best red curry I’ve had in a long time – if not EVER. Again, it was really hot, but the flavor was well beyond my expectation. Lots of delicious vegetables in it and the mock duck was surprisingly delicious, as well. In fact, I’d probably order it again with mock duck just to ensure it would be equally delicious. I kept raving about this red curry to the point where D.Rough got sick of hearing about it. Which was awesome since it meant I got to eat the left-overs the next day. I’m surprised they made it that long, but I was absolutely stuffed after this meal.

Really a delicious experience and I owe Jen a huge debt of gratitude for telling me about it.
On the way out, we found out they had Cream Soda Fanta (which I had never seen before) and some Mangosteen drink, so we grabbed a couple for the road and headed home to lounge in front of a Netflix movie.

We WILL be back here.

Top 5 things about Bangkok Thai Deli
1. Red Curry with mock duck
2. Hot Pot
3. Huge menu with photos
4. Spice level is actually appropriate
5. Spring rolls

Bottom 5 things
1. The menu is so big it is difficult to decide on one thing and still not sure why there are two different menus – that part was a little confusing
2. The place gets loud when it’s full of people. Really loud
3. A lot of strong flavored ingredients in the soup to maneuver around – you’ll get over this when you realize how much flavor those things add to the soup, though
4. Those little green veggie things aren’t green beans – they’re Thai chilies – kapow!
5. Fresh spring rolls were open ended, which caused a severe mess at our table - hahahaha

Bangkok Thai Deli and Supermarket
315 University Avenue W.
St. Paul, MN 55103


Jen said...

Holla! Thanks for the shout out:) Enjoyed reading your write up.

Anonymous said...

Nice job - I think you captured the Bangkok Thai experience well. It's one of my favorite places to go when I'm in that part of town. Brian