I have so many places to blog about, but my computer was giving me lots of problems – sadly this has delayed posting about some really excellent restaurants, such as Sawasdee that I visited back in May. Well, the technical difficulties have been put at bay, and now I have time to rave about the amazing Thai food we had at this little gem in the Main Street area.
We were quite late when we got to Sawasdee, but we were surprised to find the place still packed – I think we went on a Thursday night, so all the more impressive for the large turnout. Even just approaching the door, we could tell that this was going to be a good meal – there were so many awards and rating stickers posted, it *had* to be good!
I do find that Thai food can be quite pricey, especially since you have to order rice separately. Given that we were with my parents, we got to order a few extra dishes that normally we wouldn’t have because of budgeting. I should also mention that my parents are pretty tough when it comes to spicy food – I was glad that we were able to order a few dishes at the “medium hot” level!
Just in case one of us was feeling particularly brave, the very friendly waitress brought some extra hot sauce to adjust the spiciness level… it tasted great, with a lot of vinegar and lime juice tang, but honestly, everything was so good, I didn’t want to render things unpalatable because I wanted to show off!
First dish that we ordered was a salad – Larb – which honestly has one of the least appealing names for such a fresh-tasting and light dish. A large quantity of well-seasoned boiled ground chicken is served on top of lettuce, with red onions and ground peanuts. The salad was really spicy given that it was dressed with the vinegary hot sauce from above. With an extra squeeze of lime, this was super delicious – I would love to have this for lunch on a hot summer day.
As mentioned above, I don’t love the idea of having to pay for rice, but, heck, if you’re going to have to shell out $$, might as well try something fancy! The Pineapple Fried Rice had a great slightly-sticky rice quality to it, with lots of great flavours – though I didn’t find the pineapple a predominant one amongst these – the coconut milk was more present. It included a bit of chicken, but I’m really skeptical that it was worth the $10+ price tag.
To make sure we had a nicely-rounded meal, we also ordered some stir-fried veggies: Phad Pak was again quite pricey for what you got, but, I’ll admit that every vegetable was cooked perfectly. I am a big fan of this style of sweet soy stir fry sauce – add some tofu puff to this, and you get my favourite dish from International Fare back at the UofA. Mind you theirs was half the price!
Finally – we ordered a fish dish – and some curry all in one! My mom is a big fan of red curry, so the Kang Panang ordered with fish (other options include chicken or beef). The sauce was very rich with lots of coconut cream – a small amount of thai basil added some fresh notes, and the peppers and onions added a bit of crunch. The fish itself was a white, fairly tender fish (probably basa) which held its shape in the sauce. This was delicious. In this particular case, I found the skill required in preparing such a well-balanced sauce warranted the price tag.
In all – I still find that Thai food is a bit too much for an every day option, but it makes for a very nice special outing. Sawasdee certainly knows how to make excellent food, so if I’m reading to spend the big bucks, I’d trust them to deliver the goods!