Sunday, July 31, 2011

#047 Best Thai Iced Tea

Last week, a group of us from work went to check out Chiang Mai, which was rated #047 Best Place to Get a Thai Iced Tea. I love thai food, so I was particularly excited for this adventure. It was also in a part of town I haven’t been to before, so it was fun to check out it (even though this was far from being considered a “nice” part of town). To get there, you take the freeway, take the Orchard St (Exit 52) Exit, and then follow that until you get to Emerald Street. It was right next to a shabby looking bowling alley and a shady looking establishment called “The Navajo Room.”

It was one of those Thai restaurants with plenty of decoration, which is always fun to see. The bathroom was quite interesting – there were paintings hanging on the wall, but they were slanted so the bottom was touching the wall and the top was hanging out a few inches, so it was an odd look. The bathrooms were also huge with one little toilet, and mine had two fake fruit trees…

Anyway, my main goal was to check out the thai iced tea, so of course I had to get one. My friend Sam and I used to always go to the Thai House in Pullman, WA, and she was the one who introduced me to thai iced tea. You will very rarely see me order a drink at a restaurant. I usually stick to water, so the fact that I order thai iced tea should attest to how delicious they are. Emeril Lagasse has a recipe on The Food I haven’t tried it myself, but if you are interested, here is how it is made:



6 cups water

1 cup thai tea

¾ cup sugar

6 tablespoons cream

6 tablespoons condensed milk.


In a kettle, bring the water to a boil. Place the tea in a teapot or glass container. Pour the water over the tea and let steep until bright orange in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain into a clean container, such as a pitcher (or if in tea bags, remove the bags). Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fill six tall glasses with crushed ice and add tea to ¾ full. Add 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon condensed milk to each glass.

Serve with iced-tea spoon so guests can swirl the mixture themselves.

I think it is the condensed milk that I really like about this tea. I am going to have to try condensed milk in my normal tea, and see how that tastes! Maybe that is the way to get the ultimate chai I am always searching for…

Anyway, we were at Chiang Mai, and I ordered a thai iced tea. It was very, very good. I am not sure how the other thai iced teas around town rate, but this could easily qualify as “the best.” I think it was $2.25, but you get a pretty big glass. My friends who got one were able to use some restraint, but mine was long gone before the food arrived.

To eat, I ordered chicken pad thai, with two “peppers” (their spicy scale is 1-5). I think it was $9.75. At thai restaurants, I was ponder trying something else because everything sounds so delicious, but I always end up with my standard favorite. Usually I also order crab wontons (crab and cream cheese deep fried in a wonton – YUM), but they are a good appetizer to split and I didn’t want to have to either share them with everyone or eat them by myself. The plum sauce they come with is usually fantastic, and I highly recommend ordering those if you ever get thai food.

Before our meals came, everyone at the table was served a big bowl of rice. I have never been to a thai restaurant where everyone gets rice before, so that was interesting. I ate a little bit with soy sauce, but saved my appetite.

My food arrived and it looked great. However, the noodles were a bit odd. I have eaten a lot of pad thai in my day, and the noodles are ALWAYS the flat type of noodles. The noodles I was served were more like spaghetti noodles, in that they were thin and round (but a little thinner than spaghetti). It was kind of weird, but didn’t taste bad.

My food in general was fine. It wasn’t the best thai food I have ever had, but it was also tasty. However, it was a bit spicy, which kind of irritated me. It is always hard to know what “spicy” means at each individual restaurant, but I would have thought two peppers was on the less spicy end of things. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t crazy or anything, but I prefer my pad thai pretty mild.

Here is where the weird thing happened. I want to preface this and say I have NO IDEA why it happened, but it did and it kind of sucked. About two bites after digging into my pad thai, I got super super sick feeling. My heart started racing, my stomach was upset, and I even started sweating a little. It was really odd (no, I don’t think it was from the spice level, because it really wasn’t that spicy). I couldn’t finish my meal and I had to push I away. Even looking at it made me feel really sick. The feeling lasted the entire meal and I honestly thought I might have to make a beeline and puke in the bathroom. This probably makes no sense, but I got my food to go in a little box.

Once I left the restaurant, I started to feel better, and by the time I made it home I was basically fine. Then, I stupidly decided to eat my leftovers because I was hungry! Thankfully I was totally fine, so I am not sure the root cause of the random illness.

As for the rest of my friends, the consensus was split.  One got teriyaki chicken, and said the chicken was really tough and it was overall not good at all.  The rest of my friends thought their food was good (curry and rice dishes) but there wasn't much raving. 

For those of you who like REALLY spicy, make sure you ask for it.  My friends wanted their food off the scale spicy, and they basically had to beg and it still wasn't "that spicy" according to them.  However, one friend was sweating so much he literally looked like he had gone swimming, so that was entertaining to watch.

When I eat thai food again, this won't be the place I go to.  I prefer Thai House on Overland.  I didn't get a thai iced tea last time, but those are pretty hard to screw up.  I went there for lunch with my boyfriend, and the layout was a lot more date-y.  There are more booths and less tables and the interior looks cooler.  We went at lunch and got an AWESOME deal...entree, appetizer, soup and salad for about $8 and it was all delicious.

However, you shouldn't discount Chiang Mai too much.  My friend just called me and asked where it is, because he is bringing two other people back to eat there.  He must have enjoyed it!


Lauren Hairston said...

I love good Thai food, but there are definitely some places here in Wichita that are better than others (just like anything else, I guess!). A new place opened a few blocks from us so we went and got pad thai and it was $7 for the two of us and then we went back and it was $17! Thankfully our old stand-by Thai place is back up and running after their fire!

Anonymous said...

Really?!! Still best burger blog??!! I'm ready for some new blogs!!