Khai Thai

Restaurant: Khai Thai
Cuisine: Thai
Last visited: September 29, 09

Area: Vancouver, BC
809 Seymour Street (Seymour & Robson)
Price Range: $10-201: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Thai chefs/cooks/staff
  • Chefs trained in fine restaurants in Thailand
  • Good food, somewhat authentic Thai food
  • Still Westernized (attracts tourists/Westerners)
  • Lunch M-F 11:30am-2pm
  • Dinner daily at 5pm
  • Pictures available
  • Eat in/Take-out/Delivery


**Recommendation:
Larb Chicken, Pla Sarm Rod

I can trust that this restaurant is somewhat authentic Thai and not as Westernized as some of the others. My Thai friend took me here and helped with the ordering so I was able to try items I would not normally order. It’s hard to know what to order when you don’t come from that culture.

However it’s not the best Thai place around and it still is somewhat Westernized. (I was with other Thai people and for some it was their first time dining here). I don’t want to judge, but it is near Robson which is also a tourist hot spot. It’s difficult to locate because there’s construction going on around it and it looks like a hole in the wall on the outside. The inside is nice, but it also looks like a tacky hotel resort with a fake garden and flowers. The chef’s are actually from Thailand and have cooked at some of the finest restaurants – which means that the food is good, but it’s hotel/restaurant style Thai food. So it’s borderline made to appeal to tourist tastes and their fantasies of Thailand and Thai food.

On the table:

  • Spring Rolls 2/6
    • Vegetable and glass noodles served with plum sauce.
    • I know. SO typical…I wouldn’t have ordered it, but it was standard with our selection of appetizers. At least they’re not frozen and made in house.
    • The filling was curried vermicelli noodles, the clear ones, mixed with a little tofu, carrots and cabbage. I don’t know how authentic the curry is. I would have preferred if there was some shitake mushrooms and more ingredients. They were missing something. Too simple.
    • They served it with plum sauce…which is not authentic! It should be served with a Thai dipping sauce made with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, chili etc.
  • Fish Cakes or “Tod Man Pla” 2/6
    • Deep fried fish cake marinated in chili paste served with Thai spicy sauce.
    • It’s another dish for Western taste buds. This wasn’t that spicy, surely not as spicy as it sounds. It actually taste more aromatic because it had lemongrass in it, which I liked.
    • They were ok, but nothing special or memorable. The sauce was a spicy sauce that was also sweet and sour tasting. It went well with the cakes.
  • **Laab Chicken/Larb Gai 6/6
    • Minced chicken mixed with roasted sticky rice powder, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, chillies, sesame seeds and green onions.
    • DROOL! This this is sooo good! It’s under “Salad” and it’s not even really a salad, so most people would overlook it because it’s always under the wrong category. It’s supposed to be served with romaine leaves (almost like a lettuce wrap) and this one was not – so again it’s not served the authentic Thai way.
    • Larb Gai is one of those authentic dishes that Thai people order.
    • Wow, this was sooo good. Now I don’t know if they make it especially good here, but all I know is the dish is good. It’s SO flavourful and aromatic! It’s quite spicy, tangy, savoury, citrusy, nutty – it takes your taste buds on a 30 sec. tour through Thailand.
    • The chicken is so well marinated and juicy. Everything is nicely minced so the flavours mesh together perfectly. The roasted rice is amazing too and they mix it with sesame seeds. This combination adds two levels of nuttiness that I’ve never experienced before. Almost tastes like coarsely ground peanuts. Really unique. I’ll order it every time I go to a Thai restaurant now.
    • It’s quite expensive for the size you get (appy size) – $9.95…but it’s SO good!
  • Yum Woonsen 3/6
    • Glass noodles with shrimp, minced pork, peanuts, onions, tomato, fish sauce and fresh lime juice.
    • This is another item I would have glanced over and not ordered. It’s under “Salads” and it was more like an appetizer to me.
    • It’s a bit mushy for my liking, I feel like the noodles were overcooked and lost their texture. They were a bit too chopped up too so it felt a little like baby food. It was salty (fish sauce), tangy (vinegar), sweet (sugar) and had a slight spiciness – more like a kick. Flavour was good, but execution could have been better. There was also big chunks of tomatoes and onions in it. The onions were kind of raw and I don’t know if they were supposed to be.
  • Pad Cashew Nut 4/6
    • Stir-fried chicken with bell peppers, onions and cashew nuts.
    • This is not really an authentic Thai dish, it’s more Chinese influenced, so it’s not spicy at all but it’s still really good. Definitely more sweet and salty.
    • It was really fresh, and the chicken was nice and juicy. The veggies weren’t overcooked and the sauce wasn’t oily or greasy.
    • They give you tons of chicken and cashew nuts – no fillers here or excessive veggies.
    • The presentation is weak though.

Excuse the blurry picture, there was no attempt to take a second photo because everyone was too excited to eat it…including me.

  • Pla Sarm Rod 5/6
    • Deep fried fish topped with a three-flavored spicy sauce, chili, garlic & deep fried Thai basil leaves.They don’t inform you of the type of fish because they use either Salmon or Red Snapper. The authentic Thai way is to use Garoupa.
    • When I ordered it they used Red Snapper. It tastes almost the same as salmon and is similar in texture, but it’s not as fishy tasting.
    • It took a liking to the spicy sauce because the fish was so mild tasting itself. The sauce kind of tastes like a spicy version of sweet and sour sauce. They definitely made it less spicy than how Thai people would enjoy it. The authentic way would be to garnish it with slices of Thai red chilies too.
    • The best part was the deep-fried Thai basil leaves! What a great garnish. I’ve never had this before and I thoroughly enjoyed them. They’re really crispy and light. It’s the texture of a thinly baked filo pastry sheet. It really aromatic and gives off this subtle basil taste that’s also nutty. It went fabulous with the fish, and they gave you a lot! It was a gourmet and authentic garnish because they could have used parsley.

Drinks

  • Thai Iced Tea 4.5/6
  • This is good, but it’s very very sweet. There should be a slight orange colour if it’s authentic. It’s a brewed Thai tea that’s iced and sweetened with sugar cane syrup (some other Thai places use regular syrup as a simple substitution). Compared to simple sugar syrup, sugar cane syrup is thicker, richer and intensely sweet. They top the drink off with evaporated milk. Mix it all together before you drink it. It’s creamy, rich, bold, and strong. It’s almost like a dessert.
  • Coconut Milk
  • This is just a fresh and young coconut that’s opened and served with a straw.

 

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5 Comments

  • nicole says:

    Hey Mijune!
    Sorry I've been meaning to comment on your tasty posts for awhile now, I saw this post and had to comment because my best friend and I go to the location in Kits in the summer time and get take out then tan on the beach while eating our Thai food hahaha it's our thing. Any way, they do have really good Thai food, not that I would know much about authentic Thai food but I like this place! and now I have some recommendations from you to try the next time I go there! I haven't been to the Robson location yet.. but yeah I usually get the Pad Kee-Mao with chicken, it is SO good because it's a really good spicy 🙂 and I love spicy foods haha.

    I also like Thai iced tea but haven't tried it there before. Another one of my favourite Thai restaurants is in Burnaby and it's called Green Basil. The red curry w/tofu is to die for and I actually just got home from having dinner there!

  • Mijune says:

    Oh I've actually been to Green Basil before! Check out my post http://followmefoodie.blogspot.com/2009/08/green-basil-thai.html
    I thought the food was good, but it's Chinese-Thai/Western-Thai…so in terms of authenticity it's not really there.

    I really like spicy too! In the past I've worked with an Indian restaurant so I really got to train my taste buds working there.

    Thanks for your post Nicole!

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