Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Tale of Three Thais: Opal Thai, Siam Garden & Bangkok Chef

After traveling around Thailand this summer (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani) and eating an amazing variety of street food, I'm always looking for good Thai food in Honolulu. Plus it has the option to be [a little] healthier than other takeout, since it is packed with veggies, especially if you avoid the coconut based curries.

1) Opal Thai
I'd read great reviews of this one online, plus heard from a friend that they have the best pad thai in Hawaii. I'd definitely recommend the pad thai here ($8 with tofu)! Also tried the green curry with chicken ($8.25) and the roasted chili shrimp ($9). I'd asked for "spicy" but neither was particularly hot. Sticky rice is an extra $1.75

It's kind of difficult to get to, since they're on the North Shore, but definitely worth a stop if you are out there. Be sure to leave lots of time though; we went on the early side, not even much of a line, and it still took 25 minutes to get our order.
2) Bangkok Chef A stand-by for takeout in our house...Bangkok Chef is cheap and satisfying. It wasn't as authentic as I'd remembered it being, but still a decent meal. Chicken larb:
Shrimp & mango salad (heavy on the vermicelli noodles)
Chicken stir fry with basil and bamboo
3) Siam Garden

This was my first time at Siam Garden. It was packed on a week day night, and all of the staff looked like they just arrived in Hawaii from Thailand. It was good, but wasn't something I'd necessarily go back to again.

Clockwise from top: pad thai, sticky rice, green papaya salad, and roasted chili chicken stir fry
Opal Thai
66-460 Kamehameha Hwy

Bangkok Chef
2955 E Manoa Rd

Siam Garden Cafe
1130 N Nimitz

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