A Taste of Three Thais

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Tuk Tuk

Editor’s Note: Due to the recent, sudden appearance of a third Thai restaurant in Hanover, we at the Review have decided to facilitate the process known as capitalism and provide to you, the consumer, a basic triage for the trifecta, offering you our thoughts on their various dishes and our recommendations as you go about your eastern Asian culinary exploits. This review was conducted as a blind taste test—presented as “A,” “B,” or “C” and revealed later to our heroes— in order to obtain the most unbiased review of the cuisine as possible. 

Sir Loyn de Bef, Maximilian R. Pier, and Sheriff Rick Grimes once again emack on a journey to Asia in their latest endeavor in Thailand. This review will follow the format of the well-worn and battle-hardened journal they kept with them along their travels throughout downtown Hanover. Takeout from Thai Orchid, Tuk Tuk Thai, and Kata Thai restaurants was subject to the legendary taste buds of our trio.

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The first dish is a classic appetizer, a staple at every Thai restaurant: the fan favorite Crab Rangoon. Consisting of a fried shell around a crab-and-cream cheese filling, this simple yet delectable delicacy is sure to please the palate of any weary wanderer.

Rangoon A – Thai Orchid – $6:  Decent preparation. The dough was made into a rough bowl. Sort of like a piece of paper folded up and pinched along the corners. This is where the praise ends. Without even taking a bite, we could tell the dough was soggy. Even at the corners that were not touching the Rangoon. This means that the restaurant must have used too much oil in the preparation. While fine for eating in, as the dish is served straight out of the pan, when eating takeout, the oil gives the dough a strange and unwelcome consistency. The first bite was all right. While there was a slight trace of the red crab in the cream filling, the flavor as a whole was lacking the seafood taste. The consistency of the filling was fine; nothing special, but not horrid enough to make your stomach turn. Honestly, after taking the first bite, we did not want to spit the food out, but also did not really want to continue eating it, either.

Rangoon B – Kata Thai – $4.95: What the hell, Rangoon B. You really screwed up, big time. The level of oil used in the dough had given the supposedly crunchy rangoon the surface consistency and sliminess of a dumpling, and not even the good kind of dumpling. Against our better judgment, we all took a bite. This was a horrendous idea. We am not even sure that there was any crab in the middle of all that dough. The overwhelming taste of the artificial cream made our stomachs turn to the point where we immediately spit the bite out. At this moment, we actually considered giving up the whole review, and checking ourselves into Dick’s house—we felt that sick. Maybe if the dish was labeled “cream cheese dumplings,” it may have been acceptable. Labeling it as “Crab Rangoon” was, quite frankly, just false advertising.

Rangoon C – Tuk Tuk Thai – $7: Ah Rangoon C, you gave us the hope to carry on with this review. The presentation was elegant. The dough was formed into a simple envelope shape, but the edges were cut to resemble tassels. This served two purposes: first, it made the rangoon look downright elegant, and second, it actually improved the taste. Through increasing the surface area touching the boiling oil, the cuts made the shell that much more crisp. Good on you, Rangoon C. We were actually excited to take the first bite. To our shock, it tasted like crab! There were substantial pieces of crab in the middle and the whole thing was downright pleasant. We actually finished this piece and took seconds. Rangoon C put us in the right frame of mind to continue on this blind taste test.

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Our next dish was green curry, consisting of a various mix of  ingredients in coconut milk including bell peppers, bamboo shoots, eggplant, zucchini, and basil. A fairly simple and basic Thai dish; yet, it is the mastery of the basics that shows a true culinary master.

Green Curry A – Tuk Tuk Thai – $10.95: Our first impression of the dish was slightly off-putting. Since it had been sitting in the container for fifteen minutes or so, a slight layer of oil had floated to the surface and stained a ring around the inside of the cup. Appearances aside, the dish was pretty good. In order to sample all of the curries properly, we laid down a nice bed of rice and spooned on all of the meat chicken and vegetables. We then spooned on a nice covering of the sauce to soak the rice in the flavor and moisten the ingredients. Curry A inevitably had an oily, creamy texture. The taste was decent. It had a slight kick for Sir Loyn and the Sheriff, but Pier, who obviously couldn’t handle his spice, said it made the hair on his head tingle. The vegetables and the meat were cooked decently well, not cooked until they were bone dry, and absorbed the taste nicely. Unfortunately, Curry A was lacking the signature curry “punch” that usually came in a dish of this type. Ultimately, it was an ok dish. On a side note to all Thai restaurants out there: we understand you really like using oil in your foods. Just please do less of whatever you are doing.

Green Curry B – Thai Orchid – $12: This curry looked a lot like curry A, but without the layer of oil on the top. The team was hopeful that this dish would be a winner. Unfortunately, these dreams were crushed on the third spoonful. While serving his colleagues, Grimes noticed that there was a hair floating in the container. It was short and black, and obviously was not going to taste good. While we understand that accidents happen, if you want to make someone into a repeat customer, it is best not to drop a hair into their food. We had to disqualify Curry B without even taking a bite.

Green Curry C – Kata Thai – $8.95: This curry proves that appearances can be deceiving. The presentation was god-awful. This curry was served in a leaking carryout container usually reserved for dry foods instead of the typical solidly-sealed cylindrical container the other two restaurants used. The color was almost like a keystone-yellow, (yes, we know, this is strange but it is the most accurate and acceptable way to define the color of the dish. If one look up the official shades of yellow on Wikipedia, one will see that the closest shade to Curry C is called “rape yellow”. Needless to say, we will not be describing any food as “rape yellow.”) which was strange because the dish was labeled as green curry. The taste, on the other hand, was actually pretty good. It had a delicious curry pop that made your mouth water as your fork went back for the next bite. The dish was spicy, but not overwhelming, and had found a nice balance that all of the heroes could agree was pleasant. This was probably our favorite curry.

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Our final dish is the legendary Thai dish that everyone and their mother knows: the one and only Pad Thai. Potentially the most effective basis for judging the quality of a Thai restaurant, the gang dives in with slightly lower expectations than they had originally hoped.

Pad Thai A – Kata Thai – $8.95 : The dish was visually pleasing, being a mixture of yellow noodles and splashes of red pepper flakes mixed in. We were excited to try it. The taste was slightly artificial, which may have been because we had waited so long to eat it instead of eating in the restaurant. We couldn’t really pinpoint how the dish tasted so chemically, but it just did. At this point we were getting tired so we made some interesting observations about this Pad Thai. Pier claimed it looked and tasted like the forbidden city. None of us were really sure what that meant (probably not even him), but most likely it was not a compliment. If this was Chinese food, saying it tasted like the royal palace would be a good thing, but since this was Thai, all we can put together was that Pier had mixed feelings. Interestingly enough, the Sheriff also came to the independent conclusion that Pad Thai A also tasted like China. (China the country, not Chinese food per se. We leave this up to you, the readers, to interpret.)

Pad Thai B – Tuk Tuk Thai – $10.95: Like Curry C, Pad Thai B was certainly not a looker. While the other two noodle dishes had pops of color mixed into the container, Pad Thai B was lacking this. It was just a bland yellow (yes, that yellow). As so many food critics know, color almost always signifies taste. And Pad Thai B was certainly bland. (This being said, Pad Thai B was, interestingly enough, the only one that I would feel comfortable serving to my dogs.) In the Indo-Chinese tradition of incorporating French culture into their own, we described the taste in our best French: Le Teste ø Toilette. We have nothing more to say about Pad Thai B.

Pad Thai C – Thai Orchid – $12: This dish had nice color, but so, so, many flaws. First of all, none of the ingredients were mixed into the dish. It was like the chef just had enough of his boss and decided to plop everything into a container to cut the order short. There is a time and a place for keeping ingredients separate, but honestly, who segregates Thai food? On top of this, it just tasted like plastic. The noodles and sauce was utterly flavorless. If you are looking for some flavorless Pad Thai, the gang recommends going to the supermarket and buying a package of “Anne Chun’s instant Thai noodles.” Don’t waste your money on this.

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Ultimately, the gang left thoroughly disappointed. Based on the sheer number of campus blitzes advertising free Thai food along with events, one would expect a fair product; this is, however, not the case. All three restaurants were, quite simply, not up to par with any restaurant the gang had experienced in the past. Sir Loyn, in fact, left the dinner table and went immediately to Dick’s House to deal with his incoming stomach ailment, where they painted his toenails and gums with gentian violet solution and gave him a laxative to throw away into the bushes. We would not recommend ordering out from any of Hanover’s Thai restaurants, with the sole exception of Tuk Tuk Thai’s Crab Rangoon. And if you are unfortunate enough to ever encounter Kata Thai’s Crab Rangoon, we suggest you run the other direction.

  • November Guest

    This is why The Review is frustrating. There’s a need for a more conservative voice on campus and all the resources needed are at your organization’s disposal, but you make yourselves look like out-of-touch amateurs who bitch at length about $10 thai takeout and unsuccessfully aim for the writing style of 18th c. philosophers.