Tangthai Cuisine of Thailand on Robson and Denman, Vancouver

Updated: 27th July 2012: This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

ChowtimesNoWord32x32Complete Disclosure:
Suanne and I were invited by the Tangthai Cuisine of Thailand for a tasting session. This post is based upon the complimentary tasting session.

Some of the best Thai cuisine restaurants that we had tasted was at Tangthai on Broadway. I still remember that visit to Tangthai. It was just the day before we went on a 3 week gastronomic vacation to Spain (Barcelona, Seville and Madrid). It was a rush for us but we went nevertheless. Our mind was clearly not on blogging but it turned out to be more than we expected.

We were impressed at the tasting during summer at Tangthai Broadway and how Dhitichaya Ruengsamarnwong worked so hard to bring authenticity to her restaurant and her food. See our previous blog posting on Tangthai Broadway here.

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Since our last visit, Tangthai had just opened another restaurant with the same name. This new one is located on Robson at the intersection with Denman.

With floor to ceiling glass walls in front, Tangthai on Robson looks a lot more inviting. As we walked into the restaurant, Suanne and I were surprised that Dhitichaya pasted a poster of our review on the entrance of the restaurant. We are just small time bloggers and seeing our post in a poster form was simply surreal. LOL!

Location wise, this new Tangthai restaurant is way better than the one on Broadway. There are lots of foot traffic for sure.

Assisted by her husband, Deo, the main person behind Tangthai is Dhitichaya Ruengsamarnwong. It is such a long name that I am sure that most people will find it hard to remember. So, Suanne and I just called her by her nickname, Sonia.

The Tangthais of Vancouver is an offshoot of a successful Thai restaurant called Padthai in Edmonton.

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Tangthai tries to differentiate itself by being authentic. It is pretty evident as we walked through the doors and greeted with Thai carvings and statues.

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The dining area is adorned with wooden panel carvings. Even the carved table tops were made in Thailand and shipped to Canada. While it was a very nice and pleasant dining area, it is still a little rough around the edges. This is coming from a perfectionist me although I understand that they had just started operation just a few weeks back.

Tangthai has a two level dining area. At the time we were there, only the ground floor is opened to the public. Sonia told us that the upstairs dining area is just days from opening as they put in the finishing touches. I felt that the upstairs dining area would be a great place for people-watching because it overlooks the busy Robson street.

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Suanne and I were not alone this time.

When Sonia contacted us that they wanted to invite us to a media event of sorts to introduce the new Tangthai restaurant, we expressed that we will not like to go to an event that we just jostle with hoards of people and sample minuscule morsels of food. I think food bloggers should be treated with more respect than that! So, I suggested that it would be more meaningful for us if we have a proper sitdown dinner and sample proper food in a proper setting. Sonia liked the idea and then said “bring along your friends too”.

So we brought along friends … quite a lot of them. Blogger friends!

Suanne and I decided to invite some of the very best and most prolific Vancouver area food bloggers along for this tasting. Can you recognize any of them above? The ones that attended are:

I’ll put up a link to their reviews here the moment they post theirs. There were a couple other bloggers who could not make it unfortunately.

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We started off with something called the Prawn Skirt ($9 for four). We had this before and it is good. It is like spring rolls except that they used better ingredients. It is stuffed with prawn, minced crab meat and water chestnut which gives a very distinct texture.  With the sweet chili dipping sauce, it is a good combination.

Too bad we were eating this with friends. This is because I can only do one dipping on the sauce. If I am with Suanne, I will dip into the sauce before each bite.

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The Prawn Skirts were followed by another appetizer. This is Beef and Chicken Satay (4 for $7).

Hah! I did not know that Thais have satay. As far as I know, only Malaysia and Indonesia lay claim to having invented the satay. One of these days Malaysia and Indonesia could go to war over this claim. OK I am exaggerating but at times this is a heated topic.

But Sonia insisted that satay is as much Thai as it is Malaysian or Indonesian. I give her the benefit of the doubt.

There are a lot of similarities to the Malaysian satay but there are also some subtle differences that makes it unique.

It appears that the marinate used is largely similar particularly the use of turmeric which gives it the yellowish tint. I told Sonia that there is a big flaw on her satay and that is the absence of chicken skin. LOL! No seriously. In Malaysia, the best satays have the skin on the skewer which makes it more juicy. I understand why she did not have it because Vancouverites are such health freaks.

The peanut sauce is smooth and creamy unlike the original Malaysian version which is peanuty and chunky. My expectations are biased to the Malaysian version but in all fairness the satay is pretty good.

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Tom Kha Kai. That is spicy chicken coconut soup ($4).

Tangthai uses lean chicken meat in the coconut milk based soup. The soup was rich and lightly spicy. We find that this soup is thicker than what we normally get elsewhere. This is delicious. Personally, I would have prefer to try Tom Yam simply because Tom Yam is a national dish of Thailand.

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The first thing I noticed when the dish came was the food carving.

One of the thing we vividly remember from our last visit to Tangthai Broadway was their very impressive food carving. It seems like they had tone this down a little and not as spectacular here.

This dish is called Pla Rad Prik  ($16). This is deep fried tilapia with sweet and sour sauce. The sauce is more on the sweet side than it is sour which I prefer for fishes.

Tangthai deep fried this so crisp that the some parts of the bones and fins are brittle enough to eat.

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No one touched the head. Good!

I know Suanne would want to pick the flesh. She always does but in the presence of people she did not. Not me.

I had it … all mine!

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Sonia told us that this is a new dish she had just introduced to the menu. So we are kind of a guinea pig of hers for this new dish. LOL!

This is called Pla Mul Pad Prik ($16) or Stuffed Squid in Green Curry Sauce. Nestled among the squid is pieces of fig.

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Sonia said that this is a common dish in Thailand. This dish has a pronounced lemon grass flavour. Although lacking in color, it is quite spicy. I would say unexpectedly spicy despite knowing that it is curry.

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The squid is stuffed primarily with … Continue reading