When Scott's girlfriend, Chali was in town we were eager to search out the most authentic Thai food we could find. Chali grew up eating Thai food, cooked by her mother and she's also spent much of her life in Thailand. Figured we'd venture away from our neighborhood favorite, Thai Cottage...all the way to the Heights for our dining experience!
Asia Market is really a tiny food shop (on a rather run down part of W. Cavalcade St.) that also prepares meals. On the internet I noticed "grungy" and "hole in the wall" being used by reviewers who also adored the flavorful dishes. As you can see in the photo, the tables are squeezed into the front of the shop where you can eye stacked bags of rice and crowded shelves of goodies while you dine! 3 bonus points for the browsing possibilities! I would not use the word grungy! It just felt like eating in a friend's cluttered home.
Papaya Salad!! Chali was very excited about this, because it is not always served in Thai restaurants. It looks like noodles, but is really shredded papaya with shrimp. We shared this cold dish, using the plastic goods at a nearby table where you also help yourself to condiments and sauces and pitchers of water. Again, I felt like I was getting up from my kitchen table to serve myself from the fridge! Comfy...not grungy!
Another thing Chali was fairly giddy about was sticky rice. I guess it's harder to make than steamed, so her mother doesn't make it as often. In the photo she's teaching Scott to use his hands.
Now about chopsticks... for years I thought using chopsticks in a Thai restaurant showed your ignorance. Chail says she uses them for noodle dishes. 3 bonus points for what I learned!
I ordered Tom Yum Soup with chicken for my main dish. I am a big fan of coconut milk, so this was a treat! The soup was packed with chicken, veggies and spice. I had heard food can be pretty hot here, but this was just about right. I had a little water in my Styrofoam cup, just in case!
3 points for Tom Yum soup! I actually had enough left over for lunch the next day!
Don is looking very sly about his Pad Thai! We certainly can't give him any bonus points for trying a new and unusual dish, since Pad Thai is about the most common of dishes in Thai restaurants. But he said it was quite tasty!
The photo hardly gives a peek at the other diners, but with only 8 tables you wouldn't expect much people watching. However, by the time we left all the tables were full.
3 points for a very eclectic crowd of diners (as well as food shoppers) We had a policeman and UPS driver. We had a curious Johnny Depp/Carlos Santana guy. A surfer dude trying to dress for business... Less than half the crowd was Asian, which was a bit surprising since the store attracts customers seeking Asian ingredients. But all in all there was a likeable feel to the curious characters we dined near!
Our server Phloi (sp?) added many bonus points to our meal adventure. She was very delighted to learn that Chali's mother is Thai, but even more delighted when Chali told her that her parents had almost named her Phloi!
2 bonus points for Phloi!
Hearing the Thai language certainly added to authenticity. I couldn't understand a word, but wondered why Chali anwered a question with "Nit noi". (that's the name of a Houston Thai restaurant) But Chali said she was just answering Phloi's question of "how spicy?" with "a little bit."
5 Bonus points for Chali helping us have an authentic adventure!
TOTAL OF 19 POINTS FOR ASIA MARKET!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.