Thai Orchid offers a bright atmosphere, friendly service,authentic dishes and the best Tom Kha in town. Surprisingly, thislazy, secluded and comfortable restaurant never seems to be verybusy.
Located just off of bustling West Burnside, the solitude of ThaiOrchid is amplified in contrast to the noisy street outside. Thedining room, decorated in bright colors, beautiful bouquets ofexotic flowers and one really large orchid mural, is welcoming.Often, I find myself contemplating the enormity of that paintedflower. It’s so big and strange looking, kind of like it waspainted by someone who hadn’t had much orchid painting experiencewas asked to spice up the wall or something. I don’t know. It’sfunny.
Anyway, the food at the Orchid is very good. I like to start outwith the Som Tum salad. With shredded raw papaya, ground peanut,tomato, chili and limejuice, this light dish tingles with a freshbalance of spicy and sour.
Once, on a date at Thai Orchid, I made the terrifying mistake ofeating a chili that appeared to be a green bean. Amidstconversation I stabbed the little pepper with my fork and fatefullybrought it into my mouth. Nothing happened right away, although Idid immediately realize that it was no legume. The hotness seemedtolerable enough, at first. Then, like a rising symphony, my mouthbegan to explode and I felt my face flush.
Frantically, I began reaching for water, bits of papaya, mybeer, anything to stop the burning. My date was startled by the rawexpression of fear that emanated from my suffering red face. I was,for a moment, in a complete state of panic. But eventually the fearand pain subsided, and I ordered a Thai Iced Tea. Yum. So becareful of the green beans … they are not actually beans atall.
On days when I feel a bit under the weather, there is nothingbetter than a little Tom Kha to kick out the germs and nourish yourbeaten-down body. This tasty coconut milk soup with galangal root,lime juice, mushrooms and your choice of meat (I like it withshrimp) is fantastic. In fact, my girlfriend swears by it.
“It’s the best,” she says, “and I am a Tom Kha connoisseur.”Well I don’t know if it’s the best, (or if she actually qualifiesas any kind of Tom Kha connoisseur), but I do know it is reallydamn good. But be careful, those brown chunks aren’t meant to beeaten! They are just pieces of coconut shell, so watch out.
My favorite dish at Thai Orchid is the Pad Kee Mao. Served withyour choice of veggies or meat, (I like it both ways), this dishwith its wide size noodles, egg, chili, broccoli and hot basilleaves is the best. I like it better than Pad Thai. There’s justsomething about the wide noodles and hot basil blending togetherwonderfully that provide a marvelous dish for either lunch ordinner.
All in all, Thai Orchid is quality. Either dine in or take outand you’ll surely enjoy your experience. I put it my mouth and socan you.