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Best Thai Food: Surest source of coconut-scented epiphany 

Won Thai

It's a schlep, but Hercules is a lot closer than Bangkok, and we just haven't tasted anything to compare with the meticulous cooking at this family-run strip-mall Thai place. Made with chicken, ha nu man klug foon — which translates as "Monkey Puts His Face in the Dust," a loopy-sounding reference to Thai myth — has a rare delicacy. The soft-grained flesh comes in a delicate sauce of coconut milk, basil, toasted garlic, and chiles. That's right: delicate. The kitchen stokes epiphanies by turning a light hand to the most hackneyed dishes. Take the tom ka gai. At other restaurants, the coconut-milk soup's syrupy texture and cloying sweetness can make you depressingly aware that the bulk of its ingredients come from cans. But Won Thai's version is noticeably silken, with chicken that seems almost juicy, and the spiky perfume of kaffir lime leaves harvested from the owners' own garden. Worth a Saturday drive, for sure.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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