5810 Robert Oliver Pl.
Columbia, MD 21045
That was awesome.
Yesterday I got my hairs done. I have been seeing the same hairdresser for 10+ years. I know she loves food but I never ask her where to go. So I did. Genius move.
Tonight the Friendly Food and Beverage Brigade went on an excursion to Bangkok Garden in Columbia.
On top of including two ingredients I have never tried, ALL of the dishes were delicious.
We all started with really well made Thai iced teas that weren't too sweet. I prefer the richness of Bangkok Oriental's just slightly over this, but definitely the 2nd best Thai Iced Tea I have tried to date.
We shared the Chicken Curry Puff.
Thanks again to another Yelp! review for this recommendation. As described in the review, these are similar to a samosa but have a creamier filling, and stronger curry flavor. They came with a stupendous dipping sauce.
I think it was honey, a hint of vinegar, chilies and red onion. That alone was worth the 45min car ride. It was perfect because unlike a vinegar based sauce, the honey didn't moisten the crispy fried shell of the puff.
I had to try to the Chive Dumplings since the boys were both having soup courses. These were as you would expect, lovely thick rice dumplings filled with sauteed chives. They came with a savory soy chili dipping sauce, tempered with rice wine maybe?
Dong had Tom-Yum Soup, which is basically Thai hot and sour soup. No egg noodles, but similar flavors. Lots of fish sauce in this one. It came with two huge shrimp.
Chris had macaroni and cheese soup. Ok, thats just what it smelled like... in a good way. It's really Tom-Kha Gai, or chicken galangal soup. It's the combination of coconut milk and fish sauce that smells like kraft macaroni and cheese to me. This had huge chunks of chicken in it and was very flavorful. Lots of umami. I loved it most for their restraint on the galangal.
I am pretty sure galangal is the reason why Thai food and I don't get along well. It is said to act as a stimulant, and like coffee it stimulates the digestion. Heartburn plus stimulation just leads to trouble. That's as far as I am going with that. It must be easy to go overboard with galangal because I can tell what Thai food to avoid based on the strong galangal aromas wafting from certain dishes. It's pretty potent with flavors and aromas that are soapy and sweet like ginger mixed with cilantro, minus the herbaceousness.
For my entree I had Shrimp Pad-Phed-Prik on the waitress' recommendation. This dish is shrimp in a spicy sauce with green peppercorns and Thai eggplant. I have never had green peppercorns and on the stem, nonetheless. If you have never had a green peppercorn they are kind of like caper berries mixed with peppercorns in both flavor and texture.
The eggplant is a bit like a thick skinned cucumber, its texture was very firm in this dish. The flavor is cucumbery to me as well. Inside are seeds that remind me of the texture of figs, but the actual flesh of the fruit is very thick and the skin has a big crunch, but you can cook it till it softens. It looks like a zebra tomato. The dish is a traditional preparation and was incredibly yummy. The chilies were fruity and fresh with a huge kick. Everything melded wonderfully.
Chris had Panang Shrimps. This did have more galangal in it, but was still restrained. I steered clear, sans a small piece of salivation inducing shrimp. The curry was nice and spicy, not separating much like most panang. Tons of rich creamy peanut flavor.
Dong had Bangkok Calamari with garlic so sweet and crispy we thought it had to be some form of unidentifiable fermented animal product. The clamari was perfectly cooked and not greasy or heavy. Even though there was a pretty thick coating of batter it didn't weigh on the calamari. These weren't your cute little sliced bands of calamari these were nice long steaks. The whole dish was covered in fried Thai basil and had another great dipping sauces.
For dessert I had the Taro Cakes in Coconut Milk, Dong had Mango Sticky Rice, and Chris had Rice Custard.
The Taro Cakes were small round balls, almost like mochi, but not as bouncy. Maybe like a soft gnocchi. The broth was hot and sweet and coated your throat, soothing the burn from all of the chilies.
I liked the Mango Sticky rice because they sprinkled toasted rice on top which seems more authentic than peanuts like Viet-Thai Paradise. Bangkok Oriental's rice is still best. Much more creamy.
Chris' rice custard was fine but I'm not a custard person. Only one I have ever liked is Bangkok Oriental's Caramel Custard with Sticky Rice when they don't have the mango.
Overall it was a wonderful meal. No complaints. Except its not closer to my house. Which is really my fault. I should move closer to it.
On a side note, always listen to your hairdresser.
I'm gonna go enjoy my food coma.
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