BANGKOK SIAM



“AUTHENTIC AND TRADITIONAL THAI FOOD”

Bangkok Siam 

9707 66th St NPinellas ParkFL 33782-3008  (USED TO BE 9725-66th)
IN THE SOUTHLAND PLAZA   Eat-in, Take-Out   727-546-1111

They moved five doors south in the same SOUTHLAND Plaza to 9707-66th Street north in Pinellas Park when they ran out of room as what happens when the locals and community frequent and like a place.  This place centers on the food, as it should be since garish and fancy does not mean a good meal.

They tripled their capacity and store size adding an entire section for catering and parties, dancing and entertainment.  They have a good following in the Thai, Laotian, Cambodian community, especially Saturday night, It’s live.

My associate who is the Chairman of the LAO ART and CULTURAL  Foundation, Inc, Mr. Chantho Vorasarn gently twisted my arm and invited me to lunch.  This was my first time at Bangkok Siam, and it was a treat.  You go to an ethnic restaurant with someone who is of the culture and you not only enjoy it’s uniqueness,  you learn.

Thats important as I write about food and enjoy dishes from around the world and differing cultures, so every experience is a learning process. And there is a lot to learn.  Many places convolute their food to what I call the “American Version”.  Mexican food has about four differing scenarios (Mexicano, Tex-Mex, TacoBell-Mex and something I had in Atlanta)  and I learned that when I took a couple of my associates who are from Mexico to Taco Bell for lunch, they were asking me what half the dishes were.  They never heard of them, so much for authenticity.   

Back to the food, the place is all about the food and thats it’s success.  No clowns, no kings, no little girl, just real authentic food from half way around the world.  

You start with a small bowl of soup and a small salad. The soup being rich clear broth with scallions, cilantro, small bits of meat, garlic oil and other herbs and spices. It was delicious Then another small serving of salad with broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce and tomato with a peanut dressing, just to get the palate going.

I ordered something I hadn’t had in forty something years. I opted for the traditional Pad THAI, the most popular dish from that region of the world with about five hundred variations but this one was good. If you went to Thailand today, probably the biggest street food served.   I once said "Pad Thai" means "Thai Traditional" translated. The Thai Staple. 

Pad Thai is meat, thin rice, noodle, egg, bean sprouts, scallions and ground peanuts, and the customary lime (Do It Yourself ) is right on the plate, next to the orange slice.  You can have it with chicken which I had or beef, seafood, and ten other variations.  Its a very substantial order of Pad Thai, and you will not walk out hungry possibly even refusing desert.  I’m a good eater and I barely finished it. 

My friend from Lao ordered beef with BokChoy, Noodles and Scallions.  Most dishes are mixtures , some very complex dishes require skills, such as when to add what spices especially and how much, and in the kitchen you see very few cookbooks in true Southeast Asia cooking and it reminded me of how my mother used to cook.   She used to say, “A pinch of this, a spoonful of that, two of this” and never wrote anything down, but her favorite comment was a cookbook never tasted anything!  

I cook a lot with a wok and know that seconds can make or break a dish, patience is a virtue and the food here is well worth it.  I liked this place for several reasons.   Again the focus is on food, actually reminded me of a place we ate at in Udorn, located near Udon Thani, one of seven American Base’s in Thailand shared with the Royal Thai Air Force during the Vietnam War. 

The food is authentic, the menu gratefully in English, the service spot on, the place is clean, and a good following in the community which tells me of its authenticity.

Couple of points of light:
• There are three small compartmented dishes - three in line on the table all filled with varying degrees of I believe Thai chili heat. 

1)  The first section is average and culmative heat, how much you use depends on what you can handle comfortably.
2)  The second or middle dish of heat is for professional fire breathers who are refilling their tanks.
3)  The third or end powdered chili is for resurrecting the dead.
I stayed with compartment one.

• You may not get all the dishes at the same time: Their culture wants to deliver the food as soon as it hits its peak and serve it but, woks (even those 1000 degree propane fired monsters) only cook one or two serving at a time. Restaurant food is measured in minutes, Thai, Lao, Cambodian, food because of the complex nature of their ingredients and the extreme cooking heat is sometimes measured in seconds. 

• I watched a table of seven and the dishes came out of the kitchen as they were made insuring, cooked perfect, hot and delivered quickly. They do not hold up an order to make everything at once which is OK with me. I agree, I eat in the moment, not in the trough. 

Obviously I liked this place.



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