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New to Thai food, any advice?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Dining New to Thai food, any advice?

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    My new year’s resolution is to be more open to trying new foods. I’ve always wanted to try more Thai food but I’ve always been hesitant and always end up going with the “safe” standbys like pad thai etc. I do love pad thai but I want to start expanding my palette. I’m not a huge coconut milk fan since my experience is that it’s always too heavy handed, but I’m willing to try dishes if it is incorporated and done right. I like flavorful spicy food so I’m not afraid of chiles. I don’t have any food allergies, and I’m open to tofu and vegetarian friendly dishes.

    Any advice? What are your must-try Thai dishes around Columbus?



    You have come to the right place.
    (not me, there are a LOT of foodies on this board)

    Most places in Columbus temper their food to their clients. I have to be very specific to get it full strength.

    I’m hearing that Nida’s on high is a good place to start.
    I like Thai Orchid, but that is a hike.

    Tell the server exactly what you just told us. If they are unsure, tell them to ask the cook or owner. They will be happy that you decided to choose them to expand your horizons and should help you out.



    I love exploring all sorts of new Thai dishes; one that I always find myself coming back to, for whatever reason, is Tom Kha Gai. Not sure if that’s on your list of standards, though, or if it’s too heavy-handed on the coconut milk….


    @Tenzo I definitely respect the opinions on here and have been a long time reader. I’m starting to participate more on here. All that talk about Basil got me thinking.

    @Bear I’m more than willing to try it out. Where is your favorite place to get it from? When I’ve tried certain things there hasn’t been a very good balance of flavors and I don’t like when there is too much coconut milk and it isn’t balanced by anything else. From what I understand about well prepared Thai food, is that it has delicate flavors and it’s supposed to hit all the different parts of your palette.



    It’s one of those standards that restaurants generally don’t get too far wrong. That said, I’m having a hard time coming up with one locally that I really love… Nida’s is good but has a boatload of mushrooms and not as much spice or lemongrass as I’d like personally, so that might not be a good choice if you’re looking for something to balance the coconut milk. Bangkok is probably a better bet for you, if you make it down to Refugee Road at all.



    Thai restaurants or restaurants with Thai food that I like in no particular order…

    Thai Orchid
    Thai Lagoon
    Chi Thai
    Hunan Lion

    I’m a big curry fan. Even if coconut milk isn’t your favorite, figure out if you prefer green, red, yellow or massaman curry. Try peanut noodles and spring rolls.

    Since I’m a vegetarian, I’ll also say that Thai food is sort of vegetarian with an asterisk. Thai restaurants use fish sauce like other Asian countries use soy sauce, so if you’re trying VEGETARIAN vegetarian offerings, be mindful of the fish sauce. Most places will hold fish sauce if you ask nicely.



    Thai Lagoon on the North end has an excellent assortment of dishes to choose from, and the service is exceptional. They will walk you through their menu and make appropriate suggestions. This is the original owner of Jasmine near Grandview, a restaurant he had to close when he went overseas for a number of years. They produce on of the better Pad Thai dishes I’ve ever had, the perfect blend of peanutty sweet and spicy, and good sized jumbo prawns. It’s located across from the Anheuser Busch brewery in a Comfort Inn, so it’s a little hard to find. PM me if you need directions.

    Indochine off of Hamilton Road has a number of S.E. Asian delights. The husband and wife team are especially warm and will accommodate your tastes. They make a really good Pad Thai on request, though most of their cuisine is Vietnamese and Laotian influenced.



    If I was asked to help someone branch out from pad Thai, I’d recommend starting with ‘pad see ew’ (a noodle dish with slightly different flavors, but nothing too challenging). From there, I’d suggest ‘yum nuea’ (AKA nam tok, tiger tear, tiger cry…) a spicy, citrusy, fish saucy, beef salad – this has a more of the typical Thai flavors that people seem to either love or hate, but is probably accessible than a lot of others. Then, laab (aka larb), and then… just go for it.

    I think Nida’s does a decent job of making Thai accessible to American tastes. If you want to dive into the deep end, though, check out Bangkok on Refugee rd.


    @Bear I love Nida’s sushi at North Market but I haven’t had the chance to stop into Nida’s on High yet. We always plan to go, then something comes up.

    @deraj1013 Lemongrass is a little pricey for me and it’s more Asian fusion than I’d like. I’m probably going to head up to Thai Lagoon later just to get out of downtown for a little bit. This holiday season has gotten everyone extra crazy this year. I consider myself a flexitarian so about 85% of what I eat is veggie based. I am big fan of peanut noodles but would like to challenge myself a little more. I’m definitely familiar with Indian curries (since I’m from Indian descent) so I’m probably going to take up your suggestion of trying out the different curries.

    Thank you for the suggestions everybody!

    Happy Festivus!!! :)



    2 quick suggestions. PS Thai Thai has very friendly people, great specials, and it’s cheap. I think it is a great place to try different things without being on the hook for a big tab. (Try the Thai fried rice, absolutely yummy.)

    If you do make it to Bangkok (as was suggested earlier), the Nam Tok is a must order. (assuming you eat beef). Do not look for it with the entries. It is actually in the spicy salads section. Don’t let this fool you, this is not a salad in any traditional sense. What it is as a big pile of spicy marinated beef goodness. (with 1 or 2 pieces of lettuce on the bottom.) One of my favorite dishes anywhere.
    (caveat: very strong on the fish sauce though).

    Good luck!


    @patient_zero and @deraj1013 Thai Lagoon is amazing. I got the Tom Kha and it was such a beautiful broth. A perfect choice for a cold winter night. They added just the right amount of spice to clear up my cold. I ordered the Red Curry Chicken as my entree. I can’t get over how fresh the vegetables were in it. The sauces and broths were very impressive with delicate balanced flavors. From there I started talking to the owner and he mixed a Mai Thai for me and had me try some sort of traditional sticky rice/custard dessert. I also had the fried bananas. Both were fantastic and I ate all of both of them… by myself. I also got talked into karaoke while I was there after their closed. Extremely nice wonderful people. Excellent service. Great price point. Highly recommended. Also they have trinkets and jewelry straight from Thailand for sale if you are looking for last minutes gifts. Gorgeous stuff there!



    I second the recommendation for Bangkok on Refugee. It looks like a dive, but they have really good food.



    DavidF wrote >>
    2 quick suggestions. PS Thai Thai has very friendly people, great specials, and it’s cheap. I think it is a great place to try different things without being on the hook for a big tab. (Try the Thai fried rice, absolutely yummy.)

    +1 on PS Thai Thai. I love their version of Tom Kha Gai soup – I get it once a week.

    To be honest I’ve liked every new Thai dish I’ve tried. Of course some I liked more than others, but none have been ‘bad’ So just jump in and try them all. You’ll soon find your favorites.
    I use 3 dishes to test a new Thai place – 1) Pad Thai (of course) If a place cant make decent Pad Thai that makes me wary. 2) Yellow Curry (Gang Garee) This dish varies greatly from place to place. Everyone makes it diferently. 3) Tom Kha Gai soup. Again, this varies from place to place.

    Have fun trying new dishes. Remember, its the journey!



    Hmm… sounds like I should make a New Year’s resolution of my own. Despite loving Thai food I hadn’t heard about half of these places, and they sound well worth exploring!!



    Sounds like I need to get to Thai Lagoon. Thanks for the review!

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