Khaosan Thai, [San Jose / Campbell ]

(Brian Bulkowski) #1

I’ve mostly given up on thai in the bay area. We must have had a good influx of Thai people in the 80’s. Lers Ros or wherever it was ok, interesting dishes, but I was never enthusiastic. Or that place in the hotel in sf, very disappointed by that one.

Especially compared to what’s in LA, where it seems every thai place is pretty good and the really good places are… really good :slight_smile:

Thai should have bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and I’ll take that over a long menu, personally.

In the south-mid peninsula, I still like Amerin. Sure, it’s only got “classic” thai/american dishes, but if you tell them “spicy” in a firm tone, the food’s not bad although it’s also not that fresh taste you get in thailand.

TommyThai in MV has become very successful. They have interesting cambodian dishes, and a combination of hot and not hot. My indian friends love the place, because they’ll make food hot enough for them. However, I’ve started running into more and more service and delivery issues, call in orders taking too long, etc, that I’ve moved onward. My sister likes Shah in Mt View, I never found it particularly better or worse. Karkade is interesting but a little funky, thaibodia, orchid bay, none really grabs me. That “classic” menu, and dumbed down taste (Karkade has its moments though).

Last night , we had to eat down by campell, and I was jonesing for something spicy (ate a lot of 'mercun for the 4th), and I saw Khaosan Thai in, I guess Cambrian ( about 5 minutes south of campbell ), had good ratings.

They only do “mild” “medium” and “thai”. I found their spice levels were quite good. “Medium” is hot enough for most mortals, and thai was… thai. IE, we couldn’t eat all of our papaya salad. The part I did eat had all the zing of a well done papaya salad in thailand.

All the tastes were just brighter and shinier. Not just hot - plenty hot - but not a soupy saucy hot, lots of fresh veg combined nicely.

There are a few specialties, like northern sausage, but it’s a fairly small menu. Place was small - maybe 9 4-tops and a 12-top communal in the center, and three tables out in the parking lot. Prices were average, I think we spent 45 with tip no alcohol and had left overs.

I wouldn’t call it “worth a detour”, but if I lived in that area I’d be haunting them a few more times, when I’ve got that yen for thai bold taste. Better than what I remember of Orchid Thai in Campbell proper.

( alcohol: I think they have beer and wine. We were sitting outside with the no alcohol signs, I didn’t see much beer on people’s tables )

2 Likes

#2

How so? When we went a few years ago it was pretty empty. Have they gotten a bigger customer base since then?

Good that Khaosan has fresh ingredients. That’s usually first to go when prices are economical. We rarely go to Campbell these days. But will remember them as an option next time we go. Thanks.

Have you been to Must Be Thai on Stevens Creek, or its sister restaurant in Campbell? What do you think vs Khaosan?

But why do we need Thai food super hot though? Shouldn’t we make a distinction between real hot and hot and yet works in harmony with other flavors?

0 Likes

(Brian Bulkowski) #3

When I was going to TommyThai, it was full and the kitchen was backed up every time.

I haven’t been to Must Be Thai. Everything below 237 is far on the low rotation. I’ll be happy to put it on the list if you think it’s good.

Why does thai have to be super hot? It doesn’t! But there are dishes which are designed to be in balance with a pretty shockingly high level of spice. Papaya Salad is one of those. The “Thai Omlette” was a bland dish, but designed to be so, and they made it bland.

The problem is dishes which have stood the test of time in the native region, then get twisted during importation. Some cuisines seem to adapt more easily, I might say chinese is almost designed for adaptation, but IMHO thai is not like that. What I like about thai is how stridently Thai it is. Some small adaptation works, but …

I had a really nice thai meal in Sydney a few weeks ago, Long Chim, had a few good tastes. The spice level was just a little knotch down but a great level of complexity and taste. Reminded me what I like about thai, but me back on track of trying a few more local joints.

0 Likes

#4

Of the South Bay Thai places I’ve been to I like Must Be Thai the most. It’s not just curry in 4 different colors and pad Thai. There are a couple of places that folks have brought up here in the last year, but I haven’t had a chance to try yet.

0 Likes