Sang Thai

Normally, I don't head out to PoCo for eats.  It is a curiousity that I would travel to Richmond instead when the distance is nearly the same.  Yes, imagine that.  But when it comes to meeting up with Rich Guy, it suddenly becomes convenient since he lives in the neighbourhood.  He was craving Indian food, so we decided on Namaste just on the Western edge of PoCo.  Pulling into the strip mall, I quickly realized that Namaste was no more.  Instead it was Indian Star (which I thought was located in New West).  Then Rich Guy called asking where the heck Namaste was located.  That was when I looked across the street and noticed "Dim Sum".  Yah really?  But the place is named Sang Thai!  And it serves Vietnamese food too???  Thai, Vietnamese and Dim Sum in one restaurant?  That appeared to be a veritable food orgy!  Perfect, we chose to eat there.

Formerly Pearl Castle, the place is indeed a Thai restaurant, in decor and menu items.  But then they decided to throw in some Vietnamese items as well as Cantonese Dim Sum.  The place is Chinese-run, so we weren't expecting authenticity at all.  But to be fair, we were going in with no prejudices.  The food would do all the talking.  To get a sense of the menu, we got one dish each of Thai and Vietnamese along with Dim Sum.  We started with the Pad Thai which had the appearance of Chinese stir fried noodles.  One taste and it was really sweet with only the slightest hint of tartness.  We resorted to adding hot sauce which somewhat brought the flavours into balance.  I liked the al dente noodles as well as the tender chunks of chicken (which were very moist in a Cantonese-type of way).  There was pickled turnip, tofu, sprouts, eggs and peanuts, so it wasn't completely a Chinese stir fry.  If we didn't look at it as a Pad Thai, it wasn't too bad.

Next up was the Lemongrass Chicken with Rice.  It was another stirfry that featured moist "bouncy" Cantonese-style chicken with veggies, garlic and only a hint of lemongrass.  Again, if we looked at it as a non-Vietnamese dish, it was fine for what it was.  The chicken was plentiful, the veggies were crisp and there was no absence of flavour.  It just wasn't Vietnamese.  Onto the Dim Sum items, we had the classic Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) first.  Surprisingly, they were decent with large whole shrimp.  They had a nice snap and were deveined. However, the shrimp were rather bland and in need of seasoning, in particular, sesame oil and white pepper.  The rice flour dumpling skin was a tad thick, but it didn't kill the dish.  Unfortunately, the Sui Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) were not as successful.  The pork was chewy and stiff while being underseasoned as well.  There was no shitake mushrooms to add that Earthy hit, which the dumpling desperately needed.  On the bright side, the shrimp was good though.

Onto the Black Bean Spareribs, we were happy to see there was actually black beans in the dish.  Therefore, the dish didn't lack flavour.  The spareribs themselves were the good pieces being attached to the bone.  The meat was on the chewier side, but there was a good bounce texture.  The button mushrooms underneath were a nice addition.  At my urging, we had the Honeycomb Tripe (which I ate all by myself).  It was a healthy (ironic I know) portion which looked promising.  However, it was a tad too chewy and could've used more cooking.  Flavourwise, it wasn't bad with a decent hit of garlic and sweetness.  Lastly, we had the Gai Lan and it was fine being crunchy and not overcooked.  Okay, the meal wasn't as scary as we thought.  Of course being a 3 cuisine restaurant, compromises needed to be made, such as authenticity.  For us, we didn't really care because our expectations were low anyways.  Not surprisingly, the strongest part of the meal was the Dim Sum (relatively-speaking).

The Good:
- A lot of choice I suppose
- Nice decor
- Service we got was good

The Bad:
- For those seeking authenticity, move along, nothing to see here...

Sang Thai on Urbanspoon

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