Once again, a food challenge brought me out to Ban Chok Dee in Langley. However, unlike the last time, I brought along an eating companion (Miss Y) who would assist me in eating more than merely one dish. As part of the Fried Chicken Challenge, my mission was to help find the best entry within the participating restaurants. Despite the significant trek out to Ban Chok Dee, my past experiences have been good. Besides, we made it a pit stop before we headed out to Castle Fun Park in Abby.
Not messing around, we were immediately served the aforementioned entry in the competition being the BCD Nahm Gai Tord. The cured chicken wings were fully penetrated by the marinade resulting in a flavourful garlicky and mildly salty flavour. Furthermore, the meat was fairly moist for a fully cooked wing. The exterior was nicely caramelized and slightly charred that emanated a smokiness. To top things off, the spicy ginger caramel sauce added the missing elements to balance everything off. Next, we were presented with an experimental dish being Chef Lopston's take on Tom Yum Soup. This version was pretty rich and full-bodied (a bit too thick). So much so, I ate it with rice. Coconutty, creamy with notable spice and tang, the fried dumplings (filled with shrimp) soaked up all the flavours.
With yet another new dish, we were treated to the Eggplant with shrimp and ground pork. One whiff and it was obvious the classic Thai flavours were employed including fish sauce, lemongrass, galangal and basil. I found the eggplant to be soft, but not mushy while the prawns were appealingly cold-water crunchy. There was a certain spiciness to the dish that gave it a kick but didn't overwhelm. Miss Y was debating as to which appie we were going to order. The solution? Get the Chok Dee Platter with Pork & Chicken Satay, Golden Wontons and Spring Rolls. Nicely charred and caramelized, the pork satay rocked while the chicken was lean but not dry. We found the spring rolls to be rather dense and lacking in flavour, but the acidic and sweet dip made up for it. Firmly crunchy, the wontons were pretty good with lean ground pork inside.
Onto our second soup, we had the Tom Kha Gai which was coconutty in terms of aroma. The thickness provided by the coconut milk was not overdone which meant the soup ate like a soup rather than a sauce. It was markedly spicy while not overly so. The lemongrass, galangal and fish sauce were all discernible with each spoonful. There was also a good amount of ingredients including plenty of sliced chicken breast. Moving along, we tackled our first entree with the Beef Penang Curry. I've had this before on my first ever visit to BDC and it was exactly how I remembered it (good consistency). Again, there was an immediate spiciness that wore off slightly to reveal the coconut milk, significant lemongrass content and galangal. This was pretty powerful, but when combined with rice, it was just right. There was a good amount of beef which was a touch chewy, but would be an incorrect preparation if tenderized.
Miss Y wanted a fish entree but not salmon as she had eaten lots of it recently. So that left the Five Spices Fish consisting of basa as the best option. Trying to not sound like a broken record, the dish was definitely spicy but not in a bad way. The crispy batter held up to the sauce and ingredients while the fish remained flaky and moist. Of note, this was not in reference to Chinese 5-spice, rather it was their own 5 different spices and flavourings. Of course we couldn't forget about the Pad Thai as I love the dish (as long as it is prepared properly). Spiked with tamarind, there was a balanced amount of tartness to go with the palm sugar and fish sauce. The whole dish was also spicy where the flavours were impactful and appealing. There was a good amount of wok heat where the sugar had caramelized with a certain smokiness. The large prawns were nicely cold-water crunchy and sweet. I would've liked to see less moisture though as well as a wedge of lime.
A little off the board, I decided to order from the Street Food section and selected the Cured Dry Pork Ribs which were presented with a side of sticky rice. Despite being pretty dark in colour, the ribs were not burnt, rather there was a certain savoury smokiness about them. With a touch of sweetness balanced by the tart dip, the meaty pieces of ribs were only a bit dry with an appealing chewiness. For dessert, we began with a relatively common dessert in the Fried Banana. To change things up a little, we went for green tea ice cream rather than coconut. Nothing much to say other than the banana was not too soft while the light batter was crispy. Overall, Miss Y and I enjoyed our meal except for the spring roll. I would say BDC is still a solid place for Thai in Langley.
*All food and beverages excluding gratuities were complimentary*
- Generally well-prepared food
- Asked for spicy and got spicy
- Fairly large menu
- Wasn't a fan of the spring roll
- Not really a negative, but be sure to ask for spicy if you want impact of flavours