Sherman's Food Adventures: Thai New West

Thai New West

7 years ago I had visited Thai New West and came away with a fairly good meal.  Now that was only a few dishes and I always thought I should go back for a more in-depth post.  However, just like with everything else, that was pushed aside due to so many of restaurants I wanted to visit in the meantime.  Conveniently, Mijune was invited to try the place out and I joined her to help eat all of the food.  Mind you, she really doesn't need my help.  She could've finished it all by herself anyways... 

Well, at the very least, I was there to enjoy a meal with good company.  We weren't straying far from the classics as the first two dishes to arrive were the Green Papaya Salad and Chicken Satay.  Sporting the desired crunch, we found the salad to be fresh and well-constructed with green papaya, garlic, carrot, chilli, tomato, green bean, peanuts and fresh lime.  The best part was the balanced flavours including the heat from the chilis as well as the usual fish sauce and accompanying sweetness.  Neatly plated with peanut sauce and cucumber relish (as well as some shrimp chips), the chicken satay were moist and tender (almost juicy).  They were aromatic and properly seasoned.  There could've been a more aggressive char, but then again, that might've dried the chicken out.

We continued on with our favourite appie of the night being the Larb with ground chicken, chilli, roasted rice, onions, herbs and fresh lime.  Unlike some other versions I've had lately, this one was moist, yet not wet.  Sometimes the meat gets dried out, but this one was perfect.  Flavours were also very apparent with a bright acidity complimenting a noted spiciness and brininess from the fish sauce.  So much so, my nose was runny from the experience (which was a good thing!).  The next dish was a little more simple in the Crispy Tiger Prawns.  These large prawns were wrapped like a spring roll. As a result, it kept the prawns moist and maintained their texture with a meaty snap.  The wrapper on the outside was aggressively crunchy which was a nice contrast.

Our last starter was the traditional Tom Yum Goong with lemon grass, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, kaffir and tamarind juice.  Not overly complex but sometimes hard to balance, this was indeed spot on.  We could definitely get all the notes of sour, tangy, spicy, salty (briny from the fish sauce) and sweetness.  The best part was that there were many layers of tanginess from the lime and tamarind as well as the tomatoes.  Lots of large prawns which were meaty as well.  What followed next was my absolute favourite dish of the night - the Pad Kee Mao or Drunken Noodles.  This was a veritable flavour explosion with pops of sweetness, spice and aromatics.  The noodles rode the fine line between being chewy and soft which was just right.  Most importantly, the wok heat was high enough to caramelize the sugars from the ingredients to provide maximum impact.

Onto two curries, we started with the ever-popular Chicken Green Curry.  What struck me when it first arrived was the portion size.  Normally, Thai curries are served in very small bowls because there doesn't have to be a lot to flavour plenty of rice.  However, I was not complaining as more means leftovers!  Well, not in this case...  LOL.  Anyways, it was pretty textbook being creamy and coconutty with the essence of green curry.  Mild undertones of seafoodiness as well as some spiceiness.  Chicken was both plentiful and tender.  Now the Salmon Gaeng Penang was something that I wasn't expecting.  Usually, this comes with beef, but I wasn't complaining as the salmon was perfectly prepared.  It was just barely cooked through which meant it was flaky and moist.  The penang curry was sweet and aromatic with less spice than the green curry.

For our next dish, Pad Bai Horapa, it went well with rice (like the previous two dishes) due to the combination of garlic, fresh chilli, onion, mushroom, basil leaves & bell pepper as well as palm sugar.  The sweetness and aromatics along some spice made it plenty powerful on its own.  Therefore, rice was definitely needed.  This one was made with tiger prawns and it totally went well with the flavours due to its natural sweetness and meaty snap texture.  Due to the use of palm sugar, sometimes Thai dishes taste similar but they do exhibit differences such as the Pad Ped with Beef.  It sported chilli, garlic, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, onions, basil & bell pepper.  The main difference, other than the protein, was the addition of bamboo shoots which added an obvious aroma as well as texture. I would've liked the beef to be a little more tender, but it wasn't chewy though.

Okay, here is a dish I had to have - Pad Thai with Prawns.  No, it wasn't because it is one of the most well-known Thai dishes around either.  To be frank, this was one of the items I wasn't as fond of the last time I visited.  Well, I'm happy to report that it was better this time.  Noodles were chewy and the whole dish was the beneficiary of enough wok heat so that there was not an over-abundance of moisture.  Furthermore, there was a nice balance between sweet, tangy and spice.  The prawns were as good as the other dishes and all of the usual ingredients were there.  Now completely stuffed, we moved onto dessert where we began with the Sticky Rice and Mango.  Another classic dish which happens to be one of my favourites.  This one did not disappoint with soft, yet chewy sweet sticky rice.  Nice and aromatic from the coconut milk.  Beautifully balanced by the tangy and sweet mango.

Of course we had to continue with more desserts (I guess the worst-kept secret with Mijune right?).  We had a delicious Black Rice Pudding consisting of black sticky rice, taro, longan, coconut meat and fresh coconut cream.  This happens to be the Chef's mom's secret recipe.  Well, it is a fine recipe as it was aromatic, not too sweet and texturally a real treat!   Another appealing dessert was the Saku or tapioca pudding with banana and sweet coconut cream.  Very similar to other Asian desserts with the light pops from the tapioca pearls.  Again, aromatic and creamy with only enough sugar for impact.  We actually had on more dessert in the Fried Banana, but I really didn't have much to say about it other than it was crispy and delicious.  That pretty much sums up our meal at Thai New West.  Very solid eats in large portion sizes.  A good choice for the area!

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Impactful flavours
- Well-portioned
- Good spice level

The Bad:
- A touch sweet with some dishes


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