Pad Thai – with soup, salad and a spring roll
Basil Chicken- with rice, soup, salad and a spring roll
** As a disclaimer this review is about the lunch specials that Thai by Thai has, we have been there on numerous occasions for their regular dinner menu as well, but trying to keep with the cheaper eats theme of our blog, we decided to only review the lunch specials.
Many years ago we used to frequent a Thai restaurant on the corner of 108th and King George. It wasn’t that clean, it wasn’t in the best part of town but the food was amazing! It was the place where we first tried many of the classic Thai dishes. We were young and foolish, so we would get the dishes as hot as they could be. Tears would run down our red faces as we ate our Tom Yum soup. Since that place shut down we’ve searched for the next best Thai food place. We’ve had Thai food all over the lower mainland and in many parts of the U.S. as well. Some were good, some were great, but many were simply a let down from our first Thai food love. The only one coming close was Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, which many consider to not only be the best Thai restaurant in North America, but the best restaurant in North America period!
We found out that there was a new Thai food place on Scott Road. The location where Thai by Thai is has been many different incarnations of South Asian restaurants since the building was first built. However, this is the first Thai restaurant that has been at this location and we were excited to try it out!
During our first visit, which was not during lunch, we ordered our regular Thai staples, Tom Yum soup, Pad Thai, Lard na, etc… I mentioned to the waiter that the Pad Thai we ordered was very similar to one that we used to have at the original Thai restaurant we loved so much. It turns out the reason for the similarity is because it is the same Thai chef! After many years of working for others, and over 10 years later, he decided to open up his own restaurant. We were in love again!
On the first visit to Thai by Thai we noticed the large banner hanging outside the building that mentioned the lunch specials so we knew we would have to come back and try them out.
As the lunch special includes only one main entree with a side of soup, salad, rice, and spring roll, we decided to order two dishes and share them between the two of us. We ordered the Pad Thai and the Basil Chicken.
The Pad Thai was, as usual, the best Pad Thai that I’ve had anywhere. It is a deep rich sauce that is spicy, tangy, sweet, and salty all at the same time. Of course everybody has their own interpretations as to what makes a great Pad Thai, but for me this is it. It has the usual accompaniments of chopped nuts, sprouts, and sliced green onion, but the winner is their sauce and the way the noodles are prepared.
The Basil Chicken was also very good with just the right mix of fresh veggies and chicken. Our opinion is it could use a little more basil, but we love fresh basil and could always use more! Along with the chicken are onions, red and green peppers, green onions, and of course fresh basil all mixed with a spicy sauce.
Did I mention the sauce was spicy? Well, something was definitely up the day we had their lunch specials. The spice level was off the charts. In fact, we were not the only table asking and mentioning the level of spice. The table directly behind us couldn’t even eat their meal it was so spicy. I think it must have been a new brand or a new jar of hot sauce or peppers as it was insanely hot. However, I believe this was a one time issue as all other times we have been, both before and after, we have never had that level of spice.
The sides were surprisingly good as well. Usually with this type of lunch special one is to expect half decent entrées, but lack luster sides. This was not the case. The soup was a very flavourful, rich broth with spinach and other veggies within. The spring roll was very good as well, not greasy as many places tend to be and came with a small dipping sauce. The only issue with the spring roll was that it was a tad on the cold side. I suspect they are prepared prior to lunch and just plated when lunch is ordered. However, this didn’t deter from the fact that the spring roll was better than many others. The rice was fresh, hot, and perfectly al-dente as rice should be…not hard and not mushy. And finally the salad was a fresh, simple salad consisting of iceberg lettuce with a little cabbage and carrot thrown in for good measure. However, the house dressing was very good and left me wanting more.
We have taken several people to Thai by Thai, and ourselves have been numerous times for dinner, lunch, and delivery and it continues to be consistently prepared (other this one very spicy lunch!), have fresh ingredients, is reasonably priced compared to the quality, has great service, and is enjoyed by all who have gone.
M – Pad Thai
Thai by Thai
B – Basil Chicken
9164 120 St, Surrey, BC