I guess it was just as well that lil' sis ate all the beef kebabs on the drive up to the Bay Area because cousin Q's older brother took us out for dinner.
He suggested Chai Thai Noodles in Oakland, which ended up being a great choice because I got to try two new things that I've never had before.
After being seated, we were immediately given Banh Phong Tom (Vietnamese Shrimp Chips) to munch on while we figured out what to order.
The decor was the usual mix of Thai artifacts, but what did I see on the wall?
It's Beerlao, $3.
OK, sure it's not Thai, but after reading Kirk of Mmm-yoso's wonderful series on his trip to Laos, and his quest to find Beerlao in San Diego, and especially after reading on Wikipedia about how Beerlao is made from jasmine rice with hops and yeast imported from Germany, and because it was declared “Asia’s best beer” by TIME magazine and “the Dom Perignon of Asian beers” by The Bangkok Post, I had to order it. Well, first I checked to see if my cousin wanted some because I'm not much of a beer drinker.
But this beer?
Oooooh, all that praise was totally justified. It was light and sweet and tasted almost like sake to me. Too bad I haven't seen it in any grocery stores or even in many restaurants for that matter or else I might just become a beer drinker.
My cousin ordered the kao nam tod (Thai deep-fried rice mixed with minced pork served with mixed vegetables), $6.50, off the specials menu. The rice was at times crispy and soft, the pork was actually Thai sausage and slightly pickled, which reminded me of Vietnamese pickled pork. I had never had this before and totally loved it. My cousin said he saw them making it once, deep-frying balls of rice and then breaking it apart before mixing it with the other ingredients. Oooh! So cool.
The rest of dinner was more familiar dishes.
Pineapple fried rice with pineapples, eggs, cashews, raisins, onions, carrots, and chicken, $7.95. The raisins seemed like an odd touch, but they totally worked in this dish.
Pumpkin curry with chicken, red curry paste, bell peppers, and basil leaves, $7.95.
Pla rad prik (Thai deep-fried pompano with bell peppers, onions, chili paste, and crispy basil leaves), $11.95. Yummy crispy fish and crispy basil leaves.
There were lots of other dishes I wanted to try like the yum pla dook foo (Thai crispy minced catfish with onions, cashews, and shredded apples), $9.95. Too bad Chai Thai Noodles is so far away.
All Northern California posts can be found with the tag, Series: NorCal, but I suggest reading this particular trip in this order:
Persian Dill Rice
Chai Thai Noodles - Oakland
Pho Ga Huong Que Cafe - Oakland
Fentons Creamery & Restaurant - Oakland
Chinatown - San Francisco
Eastern Bakery - San Francisco (Chinatown)
House of Nanking - San Francisco (Financial District)
Banana Leaf Restaurant - Milpitas
Jovino - San Francisco (Marina/Cow Hollow (Closed)
Miette Patisserie (Ferry Building) - San Francisco (Embarcadero)
Butterfly Restaurant (Pier 33) - San Francisco (Embarcadero)
Imperial Tea Court (Ferry Building) - San Francisco (Embarcadero)
Sura Korean Cuisine - Oakland
Centennial Light (World's Longest Lasting Light Bulb) - Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department Station 6 - Livermore
Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant - Coalinga
Chao Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Rice Porridge)
Chinese Scallion Cilantro Dipping Sauce
Chai Thai Noodles
545 B International Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94606
Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
1 year ago today, Xiu Mai (Vietnamese Meatballs).
2 years ago today, Happy Bakery in Alhambra burned down.