Thai

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Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram

Every year, Wat Florida Dhammaram, a Thai Theravada Buddhist monastery and temple in Kissimmee, Florida, hosts the Taste of Thailend festival. I’m embarrassed to admit this is the first time I’ve attended though it is the 15th year of celebration. Thai restaurants and local families from all over Florida come to this temple to sell food and fundraise for the temple. Entrance is $12 and it’s all you can eat. From pad thai noodles to pork and sticky rice, to chicken satay and Thai tea and more – you can pretty much try a wide range of tasty Thai food while you are here.

Two menacing Buddhist protector guardian dieties stand guard over the main meditation hall where a gold plated Buddha sits. Various statues and scenes from Buddhist literature can be found around the sprawling temple grounds, like a statue of Buddha’s mother Maya standing over a baby Buddha.

Performances and dances take place on the main stage while visitors line up to nosh at the many booths set up around the temple.

One of my favorite items that I tried was the Thai rice crepes with sweet coconut and this coconut rice dessert. Everything was quite tasty, though. Check out photos below:

Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram

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This is a relatively new Thai restaurant located just a few miles north of the Orlando International Airport. The owners are family with the owners of SEA Thai, the popular Thai restaurant on Colonial Drive near the Fashion Square mall.

Decor is nice, a bit subdued. Thai food to me is a hit and miss – lots of noodles, lots of rice, lots of curry would be an over simplification. Sour, sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, all flavors that go together in Thai cuisine. Unfortunately at most Thai restaurants in America, the spicy portion is often toned done. Spice Thai, though good, was not an exception.

Sure, they have the spice rack with peanuts and chilis that you can add yourself. But, for some reason I feel the dishes I had, the panang curry, needed some more seasoning and spices. Overall, great if you are in the mood for Thai in the area, but it needs some spice.

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Pineapple steak

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Panang Curry with chicken and tofu

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Chili Jam Fried Rice with Beef and Fried Tofu - Sweet and Spicy

This tiny Thai restaurant has been on Aloma for as long as I’ve known – and it’s been suggested that this is the first Thai restaurant in Orlando. It was long past over due for a visit so I went with a friend recently for lunch to check out their offerings.

I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of Thai food. I don’t know why but the noodle and rice dishes I have found in Orlando’s Thai restaurants have been more subdued or just rather bland than I am accustomed to – after a few bites, I’d get bored with my dish.

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For some reason, I have this feeling that the dishes have been “dumbed” down a notch to not offend any Western sensibilities – read: less of the “Thai hot” flavors. I am not a fan of scorching Thai hot either, but maybe a medium between the two extremes of hot and mild/bland is where the real authentic flavor is.

Anyways, I was happy to discover that Thai Villa’s dishes stay true to the Thai palate and were quite full of flavor.

I make it a point to look for and order the “Stuffed Chicken Legs” each time I see it on a menu at a Thai restaurant. It’s one of my favorite Thai dishes – a whole chicken drumstick and wing that’s been stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, noodles, and mushrooms, and then grilled or fried. The ones here are fried and are an ample serving for two – they hit the spot, tasty, fresh, and filling as an appetizer.

For my lunch, I ordered the chili jam fried rice with beef and crispy tofu, while my dining companion ordered the traditional chicken pad thai. My fried rice was very enjoyable with nice sweet chili spice flavors and the crispy crunch from the fried tofu. A little dash of crushed peanuts from the house spice jars and it’s a hit. The chicken pad thai that I sampled from my friend was also quite good.

I can see why this place is packed for lunch, and would definitely return.

Closed Wednesdays.

Thai Villa on Urbanspoon

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Stuffed Chicken Wings
Stuffed Chicken Wings
Chicken Pad Thai
Chicken Pad Thai
Chili Jam Fried Rice with Beef and Fried Tofu - Sweet and Spicy
Chili Jam Fried Rice with Beef and Fried Tofu – Sweet and Spicy

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PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

Purple Orchid Thai Cafe and Grocery store is located in a rather “sketchy” hidden strip mall plaza on the south side of Colonial Drive, just east of the SR 417 exit. Of course, it’s never good to judge a book by its cover and Purple Orchid is no exception.

Purple Orchid’s owner Nisa recently moved down to Florida from the DC area, leaving her job as a pharmacist to follow her dreams and her daughter who is attending college at the nearby University of Central Florida.

This is her first time running a restaurant, but she is fearless and has some really great, authentic Thai dishes that make the place stand out. Everything is also very reasonably priced, as well, with many dishes for lunch ranging from $5.95 to $7.95.

I visit with my dining companion, Justin, who heads up the new Chowzter app, that serves like a Zagat for local small restaurants,  available on iOS and Android.

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE
Purple Orchid’s owner Nisa (like Lisa but with a N)

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

The back area of the cafe serves as a Thai grocery store. I suppose they will always have the ingredients needed for their dishes!

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

On Fridays, they have lunch specials served from the cart, like this massaman curry chicken.

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

We start off with the Thai dumplings (Kanom Jeeb), a type of siumai like steamed dumpling filled with a shrimp and pork meat mixture, spices, and served with soy sauce.

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

I really enjoyed the Thai fish cakes (tod mun) – deep fried spicy Thai fish paste cakes served with sweet and sour sauce and pickled cucumber salad. They had a nice crunchy texture and the spices in the fish cake brought out the flavors well.

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

For more lunch, I ordered the Thai Beef Noodle soup, served with beef meat balls, rice noodles, in a spicy Chinese 5 Spice based broth and topped with mint herbs and scallions.

PURPLE ORCHID THAI ORLANDO CAFE

Justin ordered the pad thai ($5.95), a filling and tasty sweet  chicken pad thai mixed with bean sprouts, scallions, and eggs.

Overall, the food was delicious and the charming Purple Orchid Thai cafe might just become one of my new favorite Thai places in town.

Menu
Menu
Pad Thai
Pad Thai
Drunken Noodle
Drunken Noodle

Purple Orchid Café & Thai Food Grocery on Urbanspoon

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The inspiration for Miami Beach’s Khong River House (a part of the acclaimed 50 Eggs Restaurant Group) comes from the rural villages and city markets of Thailand. The restaurant is named after the Me Kong River that flows through South East Asia.

I recently visited the happening spot with my family on a recent trip to Lincoln Road mall and found my way to this beautiful gem.

Many of the flavors tasted quite authentic, homey, but maybe a little too homey as the dishes could have used a little bit of complexity in flavor profile to bring it up a notch.

http://www.khongriver.com/

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Korat Beef Jerky with yellow sticky rice with spicy fish sauce dipping sauce – one of the favorites of the evening, the beef was deliciously marinated and dried and went well with the yellow rice and fish sauce.

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Northern Style Pad Thai – pretty standard, but tasty, pad thai – though I wish it had some more meat or something to give a contrasting flavor and texture to the noodles.

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Crab fried rice with chili and garlic – very good fried rice, though the crab was a bit too subtle

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Vietnamese-style crispy prawns. sauteed with fresh thai chili, garlic, shallots, spring onion and spiced. – these shrimp were a bit stale rather than crispy but the flavor was good. Just wished it was more fresh

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Burmese egg noodles – this dish was way too salty

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Slow-cooked whole pork leg. traditional northern hill tribe-style whole pork leg braised in a blend of 16 spices and oyster sauce served with spicy chili vinegar and fresh steamed buns – This was a huge piece of pork leg, the flavor was very reminiscent of Vietnamese thit kho, the stewed beef with hard boiled egg, that we make at home all the time haha…

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All-natural rotisserie chicken, marinated for two days in coconut milk and stuffed with lemongrass, turmeric, garlic and coriander seed. served with thai sticky, a spicy-sweet dipping sauce, and  papaya salad

Overall, a few hits and misses, but Khong River House is definitely worth a try in Miami Beach.

 

Khong River House on Urbanspoon

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Tucked away next to the Coliseum of Comics in a small plaza near the Mall at Millenia (next to the Super Target), NaraDeva Thai is truly a hidden gem. When you first walk into the restaurant (previously occupied by Bear Rock Cafe), you are immediately transported into a world resembling a wooden village in the jungles of Thailand. The decor is lush and earthy, with all the pieces hand picked by co-owner Tammy, a native of Thailand. Over the fireplace, a solemn statue of Buddha sits watching over the restaurant by the eastern wall.

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A Look inside NaraDeva Thai Restaurant
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Naradeva comes from the ancient Sanskrit word meaning “human being”, a ancient language that came to Thailand via India. The restaurant is a by-product of a beautiful love story spanning the world and over two decades. The owners of NaraDeva Thai restaurant, Tammy and Ali, originally met as students in Paris, and finally arriving here in Orlando, Florida.

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The owners graciously hosted a food blogger media event to showcase their dishes and items to our readers. The waitresses and staff were all excellent and kind and the food was delightful. The menu, filled with authentic Thai dishes, is featured in English and in Thai for the native speakers out there.

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Steamed Dumplings ($5.95) at NaraDeva Thai

For appetizers, we began with the Steamed Dumplings ($5.95), steamed Gyoza Wrapper, filled with a seasoned pork mix, with garlic chives and shredded cabbage in sesame sauce, served with Sweet & Sour Soy Dip. The dumplings were soft and tender, and I particularly enjoyed the texture of the dumpling wrappers, made with a very thin, delicate skin.

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Chicken Curry Puffs : $ 5.95

Another favorite appetizer were the Chicken Curry Puffs ($5.95), home-made crunchy puff pastries filled with mildly spiced, curried chicken and potatoes

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Chicken Satay $7.95
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Shrimp Rolls ($7.95)
I really enjoyed the Shrimp Rolls ($7.95), crispy, fried whole shrimp wrapped with ground pork mix fried in a spring roll sheet and with a sweet Thai chili dipping sauce.
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Crunchy Shrimp Salad $ 13.95, made with crunchy battered shrimps, on a bed of mixed vegetable salad, drizzled with House Recipe tangy Thai Salad Cream
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Spicy Beef Salad $ 13.95
The large plate of Spicy Beef Salad $ 13.95, made with slices of grilled Beef Steak, tossed in spicy & sour salad sauce, with cucumber, tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro was fresh, filling, and healthy.
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Thai Red BBQ Fried Rice $ 12.95, a Fried Rice with B.B.Q. pork, eggs and chopped scallions. This dish is one of the most popular dishes at NaraDeva and I can see why; The bbq is sweet and salty, the fried rice is flavorful and rich, unlike any other fried rice that you would find normally.
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Battered Prawns in Sweet Tamarind Sauce $ 19.95, crunchy battered prawns, sautéed in Sweet Tamarind Sauce served on a bed of Steamed broccoli, cauliflower & carrots
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Classic Combo: Coconut Pandan Rice with Thai Jerky (Beef) and Papaya Salad $ 16.95
Steamed Jasmine Rice in Coconut milk with a subtle blend of Pandan Leaf fragrance, served with Thai Jerky (beef). I thought the pandan coconut rice was very unique in its flavor, a sweet and aromatic taste. The dish was very large, reminding me of those rice and beans and pork dishes you could get at the local lechonera. The beef here is fried and served with some fish sauce I believe, making it a tad bit on the salty side.
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Crispy Duck $ 19.95, boneless Duck, lightly battered, deep fried until crispy served with your choice of sauce. This duck was truly crispy, fried, and delightful.
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Deep-Fried Whole Snapper with choice of sweet chili, sweet and sour sauce $ 28.95 – $ 34.95
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Soft shell crab served with a yellow curry sauce $ 19.95
Thai Desserts
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Thai Coconut Cream Custard $3.95, steamed coconut cream and rice flour custard pudding in mini cups. This dessert reminded me of the ones my mom used to make growing up, very simple yet touching.
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Thai Doughnuts with Pandan Coconut Custard Dip $ 4.95.  The pandan coconut custard dip really brought out this dish, made with the aromas of the pandan, a fragrant leaf found in south east Asia.
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Sticky Rice with Sweet Taro Stuffing $ 4.95
Steamed and served wrapped in banana leaf, with Coconut Cream Sauce dip
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Black Sticky Rice with Coconut in Palm Sugar Caramel Topping $ 4.95
Black Sticky Rice with Shredded Coconut in Palm Sugar Caramel topping, topped with Coconut Cream Sauce
Overall, I was very impressed with the large array of dishes, authentic and unique, to Thailand that NaraDeva Thai has to offer. My favorites of the night included the crispy duck, the Thai Red BBQ Fried Rice, Crunchy Shrimp salad, and all of the wonderful Thai desserts! I would definitely check this place out again and try more of their menu items.
Hours
Everyday
11:00am – 9:30pm
Address
4696 Millenia Plaza Way
Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 903-0300
naradevathai@yahoo.com
www.naradevathai.com
http://facebook.com/naradevathai
NaraDeva Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Thai Basil for lunch – Winter Springs

Day to day, I am always on the lookout for a place to go for lunch especially if there aren’t any leftovers from last night’s dinner. One of the most reliably tasty places that I have been to is Thai Basil. I’ve actually been here a couple times for lunch before and they have never disappointed.
Thai Basil sits behind Carrabba’s in a plaza on the corner of Tuscawilla Road and Red Bug Lake Road in Winter Springs, FL. Its menu features dishes such as the traditional pad thai, duck noodle soup, green curry fried rice all for under $7.50.
Inside, the restaurant has a elegant, magical feeling to it: huge framed mirrors line the walls creating infinite reflections of the dining area and long, sweeping purping curtains adorn the front end, and artifacts and paintings of scenes from Thailand are scattered throughout the restaurant.

The service here is always attentive and friendly. One of the young women who worked there was actually off the day I was there but charmingly told me she loved Thai Basil so much that she couldn’t stay away, so she had come to have lunch with the rest of the crew there.
Thai cuisine, much like the food of all peoples around the world, is a reflection of Thai culture: a belief in an intricate balance of the senses and tastes, sweet, salty, spicy and sour that all interplay in the Thai palate.
For my lunch, I ordered the pad see ew with beef ($7.25), hot (no, not thai hot this time). The pad see ew is made of wide rice noodles stir fried with a garlic see ew dum (a thick sweet soy sauce) and nam play (a very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce) with brocolli, carrots, eggs and black pepper.
The amber-colored pad see ew is aromatic and delicious. The beef is tantalizing, tender and flavorful. All the titilating tastes of sweet, sour, spicy, salty all came together as one on my plate and satisfied my hunger for Thailand

 

TASTY CHOMPS RATING
4.5 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS!!!!

Thai Basil
5800 Red Bug Lake Rd

Winter Springs, FL 32708-5082
(407) 699-8889

Thai Basil on Urbanspoon

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