By Grace Cheung,
Special to The Post
Now that my office is in Chinatown, weekday lunches have become a bit boring; a constant stream of Dim Sum, BBQ duck and Banh Mi. The lack of Thai and Japanese food in the area is surprising. I had been craving Thai, and the North Vancouver location of Thai House is the closest one to me, so I decided to give it a try last month.
I was pleasantly surprised by the updated decor as well as how busy it was for Sunday brunch. For some reason, I didn't expect them to have a bar, although their sister restaurants Pink Elephant Thai and Urban Thai boast great weekend traffic due to their fun and friendly bar service. It was a bit early for drinks, so we went right for the food.
I first tried the Goong Noon Hae at Pink Elephant as part of their appetizer platter. It's a Tiger Prawn wrapped with noodles and then deep-fried, resulting in a bit of a mess when eating, but it’s worth it. The crunch is unreal.One of my favourite Thai dishes is theSpicy Som Tum Malagor. It's only available seasonally so be sure to try it if it's available. The raw papaya is julienned and mixed with a spicy concoction of lime juice, fish sauce and lots of Thai spices and chilies. For a salad, this has a lot of heat, but they can prepare it mild as well, as with most of the dishes on their menu.
Another fun appetizer that’s also great for groups is theLettuce Wrap. It has a bit of heat, but not as much as the salad above. We ordered the minced beef version, but chicken and duck are also available. The beef is stir fried with lots of vegetables and fresh basil, as well as deep-fried vermicelli. The lettuce does a great job of holding everything together and gives it an extra crunch.
Next we tried the one Thai dish that everyone knows, thePad Thai. The flavours are quite mild and should appeal to those who don't crave a lot of heat. Crushed peanuts are a traditional garnish, so if you are allergic, be sure to tell your server. They are great at asking about allergies, something I am glad to be seeing more of in ethnic restaurants.
We also ordered a few of stir fries. The first one is the Pad Bai Grapua, which is a saute with Thai chilies, pepper and basil, and for our protein, we chose chicken. It can also be made vegetarian with tofu instead.In addition to the Pad Thai, my other favourite carb-heavy Thai dish is the Pad See-Iw, made with broccoli and egg. The rice noodles here are a bit thicker than Pad Thai noodles, and are stir-fried with pork. The veggies had a nice crunch to them, but the best part was the slightly chewy rice noodles. Often, I've had stir fried rice noodles that were clumpy and overcooked, but fortunately, these still had a nice bite to them. A winner in my book.
116 Esplanade West, North Vancouver
• It can get busy for brunch on the weekends in North Van, so call for reservations.
• Their Kitsilano location has AYCE brunch on weekends.
• Free delivery after 5:30.