Tom Yum Thai Cuisine

In my opinion, there are three or four kinds of Asian food places. Actually, this probably works for all sorts of food, but it rang especially true in my mind for Asian food places while I was pondering the issue.

Anyway, the four types are:
  1. Destination - This is a place you plan on going, seek out, recommend highly, take friends to, etc.
  2. Old Stand-by - This is a place you know will be good but you only go there in a pinch.
  3. Guilty Pleasure - This place looks horrible, and the food is horrible, but you love it. But no one must ever know.
  4. Buyer Beware - You wouldn't touch this place with a ten-foot pole, and when you see people coming out of it you wonder how long 'til they're at the ER getting their stomach pumped.

Tonight, after picking my daughter up from daycare and realizing I was on my own for dinner, I opted to swing by a place that firmly belongs in Category #2, Tom Yum Thai Cuisine. Located at 44th and Woodstock, this place is set back in a mini-mini-mall sort of arrangement.

I've been there about 5 times, since I live nearby, and usually I order some sort of Pad-something and some salad rolls. Tonight, I phoned in on my way and ordered the Chicken Pad Thai, medium-spicy. "Okay, ten minutes, goodbye."

Eight minutes later, I was there, waiting in line (the place is always busy, a sure sign of goodness) and my food was already waiting.

Now, as I type, I'm eating it. Delicious. I often get mild, but I decided I wanted some kick tonight, and I got it. The chicken is lean and plentiful, and the chunks aren't hard to find. Plenty of peanut, nice load of noodles, and a good mix of vegetables on the side that can be mixed in.

I don't claim to be a Thai food expert by any means, but let me say this: if you're in SE Portland and jonesing for some quick Thai, you could do far worse than Tom Yum.


m a k i l a said...

My #1 destination Thai place is Typhoon. #2 is Sweet Basil. If we don't feel like waiting for a table, then we go to E-san (the new North Portland location).

For lunch, Thai Go in Pioneer Place is actually pretty good. I would recommend the Green Curry or the Massaman Curry and the Thai Iced tea. They have a frequent eaters card.

At my old job, I would go to the D&N Thai cart that's across the street from St. Mary's. You have to wait a long time if you don't call your order in but everything is around $5 and they give you a ton plus a free bottle of water. Not to mention, it's really really good.

Anonymous said...

We also live close-by, and while perhaps not the very best Thai food in town, the food is always very good. With the low prices, large portions, and close proximity we rarely ever go anywhere else for Thai food. Not a destination spot, but if you are in the neighborhood and need casual dining, or better yet something to-go, be sure and check it out.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be as positive. We've loved the convenience of a neighborhood location, despite a major lack in atmosphere and somewhat slow service. So, we've done take-out a lot and eaten in less. After last night's experience, however, we'll never patronize this restaurant again.

We phoned ahead (without a menu in-hand) to order "fresh spring rolls" (the way we've ordered at dozens of Thai restaurants in numerous cities around the country). We didn't notice until we came home that the rolls we received were fried. When we called back to say there'd been a mistake and we'd like to bring these back for the kind we wanted, the woman on the phone knew immediately what the problem was, explaining that Tom Yum's "fresh rolls" are called "Salad Rolls" (a fact she hadn't bothered to mention when we ordered). Then she argued with us that it was our fault, saying, "You ordered wrong!"

Our feeling is that if it's worth losing a customer over a $4.50 order of spring rolls, we'd rather take our business to someone who cares about making their customers happy.