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March 8th, 2011 AARON MESH | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Cheap Eats 2011: Soi 9 Thai Eatery

     
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The dining room of Soi 9 Thai Eatery is designed to blend into the design of West Burnside condo tower the Civic: bare, modernist boredom. Walking inside, however, is like tuning in to a Bangkok radio station—meals are soundtracked with Thai pop music, which sounds like a countrified J-pop with a splash of Disney ballads. The cooking likewise strikes a happy balance between the familiar and the fantastical. The name Soi 9 is a play on the Thai word for “street,” and the menu is chef Mon Gypmantasiri’s formalizing of Southeast Asian cart food. Her specialties are dishes you’ve almost had before; trying them is like sleeping with an old lover’s hotter twin. Take the guaey teaw esan ($9.50), or Eastern Province Noodle, which uses the same thin, flat rice noodles as pad Thai, but stir-fries them in black soy sauce and salted bean sauce. The panang nua curry ($12.50) is a massive plate of tenderloin that’s been simmered for an hour in its spicy bath, with large string beans and a drizzle of coconut cream. It’s decadently sweet and powerfully spicy, like candy that makes you cry. And the guaey teaw ruar ($9.50)—or Boat Noodle Soup—floats meatballs, sliced beef and watercress in a broth strongly seasoned with cinnamon. I immediately thought of it as Christmas pho.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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