Several new Thai places have popped up near my house in east Vancouver over the last year or so. A couple are pretty darned good. The three most recent are:
Arawan (164th and Mill Plain in the Target strip mall near Baja Fresh and Old Spaghetti Factory): Only been there once but was very pleased. Most dishes run about $7. It's nice inside and seems to have a full bar (I don't drink). It's small, but very comfortable with mostly nice booths. I had a mussaman curry with pork which was sweet and aromatic. It had peanuts, potatoes, and carrots. The potatoes were a little flavorless, but the curry was quite tasty. A lot of food, too. My wife had a red curry with tofu and pineapple. Also very sweet but nicely balanced. Hers was less spicy (by choice) and so the sweetness stood out a little more. Nice flavor, though. Lots of vegetables, too, cooked well (I remember bamboo shoots, orange bell pepper, and baby corn). We also shared a soup ($6, I think). I can't remember the name off-hand. It had lemongrass, chile, ginger, chicken, cilantro, and lime. Quite tasty, very balanced. Maybe could have balanced some of the back of the throat chiles with some jalapeno so that the heat didn't get you in the windpipe every once in a while (a real problem with spicy soups). Overall pretty good. Quite attentive staff, too. B+ decor, B+ service, B+ food, A prices.
Bangkok Palace (164th and McGillvary): Inconsistent and a step down in food quality than the other two on this list. It's decent inside as well, but just not as good. I've eaten there several times. The curries are just less flavorful and the pad thai not as well balanced as most places. It's decent, but there are too many other choices around the area. B decor, B service, B- food, A- prices.
Lai Ka Noke (Chkalov between McGillvary and Mill Plain): This might be my favorite of the three so far. It's nice inside, although I don't think there are any booths. Nice purples and golds, though. The staff is very friendly. They have lunch specials, too. The curries are quite tasty, not significantly below places like Typhoon and Lemongrass in quality. A good amount of food with good prices (in the $7 range). I've tried several things there now since I've been there with a few people a few times. I've tried their yellow curry, mussaman curry, pad thai, and panang, that I can think of off-hand. All were good. Balanced and smooth. Yellow curry had a nice sweetness, mussaman a nice peanutiness. Pad thai has a noticeable tamarind flavor. It's all good stuff. B+ decor, B+ service, B+ food, A prices.
Thai Place is a Thai place that's not bad on that side of town, too. It's been there a while (1st and 164th by Arco and Hollywood Video). The people are very nice, but the food is as expensive or moreso than these others and really isn't as good as Arawan or Lai Ka Noke. Too bad, really. They've even taken orders from me after they've already been closed for a half hour (called up one time and they didn't say anything, just took my order, went in and realized they'd been closed for half an hour -- that's service).
But there are lots of options on this side of town. I don't know how many will last, but at least there's no reason to drive 15 minutes or more to Thai Little Home if you live in east Vancouver or Camas. btw, I think both Lai and Arawan are better than Thai Orchid, but no better in just food taste than Thai Little Home. But Thai Little Home is a bit of a dive. Excellent prices with great lunch specials, though ($6 range on dinner, under $5 lunch).
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