After experiencing a perfectly average meal at Wondee Siam six months ago, I had been in no hurry to go back until I read the flood of recent posts. So tonight, after reading up a bit, I made the return trip.
We didnt see Papaya salad on the menu, but I knew going in that not all offerings were listed on the menu. So I asked for it and was told it would be no problem. We ordered two other dishes, both on the menu, and Tom Yum soup. We asked for everything spicy, Thai style, and after the are you really sure? conversation, the order went to the kitchen. First, credit where credit is due. The soup was very good full of deep and complex flavors. They papaya salad was great, very spicy. With my mouth on fire, the other dishes arrived.
Heres where things went downhill. Ped Panang (crispy duck curry) was kind of tasty, but had utterly no heat. Key Mao Gai was bland, bland, bland. Both fell into the category of American Thai.
In my two trips, asking for everything Thai spicy, Ive had one spicy dish and four that may not have even contained half of a Thai chile pepper combined. All four duds came from the English menu.
So I asked the waitress. What other items were not on the menu? Do they have another menu? The answer is yes, there is a Thai menu. Not just some off-the-menu dishes, but a real written menu. Could I have one? No, because its only written in Thai. Whats the difference? The Thai menu items have fish sauce, shrimp paste, chile peppers and have more sour and sweet flavors. Oh, you mean like real Thai food?
On the walk home, my mood was a mixture of disappointment and anger. While 90% of Americans might not like true Thai flavors, there is that group of 10% that would appreciate it. Why run your restaurant to appeal to the lowest common denominator? If youre proud of your cooking, proud of your cuisine, why not share it? I can understand having two menus. But why not make both available, at least upon request? This is frustrating, insulting and just plain sad.
Unless you read or speak Thai, you are forced to either go with someone who can or go at an off time when a server can go over the menu with you. Otherwise, you will not get Wondee Siams best. You will not get Thai food.
So, any Thai-reading chowhounds out there who frequent Wondee, care to post Wondee's authentic menu in English? That would be a worthwhile post.