Soi Thai, Saket, New Delhi
Thai food in the city usually follows set patterns – low spice, thick or watery coconut milk and menus usually begin with ‘Thai Yellow Curry’ and end with ‘Thai Red Curry’ with the possible inclusion of a few random dishes, notably, Som Tam. Considering the dynamic denizens of Dilli consider spicy food their birthright, I wonder why most Thai food in the city is so watered down? Seems rather odd For a people whose chests swell with pride along with a noticeable moistening of the eyes when describing the spicy Cholley Bhature of last Sunday. The point however, is not to unravel the mysteries of saadi dilli, but to introduce you to what I’m going to oh-so-melodramatically call one of the saviors of Thai food in Delhi – Soi Thai.
Started by entrepreneur Shinjini Kapoor and her husband after returning from a five year stint in Thailand, Shinjini describes herself as a passionate foodie and competent cook, while confessing she would rather not cook. Whatever. Her love for the flavors they experienced in Thailand is quite apparent when one tastes the food cooked by staff (re) trained in house… good news for the rest of us who have to contend with syrupy sweet Thai curries and watered down Tom Yum among other points of sacrilege. I requested Shinjini to ask the staff to prepare and pack the food, then keep it in the delivery box of their delivery motorcycle for about 20 minutes (average delivery time). We then proceeded to unpack and eat – and what a meal that was.
We started with Tod Man (Fish Cakes, 280) that came with a sweet chili dip that interestingly, I found much better suited (per my palate) for the Som Tam. Owing to the time spent in the box, they were a little soggy, but that’s to be expected and quite tasty, especially with that delicious sauce. When you order, perhaps the option of half frying in Soi Thai and re-frying at home could be considered.
A fiery, piquant and very delicious Tom Yum Kai (Lemongrass soup with Chicken, 190) was next that could easily serve two. Jaspreet my guest for this meal was quite amused at my huffing, puffing and constant forehead dabbing while eating the soup. Both of us pronounced the soup as one of the best renditions of a Tom Yum Kai ever. Two salads were next; predictably a Som Tam (Raw Papaya Salad, 160) accompanied by a chili-sweet-sour dressing and Larb Tofu (Warm , Spicy Tofu Salad with Thai Herbs, 240). If you’re ordering the fish cakes too, I suggest trying that sauce with the Som Tam. You may just like it. I didn’t care for the Larb Tofu much, an opinion shared by everyone on the table, including Shinjini who agreed a little more work on this dish was required. Considering her drive to achieve perfection, this dish may well be fixed by the time you read this article.
Time for the main courses; we tried all three versions of their Bai Krapao (Chicken/Fish/Prawn stir fried with Basil, 310/380/480), all of which were quite good. Fish with Basil is one of my favorite dishes and the Soi Thai kitchen did it perfectly – tender and firm pieces of fish in a zesty sauce redolent with strong overtones of basil. Accompanying the fish was an excellent Phad Thai with Egg and Tofu (Flat Thai noodles, 260) and Khaeng Khaew Kai (Green Curry with Chicken, 350). Phad Thai, one of Thailand’s national dishes and also listed at #5 of the World’s 50 most delicious foods readers’ poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011, Soi Thai’s version of this dish was rich with textures and flavors; soft noodles, crunchy peanuts, crisp vegetables with hints of lime and coriander giving it a wonderfully comforting aspect.
Most establishments that serve Thai curries use a bottled, ready-made paste (Namjai) that includes shrimp paste. This paste is usually used for vegetarians too. Soi Thai make their own vegetarian curry pastes and if you’re vegetarian, rest assured this curry doesn’t have any non-vegetarian ingredients.
So that’s that. There’s a new Thai delivery kitchen in town and you simply must swing by Soi Thai to try some of their delicious wares.