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Time to Go Beyond Pad Thai


nondual1
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Visitors to Thailand often bring back fond memories of noodles from street vendors. These vendors are ubiquitous and their noodles the quintessential fast-food. Quite likely the first of its kind in Vancouver, KCC Thai Arroy Noodles Cafe, which has taken over the former Daruma's space on Denman and Robson, is serving just this kind of noodles.

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Open since the first of February, 2009, KCC is still trying to put together its menu, which has fewer than 20 items. While it also festures a few curries and rice dishes, noodles comprise at least half of the choices. As often is the case with the street vendors, the "toppings" are generally the same: minced pork, fish balls, sliced pork, sliced pork sausage, shrimp, and so on. Where one has more choices are with the broth and type of noodles. For the broth, one may choose between tom yum (spicy and sour, the degree of hotness may be specified), white broth and even no broth ("dry"). And there are up to 4 types of noodles to choose from: transparent, egg, thin rice and thick rice.

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All dishes are carefully-prepared and fresh. The tom yum, even at the least degree of hotness, is tangy and carries a bite. It obviously is not from some industrial-use paste but is home-made. Whereas the noodle in white broth has yet to be sampled, the rice in soup with prawns seems to indicate that non-spicy items are no less flavourful and fulfilling. In fact, whereas the tom yum broth should be best in the summer, nothing sends one on the way home better than the white broth.

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But the best is likely the brothless items, of which they are two at the moment. The herbs and condiments that are mixed into the noodle in lieu of a broth give it a subtle yet appetising twist. Of the two, the rice noodle option appears to be superior to the egg noodle one, as rice noodle carries the sauce a little better.

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Perhaps being too mindful of the "Western taste", the cook prepares the dishes slightly to the bland side, but apparently is more than willing to dial the spiciness level way up ("Thai taste") by request. So feel free to go for it. All dishes are under $10, with most at around $7. Located at 775 Denman Street, it is open everyday for lunch and dinner (till 10:00PM).

A Vancouver Ramen Yokocho might be materialising at last, with an international twist to it even! :laugh:

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I find most Thai in Vancouver incredibly sweet. I wonder if that is an issue with Vancouver thai places, or is emblematic of the cuisine in general.

Sweetness is emblematic of "Westernised" Thai food. Authentic Thai is more salty, tangy, spicy (as in more use of spices and fresh herbs), and -- where appropriate -- much much more firey hot.

Some Thai dishes simply cannot be done in Vancouver due to a lack of ingredients; Other times they have been adapted to suit the market's taste. Although, truth be told, KCC Noodles is not entirely immune from that either, at least it offers something other than the tired, old -- and often overly-sweet -- Pad Thai, stir-fried beef and what not. With more patrons demanding so, one hopes it will make its noodles even closer to what one gets on Bangkok streets... :cool:

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