Bangkok Thai Cafe: Spartanburg, SC
at 10:00 AM
Finding good Thai food in the South is proving to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. While I like my Thai food to be somewhat of a discomfort in heat, I also like good quality meats and vegetables. Bangkok Thai Cafe in Spartanburg, SC is a little family owned restaurant hidden off Main Street in a strip mall that is vacant. The atmosphere is what you would expect of a Thai Cafe with some nice decorations inter-mixed with the normal cheesy decor as well.
This was my third visit to this particular restaurant due to the fact that is happens to also be the most convenient Thai restaurant to my office. The food on my previous visits was never anything to rave about, but still acceptable Thai food that fixes the need for spice. All lunch specials are served with soup or salad and an egg roll. The soup is just your average hot and sour soup and reminds me of what you might find right out of the spice isle at any grocery store. More sweet than anything.
Now for the main course. Pad Prig Sod: Mildly Spicy Stir-fried fresh bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and jalapenos with Thai curry paste. I opted for no mushrooms as everything on Bangkok's menu includes them. As always, I asked for it to be prepared just a little more spicy than normal. When asked on a scale of 1-10, I asked for a 9. The two previous visits I went with a 7 and then an 8 and wasn't really impressed with the spice level either time, but this was also the first time ordering Pad Prig which included fresh jalapenos. After a short while, my server came back and indicated that the manager wanted to double check with me on my selection of a 9 spice level and mumbled something further. I informed her that I was happy with my #9 and that I was prepared for whatever your chef could throw at me. She came back a second time and indicated that due to the jalapenos already in this dish, they did not want to make it a 9 spice level. So I amused her and said to give me a 7 or 8 or whatever your manager and chef were comfortable with.
The food arrived and to no surprise, wasn't spicy at all. It was almost more black peppery-spicy as my first bite made me sneeze a few times, but I quickly got over that. The curry paste was not present at all. The chicken was edible along with the vegetables, but the chicken was a little dried out, but nothing out of the ordinary from what I have been able to find in the past 8 months. The meal itself was very enjoyable and one that I would order anytime when in the Thai mood. The service is by far superior to any other ethnic restaurant in Spartanburg by a long shot. Everyone helps out and stops by for a chat and to see how the food is tasting.
As I was finishing up my meal, the Manager stopped by for a visit. She asked if it was spicy enough and I assured her that it could have been a lot more spicy, but overall it was enjoyable. She commented that she is always scared with the fresh jalapenos as "you never know what your going to get". I informed her that I enjoy eating fresh jalapenos on a sunny day right off the vine.
Anyone have any suggestions on who has the best spicy food that you just crave for or is everything advertised spicy really just a mid-western version toned down?