Pandemic Takeout 4: Joy’s Thai (Lakeville, MN)


An unexpected aspect of the pandemic is that it has led me to realize that I miss some flavours so much that I am willing to eat replacement-level food in order to be able to taste them. The flavours of Thai food are the major ones in this category. We’re covered at home for most Indian and Korean food; Grand Szechuan and El Triunfo scratch our Sichuan and Mexican itches very satisfactorily. However, there is no Thai food in our town, we don’t have a pantry or fridge stocked with Thai ingredients, and our favourite Thai restaurants in St. Paul are a two-hour roundtrip, which—at least for now—seems like a bit much for takeout (check in with me again after a few more weeks of isolation though). As a result, I went to Lakeville last weekend to pick up a large order from Joy’s Thai. We’ve eaten in there before and it’s not normally a place that we’d choose over a longer drive to the University Ave. stalwarts. But these are not normal times and any acceptable Thai food is more than acceptable.

While their website is still up as normal, you cannot order from their website right now. You have to call in your order and go in to pay. Again, I was there at lunch time and there were no other customers outside or inside the restaurant but I do wish all restaurants would take orders and payment over the phone and bring the food out.

As with our Grand Szechuan orders, we got a lot of stuff with a view towards eating it a bit at a time over a few days. My memory—borne out by my previous review—was that little had been appreciably hot at our lunch at the restaurant and so when placing the order I emphasized that I wanted everything that should be hot to be Thai hot. This resulted unexpectedly in one of the hottest set of dishes we’ve yet encountered in Minnesota. Alas, this was accomplished only by throwing a lot of crushed red chilli into everything and this resulted in more than a bit of sameness across some of the dishes. Still there were a couple of things we really liked: their yum woon sen (which we’d not got on the previous occasion) and their beef larb (which I think was better with the added heat). The curries sort of regressed to a dry chilli flaked mean.

To see what else we got, launch the slideshow below.

We’ve been getting food from El Triunfo every week—we’re due for another pickup tomorrow. We’ll probably do another pickup in town over the weekend—the boys are jonesing for burgers and fried chicken. Probably back to Grand Szechuan next weekend. And then depending on how things are looking I might finally venture further to St. Paul or Minneapolis to some of our other favourite restaurants (I feel guilty about “abandoning” some of them in this difficult time).

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