Pandemic Takeout 45: Bangkok Thai Deli (St. Paul, MN)


It has somehow been three whole months since our last Thai meal. That was from On’s Kitchen on University Ave. in St. Paul (the Twin Cities’ true Eat Street, as I never get tired of repeating) and was a very good meal. Here now is a report on a large meal brought home from their peers, Bangkok Thai Deli, a little further up (or down, depending on your perspective) University Ave: Bangkok Thai Deli. We’ve got food from them earlier in the pandemic as well—back in the summer when it was possible to eat outside with friends. Now it’s best not to be outside in Minnesota. The last week and a half has been unfeasibly cold (the minimum today/Sunday is forecast for -24f and the maximum only at -7f). Thankfully, at a maximum of around 0f things weren’t quite that bad on Saturday when I drove up to pick up this meal. Here are the details.

The last time I was at Bangkok Thai Deli picking up takeout limited in-person dining had been permitted in Minnesota. Later in the year it was knocked back again before being re-started some weeks ago. Now the Gov. Walz is about to loosen restrictions even more (a bit prematurely, in my opinion—let’s get the vaccination program nailed down first). When I arrived at the restaurant just after 11.15 they had a few tables seated. They were at quite some distance from each other but I can’t say I enjoyed the view of unmasked people inside an enclosed space. I don’t know what their plan is for max in-person seating but I’d continue to recommend takeout as the best first option: just order and tip as you would if eating in; and as the sign at the cashier’s desk asks, please call the restaurant directly to order so they don’t have to pay exorbitant fees to Doordash, GrubHub and the other sharks. “Ethnic” restaurants already suffer from the expectation that their food should be far cheaper than it deserves to be and their margins are already low. If I can drive an hour each way to pick up takeout those of you who live much closer can get in your cars too.

Okay, what did we get? We were eating again with the family we have been in a pod with all winter and were four adults and four children. I placed my usual excessive order:

  • Chicken satay x 2. For the kids and very much enjoyed
  • Thai fried rice. I don’t know why we don’t get fried rice more often from Thai restauants; this was very good anyway.
  • Tom Yum with seafood. It always feels wrong to be eating a bright, acidic and hot soup in the dead of a Minnesota winter but this was very tasty.
  • Boat noodles. We’d actually ordered the khao soi, which is very good here, but they called back to say they didn’t have it today and I switched to the boat noodles. Also very good.
  • Roast duck with rice. Also for the kids. We usually get the pork leg over rice for the kids from this part of the menu but they said they liked this even more.
  • Thai mango salad. This tart-sweet salad brought the acid and the heat. A highlight for me.
  • Grilled pork salad. Another highlight.
  • Larb E-san. Also excellent—we got the cooked rather than the raw version.
  • Thick curry with pork. This is a red curry made with thick coconut milk. It’s not very soupy and it’s just great.
  • Stir-fried bamboo shoot with pork. But I think we might all have liked this dish even more. Maybe my favourite of the meal.
  • Stir-fried spicy catfish. This, from the “seafood specials” end of the menu, is another of our favourite dishes there. It’s obviously much better coming straight out of the kitchen with the catfish much crispier but it was still very tasty.

A lot of the entrees came with steamed rice and we got a few orders of sticky rice as well.

To take a look at the menu and the food launch the slideshow below. Scroll down for more thoughts on the food and to see what’s coming next.

As you may have sensed from the above, we liked this meal very much. There wasn’t a single dish that wasn’t very good and a few were truly excellent. Indeed, this may have been one of our better Bangkok Thai Deli meals even including recent pre-pandemic times. Am I just delirious from a year of not eating out? Probably. Anyway, we are not going to be going another three months before eating Thai again. But I think we might next hit up either Thai Cafe again or do our first pandemic takeout from Thai Garden. Neither of those will be next week though. My birthday is coming up in another 10 days and if we decided to mark it the weekend prior rather than after then it will be a meal from our favourite restaurant: Grand Szechuan.

I hope you’re all eating well too and staying safe.


 

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