If there’s one thing people know about me, it’s that I love Taste of Thai. I’ve introduced myself to people for the first time, only to be met with, “Aren’t you that Taste of Thai girl?” My Facebook is filled with check-ins and photos at Taste of Thai. My Tinder bio is “Lover of all Thai foods.”
Located next to the Ithaca Commons sign, Taste of Thai is easily accessible to students. The ambiance makes it perfect for any occasion, from a birthday dinner (they’ll even bring you a special dessert!) to a casual lunch.
A lot of people have never tried Thai food, and seem hesitant when I suggest that they try it. They ask me if it’s too spicy, and I tell them that one of the many great things about Taste of Thai is its choice of spiciness level on a scale from zero to five. Most restaurants, if they have a spiciness range at all, only offer three choices (mild, medium and hot), which leaves out all of the options in between (no spice whatsoever, spicy enough to taste the heat, very spicy but not enough to kill me, etc.). I love spice, but I tend to get a level three, which is pretty spicy. I once braved a level five, and despite the pitcher of water they brought me, I was in tears by the end of the meal.
The best part of Taste of Thai is the staff. Over my many years of frequent visits, I have gotten to know them very well, and they’ve gotten to know me (and my complex orders). If there’s one food-related thing people know about me, aside from the fact that I love Taste of Thai, it’s that I’m an extremely picky eater, despite loving food. At most restaurants, I’m too timid to alter what’s explicitly listed on the menu, and even when I’m not, some places are too elitist to fulfill the changes anyway. Not so at Taste of Thai. They’re one of the few restaurants that recognize their primary purpose is to please customers, and if that means leaving off some ingredients, then so be it. Thus, they know and respect my picky orders well enough to know that if I ask for yellow fried rice, I’m actually ordering yellow fried rice with chicken, no onions, no carrots, extra shallots and sauce on the side.
Every time I bring friends to Taste of Thai, they ask me what to order. The menu is fairly large and can be intimidating, especially if you’re completely new to Thai food, so I’ve become intimately familiar with the menu to bring you this list of top picks:
Yellow Fried Rice
Pad See Ew
The Satay is my go-to appetizer for when a single entrée isn’t enough. The Tom Kha is a spicy soup and is the only reason I’m looking forward to winter — perfect Tom Kha weather! The Yellow Fried Rice and Yellow Noodle are perfect if you love the taste of curry but not the spice. Made with curry paste, they lack the traditional kick a full-blown curry would provide, although the Yellow Fried Rice does come with a spicy, tangy sauce on the side so that you can add spice at your own whim. The Pad See Ew is what I usually suggest for people going to the restaurant for the first time and who are hesitant about Thai food. It’s slightly more adventurous than the classic Pad Thai, but has very familiar flavors such as soy sauce. It’s also my favorite dish to order for take-out because the leftovers heat up in the microwave very nicely. Finally, the Panang Curry is probably my favorite classic Thai dish, and one I definitely recommend if you want the full experience of the cuisine. It’s my favorite of the curries for its signature creamy texture.
And make sure you start off with a Thai Iced Tea! It’s a staple of the restaurant and has become my favorite drink in the world over the years. The waiters will usually bring me one without my asking. If I forget to order one, they’ll bring it to me anyway. They once recognized my voice over the phone and had my Thai Iced Tea waiting for me when I came to pick up my order. Basically, I would swear by this drink.
Taste of Thai is the perfect restaurant for everyone. It’s kid-friendly, adult-friendly and college student-friendly (go for lunch during the week when everything is insanely cheap, or check out their new late-night bar!). It’s perfect for casual meals, fancy meals and take-out meals; they will accommodate you if you’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or just a picky eater. I’m proud to associate my identity with such an amazing restaurant.