Restaurant Review: Thai Thai (Bethlehem, PA)

We are now into restaurant review five of eight, and we have our winner for the trip. While, for the most part, we had great food in our four-day excursion, Justin and I both agreed this was the best. We were walking around town looking for a place to grab lunch. The historic Sun Inn was closed. We didn’t feel like Tapas, Italian, or Mexican, and certainly not a deli. What else was left? I actually walked right past it the first day without noticing. Justin said, “How about Thai food?” Maybe I was feeling hangry because I responded, “Where the hell are we getting that?” All he did was point across the street. Done. Sold. Let’s do it. I’m glad he was more observant than me.

As this was a Tuesday afternoon around 1 PM, there was only one table taken. They left shortly after. The building Thai Thai occupies was narrow but incredibly long. There was a large dining area in the front, a hallway, and then more tables in the back. We grabbed a booth. The lunch specials were adequately priced. They had a selection of 20 dishes which you could get with chicken, beef, or pork for $9.99 or $2 more to add shrimp. It was a tough call—all Thai food is good to me. We first decided on an appetizer, which was the chicken satay. Finally, I figured I would get the Pad Prik Khing chicken to see how it would compare to my beloved Kunya’s. Justin had the green curry chicken. We both had Thai iced teas.

The satay hit the table looking and smelling amazing—like being at a barbecue. It was rubbed in a curry seasoning and presented with creamy peanut sauce and a white vinegar. The grill marks were visible. This was great street food. We made quick work of these tender pieces of chicken, which were cooked perfectly. Justin preferred dipping in the vinegar, while I preferred the peanut sauce. In just this mere appetizer, we had all the flavors and textures one could want in Thai food: spicy, savory, creamy, nutty, sweet, sour, and acidic. Before the chicken, we were also given salads which were included with lunch. These were delightful and refreshing arrays of bean sprouts, lettuce, onions, and carrots in a light ginger dressing. Even the oyster-shaped bowl was cute.

My only complaint about this entire experience comes up right here. It has nothing to do with food. Is it just us or do you hate when you’re the only table in a massive dining area and a new party comes in and gets seated right next to you? That’s what happened. Probably 20 tables available, and they were sat so close to us that Justin observed, “A fart could have knocked over my iced tea”. I’m not going to even get into how rude and ignorant they were to the server, with the man (older, in his 70’s, and stereotypically uncultured) remarking on the way in, “You know, I don’t really care for Thai food.” Then his wife, also an old bag, asking the waiter for an explanation on at least five of the dishes even though descriptions were clearly written in English. The third member, another woman, spoke loudly of her health and boring, miserable life. Perhaps she was already dead and just forgot to lie down. But I digress. At least they had wine.

Our entrees arrived and I could not wait to dig in. A+ for plating and presentation. For lunch portions, they were quite large. Combined with the salad and rice, it was a lot of food for $9.99. When I ordered, I was asked how spicy I wanted it. She gave me a range from 1-5. I went with a four and was not blown away, though I did start to sweat halfway through. Justin’s curry sauce was creamy and delicious. Similar to Kunya’s, just not as heavy-handed on the fish sauce. The chicken and eggplant were tender, and the rice sticky enough that it was consumed with chopsticks with ease. My meal was also a homerun. It was hard to compare it to Kunya’s like I wanted to do, because they were two entirely different approaches. Hers is more on the dry side, while Thai Thai’s was more wet due to the chili sauce they used. The green beans and red peppers added a nice crunch.

We both felt that Thai Thai deserved a 4.5 out of 5 stars. On our next visit to Bethlehem, we will make it a point to come back here. The service happened to be very friendly and quick to refill waters without asking (which came in handy with the heat). I was impressed by their efficiency. Prices were unbeatable for quality of this magnitude. This was as good of a lunch as you could ever want.

Thai Thai II is located at 509 Main Street in Bethlehem, PA.

Click here for more in this series as the days go by.

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