Tuesday, August 16, 2011

thai feast at bangkok garden

i love trying food from different cultures but often times whenever i crave for something, it's more often for asian food. and thai food is usually pretty high up on the list because that's the first thing that comes to mind (other than malaysian) when i try to get my fill for spicy dishes. i promised ryan we'd explore more sacramento restaurants whenever i visit so i found bangkok garden which is about 30 minutes drive from folsom. it has received favorable reviews on yelp and it made me all the more excited to try the place. 


we went there on a thursday evening for dinner hoping that there wasn't a huge crowd but the restaurant was filled. the wait was about a 15 minute and they told us we could either wait outside or in starbucks just next door and they would call for us when our table was ready. starbucks was our pick since the weather was really hot that evening.


the decor of the restaurant was a lot thai influenced which was fitting and the walls were clad in wooden panels. 


there were so many things i wanted to try out on their menu. but most importantly, when they asked us what degree of spicy we wanted, we were torn between extra spicy and thai spicy. a lot of times i've been disappointed by "extra" spicy at countless restaurants which really doesn't feel like they've added anything extra but we were a lil apprehensive that the thai spicy at bangkok garden might be overwhelming (i only know of one thai place that if i asked for extra spicy to the highest degree.. it burned my stomach.. but it hurts soo good.. lol). they said that their thai spicy is pretty authentically thai standards so we went with extra spicy just to be safe.


soup :: shrimp tom yum soup | spicy & sour soup with lemon grass, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, galangal, kaffir lime leaves ($3.50)



i love soup and i somewhat take tom yum soups very seriously at thai restaurants. sometimes i even judge how much i like a thai restaurant based on their success with tom yum soup. well, i have to say bangkok garden did a fantastic job with it. there was a good balance of sweetness and sourness with a hint of lemongrass flavor in the soup. to top it off, the shrimp was fresh and cooked beautifully. what i don't get is the undercooked white mushroom in the soup that kinda brings the soup down a notch but still a favorite and i would get it again the next time.

house specialties :: angel wings | deep fried chicken wings, stuffed with ground pork, chicken, noodles and mushrooms, served with home made sweet and sour sauce ($7.95)


first thing's first.. chicken stuffed with noodles?! that's an interesting concept. they fried the chicken wings to crispy perfection without being greasy and was piping hot when it was served at the table. there is a play of textural difference from the cripsy crust, to the juicy tender meat it encased and the other stuffing it had. a lil more salt would have gone a long way but was made up by the sauce that it was served with.

house specialties :: spicy catfish | sauteed deep fried fillet catfish with bell pepper and basil in spicy chilli sauce ($8.50)


this was the test of the level of spiciness their food ranked... which was almost non existent. i could barely get a spicy kick with the extra spicy request which was disappointing. however, the flavors of this dish reminded me of a local malaysian dish called sambal. it was savory with a sweet undertone flavor that goes awesome with rice and perfect to also dip the chicken wings in. some of the fresh fillets had that nice crispy crunch while a few others didn't. however, i loved the familiar flavors and thought it was a great tasty dish and would totally get it again.

house specialties :: duck curry | sliced roasted duck in coconut milk, red curry, bamboo shoot, pineapple, tomato and basil ($8.95)


so we have this favorite duck curry that we used to order all the time at our favorite thai restaurant in chicago. and the duck curry here was reminiscent of that delicious dish which was a creamy thick curry with satisfying flavors of slight luscious sweetness melded with the gaminess of the duck. a bit iffy with the pineapple though. satisfying and the gravy is really good with rice and it was hard to stop munching away even though we were stuffed.

dessert :: f.b.i | fried banana ice cream ($3.75)



similar to the chicken wings, the bananas were fried to awesome crispiness. i suppose it is good that the banana was not very sweet which was compensated by the taro ice cream (you get to choose your flavor of ice cream) which tasted coconut-y and creamy.  the banana was soft and hot contrasted with its crispy exterior and the cold ice cream. however, the coloring of the ice cream was a tad too much to the point my tongue had a light purple tinge at the end of the meal.

we enjoyed our first meal so much, we went for a second visit for lunch just before i flew back to chicago. i think we were the first customers to get there. after our last visit and realizing that extra spicy wasn't enough, we opted for thai spicy instead.

appetizer :: prawn egg rolls | deep fried marinated prawn in egg wrapper, served with plum sauce ($7.50)


as its name suggested, it was literally a shrimp wrapped in egg wrapper and deep fried and it was piping hot that we had to give several minutes before biting into one. the shrimp was fresh and cooked well but i didn't really notice any flavors from the marinade.. mostly shrimp flavor. crispy, not greasy and hot and loved the plum sauce that came with it.

fried rice and noodle :: crab fried rice | pan fried rice with crab meat, eggs, onion and tomatoes ($8.95)



generous portion of serving with visible pieces of real crab meat which i loved. this was a basic fried rice which seasoned well but mild in flavor to the point that the flavors became one note after a while. the slices of tomatoes were served as a garnish instead of incorporated into the fried rice itself. i was searching for like a vegetable crunch or something. a huge downer was that it was too oily for my liking.

seafood :: smoked eggplant | steamed peeled eggplant, topped with sauteed chopped chicken, calamari, prawns and chili paste ($9.95)



i love eggplant and the use of chinese eggplant made it even better. there was a generous amount of meat and seafood which went well with the savory chili paste but compared to the fish dish we ordered the last time, this paled slightly in comparison. it was a good dish overall but wasn't great. the flavors of the chili paste wasn't really spicy except for the bites with slices of bird's eye chillies which isn't my type of spicy that i like. i prefer a spiciness infused into the sauce instead.

beverages :: thai iced tea ($2)

just like any other thai places, i've come to accept that thai iced teas are too sweet and i find myself diluting it with iced water. however, the flavors are there. the addition of milk and condensed milk makes the tea smooth, sweet and creamy.

bangkok garden displayed an array of wonderful, delicious thai dishes that keeps us wanting to go back for more. i have to admit, our food choices from our first visit were a lot better than the second. in terms of service, the staff were very friendly and nice. one complaint was that as the night progressed and the restaurant became busier, the service was also affected. towards the end, there was a considerable wait time before our dessert was served and it was hard to get the attention of the servers.

although i've only tried three thai restaurants so far in sacramento area, this is definitely the best one to date in the sacramento area. i'm heading to california sometime in september and this would probably my first stop for dinner when i get there :)

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

Bangkok Garden on Urbanspoon

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