I met up with Judy, Mark, Stella and Rachel (JHFG'ers all) for lunch at Sripraphai before our epic cake-off at Red Ribbon (which you can read about here). I'm not sure who was smart enough to suggest that we grab a quick bite before the cake at Sri, since it is right across the street from the bakery, but it was a great idea. As we perused the very thick menu, we quickly decided on two appetizers and four entrees for the five of us, trying to save room for the six different kinds of cake that we would eventually be eating, but probably still ordering too much. How could you not, though, with so many options? I am a boring Sripraphai-goer, because I always order the same thing (like the Thai buffalo wing! Sour and salty and spicy so good) so it was nice to go with other people and branch out a little. Here's what we got:
Chicken curry puff served w. cucumber salad $5.50
Curry puffs are one of the appetizer items that I always order, because they are always delicious. The crust is usually very flaky, and the potato/chicken filling, flavored perfectly with curry powder and lots of turmeric is always piping hot. A lightly pickled cucumber and onion salad is perfect to add to the puff, it adds crunch and brightness. The puffs were good, the filling was chunky and nicely-flavored, but the crust was not flaky and soft, it was crisp and hard. Good, but not the same. If I had never tasted them before, I would have liked these well enough.
On to the main courses.
C-16 Sauté crispy pork with chili, garlic & basil leaves $9.50
Crispy crispy crispy pork. Some bits were so crisp, they couldn't be stabbed with a fork. The fatty pieces were great, soft with a crisp edge. Some bits were tough, some bits were perfect, I had to move the plate away from me because I couldn't stop eating it. Not spicy enough, but the garlic/basil/chili combo is a great one.
N-5 Drunken noodles: sauté rice noodles w. choice of meat, chili & basil leaves $8.50
Our choice of meat was pork. I like wide, flat noodles. Anything with chili and basil is good, as noted above, but again, for something with chili, and we really did specify spicy, not all that hot. Tasty, yes, flavorful too. A simple and good noodle dish.
I'm not sure what number this one was on the menu, maybe one of you can help, but this was fried fish topped with green papaya salad. I tasted the fish (and those of you who know me know that while I don't eat fish or seafood, I always taste it just to see if anything has changed and I might wake up one day and love it). The fish was mild and flaky, the outside crisp, the salad fresh, light, and crunchy. I didn't hate it.
Panang Curry with duck $9.00
Yum. Complex and rich, panang curry is normally made with coconut cream, so it is even thicker and richer than a green, red, or yellow curry made with coconut milk. The only problem with this dish was that because of the meat we chose, delicious duck, every spoonful that I put on my plate was made up of mostly duck skin and no meat. While crispy duck skin is one of my favorite things, soft duck skin in sauce, not so much. The meat was in there somewhere, I just had bad luck finding it.
A fun lunch, not really meant to be an exploration of the menu, just some people getting together and sharing good food before going cake crazy. Everyone who goes to Sripraphai has an opinion, and I wasn't planning on making it part of my route, since so much has been said that I'm not sure what I can really add to the discussion. All I will say is that I have always had good meals at this restaurant. Spice levels have been inconsistent, service as well, but the quality and flavor of the food is there.
SriPraPhai Thai Restaurant
64-13 39th Avenue