ViengThong: Wow, its actually Thai…

“Wow, it’s actually Thai” was the recurring theme of our dinner last night. We headed out to ViengThong, on MLK Jr Way, just past the Loews. And by we, I include my brother, who spent three weeks at Muay Thai training camp in Thailand, and his friend who lived there for a time. These boys snottily laugh at the Thai food we eat here in Seattle, comparing it to the delicious stuff they got in their time living on the beach there. As I reminded my brother, I think he has told me about the sticky rice like fifty times.

They opened the menu and seemed pleased at the options. The waitress giggled when they thanked her for water in Thai. They ordered a bunch of stuff, not all of which I can remember. The soup was the first to arrive, and it is the best soup I have ever eaten. I am not always prone to hyperbole, but when Aaron, the guy who’d lived in Thailand (and who is slightly more prone to hyperbole than me) echoed this sentiment, I felt a little more comfortable. It was spicy enough to push you to the edge, without ever losing flavor nor feeling like flavor is sacrificed for heat. A hint of coconut milk was present, but it wasn’t overly creamy as so many tom kai gais are.  (or tom yum gai. which ever one has the coconut!).  Next up was som tum, the green papaya salad that is ever present in Thai cuisine. This got another round of favorable comparison to true Thai food, though with the stipulation that it was (thankfully) missing the fish sauce which “no sane american would get anywhere near”.

We shared a pile of main dishes, a decent green curry, a chicken dish that turned out not to be what the boys were hoping for. Then we had two stand out dishes. At the waitresses suggestion we ordered a plate of barbecue chicken. The flavor was perfect, the chicken, cut like they were ribs, was amazing. It melted away in your mouth. The other stand out dish was the steamed whole fish. In a thin brown soy based sauce, the fish fell apart on the fork. It was, I believe a sea bass. And it was, I believe, delicious.

We also ordered the Phad Lao, which was similar to a phad thai only far less sweet (always my biggest problem with pad thai). I enjoyed this, though it was much closer to dishes I had had before. Then of course, was the sticky rice. As I said last night, rice is one of my favorite foods, but I really enjoy food more when I can use my hands. Sticky rice has solved this probelm for me. It is meant to be eaten with the hands. And shovel it in is what I did. You can use it to pick up chunks of fish, sauces whatever. Similar to injera at an Ethiopian restaurant.

Everything we ordered was so far superior to dishes at any other Thai restaurant, it was a quite pleasant surprise. And all through the night the boys just kept echoing “Just like in Thailand!” and reminiscing about sticky rice from street carts and choose your own fish stalls on the beach.

Another great deal too: $100 with tax and tip for the six of us, beers included!

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2 Responses

  1. I had the pleasure of eatting at this place a few months ago. To be honest, the food was good, the beer cold, the waitress interesting with a wall of hair to her feet, but it was the large rat that ran out on the wall bench that got me.Twice. Needless to say my visiting family thinks we always pick the most interesting locations when they come to town. Am not sure if rat is somewhere on the menu and this one was making the great escape?

  2. The owners of Viengthong are Lao, but they offer Lao and Thai dishes. The green papaya salad and sticky rice are actually Lao food items, but because the northeastern part of Thailand (Issan region) are mainly comprised of ethnic Laotians who are now classified as “Thai” citizens, people tend to mistakenly refer to those Lao dishes as Thai, even though they’re actually Lao dishes.

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