I met a friend for lunch, and we went to the LongTail Kitchen in the River Market. It’s been years since I last visited the New Westminster River Market (most recently in the late 1990s or early 2000s). It’s changed alot since then, and undergone a bit of an redesign in the process.
The Longtail Kitchen is under the same ownership and guidance as Maenam. Angus An’s popular and well praised Thai restaurant in Kitsilano’s West 4th Avenue. Longtail is much more casual. It’s a cafeteria type set up in the food court area of the River Market, but it’s in it’s own closed off space, that includes retail shelving filled with products from south east asia.
Like it the sister restaurant, the emphasis is Thai cuisine, with a few creative dishes thrown in. It features many of the expected pad thai noodles, thai curry dishes, grilled chicken satay, etc
We placed our order at the counter, paid for the order and received a number.
The counter staff called out the number once the order came out of the kitchen.
So this is the closest thing to a “national dish” in Thailand. It’s stir fried rice noodles, with fresh bean sprouts. chives, prawns, slivered onions and scrambled eggs, The noodles are dressed with a tangy sweet spicy sauce made from tamarind juice, palm sugar, soy, and fish sauce. It has a little heat as well from south-east asian chili peppers, some crunch from roasted crushed peanuts, and a wedge of fresh lime for a little more acidity. It’s a dish with a lot of complex flavors and textures going on.
The noodles were tender and the sauce was well balanced between saltiness from the fish sauce and soy, sweetness from the palm sugar, sour from the tamarind juice, and spicy from the chili peppers. The fresh bean sprouts offered a little crispness, and the peanuts provided a little crunch.
This was a really nicely done pad thai. Nice combination of textures and balance of flavors.
And we also ordered the gailan with pork belly on rice
This is blanched gailan, stir fried with large pieces of pork belly in a soy based sauce, dressed with crispy shallots. This dish has a stronger chinese influence, but it’s pretty good. The vegetables were fresh and slightly aldente. The pork provided some much needed umami (salty savoriness), And the dish was well seasoned with a good balance of salty and sweet.
This is very good thai cuisine at a very reasonable price.
Since it is a (more-or-less) food court/cafeteria set up, The service is extremely minimal, so I won’t really comment on it.
The room is quite utilitarian and spartan, as would be expected of a cafeteria setup. It seats about 25, and was not too crowded today, but could be given the communal table set up. One criticism is that the cement flooring could use a good steam cleaning, it was kinda sticky.
Green Curry Noodles with Beef
This is a mild green curry dish with thin vermicelli style rice noodles, bak choy, bean sprouts and baby corn. This is a pretty good dish. The curry is mildly spicy and creamy from the coconut milk, but didn’t have much heat. The beef was fairly tender, and the vegetables were al dente, and the dish was well seasoned. The noodles were good, but I’m generally not a fan of angel-hair thin noodles (neither when rice noodles, nor pasta), I like noodles a little thicker
Crispy Chicken Wings with Tamarind Sauce
These are deep fried chicken wings, seasoned with salt, pepper, a little sugar, and some crispy fried shallots, crushed peanuts and finely minced scallions. It’s served with a small cup of tamarind sauce. Actually the sauce is a mix lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and tamarind. But the chicken wings taste great without it. The wings are properly cooked, and beautifully spiced and seasoned. It’s probably one of the best chicken wings I’ve had anywhere.