July 6, 2010

Saeng Thai Review

This latest installation of the Thai-o-rama is teaching me a lesson in impermanence. While sampling all this Thai food in Portland, I've been searching, naturally, for the best Thai food. I've been attached to the idea of systematically eating through all Thai offerings in town to find the Platonic ideal of pad thai or Panang curry. How very Western of me.

But maybe in order to be happy with my Thai take-out, I should recognize the very impermanent nature of our world- that all that is will come to pass. After all, attachment to an idea or thing is what causes our suffering.

You may be wondering where all of this is coming from (aside from the obvious connection of Buddhism to Thailand). Well, my recent meal at Saeng Thai wasn't very good, where I'd been happy with my food from there in the past.

M's pork pad prik khing was the better of the two dishes- but incredibly spicy. This is a spicy dish, so there was no option to order by star, but man, was it hot! The pork was nice and firm, while the green beans added a nice crunch. Texture was about all I got, since the only flavor I could taste was 'hot.'

My chicken "special" pad thai was similiarly spicy (2 stars), with a disappointing selection of vegetables: carrots, onions, and peppers. The sauce didn't have much flavor, savory or sweet, and no peanut taste to speak of. Not all that special.

The people at Saeng Thai are very nice- both times I've eaten in and gotten take out, I've had excellent customer service. But this time my food didn't live up to my previous experience.

So maybe the idea of perfect Thai food is an illusion, the very nature of my experience unreal. While this may be hard for us Westerners to wrap our minds around, at least it will help me mediate my disappointment as I cross another Thai restaurant off my list.

Saeng Thai House on Urbanspoon