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Thursday, January 28,2010

Thai a noodle on

By Clay Fong

Suki Thai Noodle House carries on the proud Asian tradition of serving noodle soup as a satisfying and economical one-dish meal.

Prices here are quite reasonable, as lunch or dinner should be well below 10 dollars a person. At-the-counter ordering and service help keep things inexpensive, as does the simple but colorful décor, reminiscent of a high-end nursery school. A flat screen projects inviting Southeast Asian scenes, a sharp cultural contrast to Suki Thai’s strip mall setting, located a stone’s throw from Williams Village.

While the menu features such items as green papaya salad and spring rolls, colleague Margot and I zeroed in on the namesake noodle offerings. The flagship item is the noodle bowl, and ordering one of these is not an exercise for the indecisive. The base price for each bowl is $6.45, with a dollar upcharge for adding shrimp, calamari or a combination of the two.

Proteins available at no additional cost include steak, chicken, tofu and pork, either in the form of meatballs or in honey-glazed red roasted form. Aficionados will recognize the red pork to be Chinese char siu, the famed barbecue meat popular as a steamed bun filling. Suki Thai’s take on this meat is pleasantly authentic.

Each noodle bowl is individually cooked to order in either a traditional herb-infused broth, or spiced up tom yum version with chile peppers, lemongrass and red chile paste. For a dollar more, one can further boost the flavor profile of the tom yum with coconut milk and red curry. Fresh vegetables cooked in the broth, including sweet corn and grape tomatoes, and rice noodles round out the bowl.

A $6.95 pad thai with fried tofu was Margot’s entrée. This classic noodle dish held its own, with rice noodles that were properly soft without being mushy, and a crisp bean sprout garnish. The tofu was slightly crisp on the outside and hot and custardy on the inside. Oyster sauce and tamarind complemented the creamy qualities of peanut and egg, and a squeeze of lime pulled all the flavors together. In inferior versions of this dish, overcooking makes tastes and textures indistinguishable from each other; that certainly wasn’t the case with this interpretation.

Living like a king, or at least minor aristocracy, I enjoyed a princely $8.45 noodle bowl with the tom kah coconut and curry broth and a mix of calamari and shrimp. As with the offerings at a Vietnamese pho restaurant, one can add such condiments as cilantro, Thai chiles, scallions and lime wedge. A touch of each, and the Suki Thai sauce, a cousin of sriracha pepper sauce, brought additonal heat and tang to the broth’s creamy complexity. The calamari was tender, and while the shrimp weren’t what you’d get at a pricey seafood restaurant, the quality was acceptable considering the price. Overall, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better main course soup in Boulder for the money.

Suki Thai ably satisfies one’s appetite for Asian noodle soups. It’s hard to beat for a grab-and-go lunch, and I visit here a few times a month, especially on chilly days. Economy and quality go hand-in-hand at Suki Thai, and if it can keep up current levels of value and taste, it will be here for a long time.


Clay's obscurity corner: So siu mei

Char siu, or Chinese barbecue pork, falls into the category of siu mei, a Cantonese term used to describe a variety of meats and poultry that are generally roasted. Available ready to eat from grocers, butchers and restaurants, this Chinese charcuterie equivalent includes crispy-skinned pork, roast duck and steamed chicken. With the simple addition of steamed white rice, one can easily enjoy a traditional one-dish meal of siu mei. A respectable selection of siu mei, including excellent roast duck, is available locally at Broomfield’s Pacific Ocean Market Place at 6600 West 120th Avenue. The phone number there is 303-410-8168.
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All I can say is wow, looks very nice!

 

 
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