FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD - The Reykjavik Grapevine

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

Published July 11, 2001

When you come into a restaurant like Krua Thai you really have no idea about what to expect. The simple straight forward interior is far from being fancy and the atmosphere has little that reminds you of the so-called “Siamese Elegance.” Even the background music leaves much to be desired. However, you soon find that special feeling of being welcome, the feeling of being in the right place.
No Thai restaurant seems to be like another Thai restaurant, – particularly outside Thailand, where the Menus have bowed to the preferences of their local customers (some of whom have never been to Thailand), and serve food that, in the end, becomes a cheap imitation of the real thing.
At the Krua Thai in Reykjavik, of all places, you’ll experience the real thing. Not only is the Menu authentic, but you can order specific regional spices and dishes, if you go for “that sort of thing!” The daily Menu, that is altered quite frequently, has at least 25 standard dishes. But you are also encouraged to ask about specialities that may depend on the “catch of the Day” or Mr.Kim´s vivid imagination. When I dined there the other day, there were 26 items on the Menu and the price range was from 750 krónur to 890 krónur!!
Oh yes, I forgot to tell you about Krua Thai’s Mr. Kim. Talk to this fine chef and he will tell you about the secrets of “Keang keao wan,” a chicken in green curry and his very popular meat with chilli peppers and basil leaves in a fine oyster sauce with rice.
Mr. Kim is really amazing. To some he may look like a softball coach from the Hispanic side of Morningside Heights in uptown New York City, wearing his baseball cap like a professional catcher. But as soon as you hear him explain the finesse of his preparation of fresh fish, you realize that here is a professional. Mr. Kim is not “just somebody from Thailand who likes to cook,” – he has years of valuable experience. His 8 years of preparing fine Thai food in Japan are among his credits.
For those who love Asian beer, the Krua Thai offers both Thai beer and Singapore beer. Of course you can also have Icelandic and Danish bottles, but no draft. Sorry, I forgot to look at the wine list! Perhaps you can find your favourite Asian wines there, although I doubt that very much.
The fish at Krua Thai is beyond any doubt the best in town and the Thai dishes, from the various regions, are authentic. A friend who lives in Bangkok part of the year claims that the “Tom yum talay” soup (Mixed seafood and rice) is better at Krua Thai than in the finest restaurants of Bangkok. (Watch out Hotel Oriental!!)
The Krua Thai is a family restaurant. The room accommodates about 40 guests who are served by a staff of four. Khun Som, the owner, attends to your gourmet wishes whenever you visit; she seems to spend 25 hours a day on the job! Khun Som has been in Iceland for about 15 years, but her restaurant will be only 2 years old in September.

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