Pad Thai. It’s a passion of mine. I’ve eaten it across the country during road trips, sought out favorite nooks in my home town of Chicago, actually purchased a box of it in the frozen food section (not recommended) and thought about attempting to create it myself, then went out to a restaurant instead.
And so it was that I found myself in Fayetteville’s Taste of Thai on East Central Street.
The room was decorated as you might expect - lots of red and gold, mirrors and elephants and tiny twinkle lights. My server, Molly, reviewed the menu with me, which was extensive even for vegans. Many entrees and appetizers are already vegan, and those that aren’t can be easily adapted by the removal of eggs or the substitution of tofu.
This much maligned bean curd (think block cottage cheese) carries on despite rude jokes and barbs on the part of those who flirt with obesity and high blood pressure. It’s actually quite a chameleon, adding heft and texture to everything from fruit smoothies to the Pad Thai I was about to order.
My luncheon came with Vegetable Soup. Maggie assured me the broth was fully veggie, so I enjoyed this little bowl of warmth before my entree arrived. Diced celery, zucchini, cabbage and carrots swam around – yes, tofu. The owners of Taste of Thai are at work in the kitchen, which means each order is handled with care and pride. Special requests such as adding tofu or leaving out eggs are accommodated cheerfully.
The complimentary Summer Rolls which arrived at my table had little blocks of tofu among the bean sprouts, lettuce and carrots, all skillfully bundled in translucent rice paper. The rolls were perfectly complimented by a sweet dipping sauce with crumbled peanuts.
Having swirled in my soup and nestled in my summer rolls, tofu then appeared in my Pod Thai. This time it was a firm, fried version which took on the curry and the chili flavors amid the green onions, broccoli and the shredded red cabbage. It made a scrumptious lunch with plenty to take home for delicious left overs.
There are dozens of other dishes I’d like to try for several “next times” – garlic pepper, red and yellow curry, and even creative titles such as Evil Jungle Prince and Drunken Noodles. There’s pages of dishes to explore! Vegan Heaven.