Maenam – The Ultimate Food Experience
by: George Froehlich
Every city has them.
A few terrific restaurants that serve great food and provide exemplary service at reasonable prices.
Maenam in the heart of Kitsilano hits all three in a New York minute.
Small and intimate, but super busy, reservations are a must no matter when you want to go.
This authentic Thai restaurant (the best in the city) is a delight.
Service was spot on; the servers extremely knowledgeable and Chef Angus An even made the trek from his kitchen to explain a few of his dishes. A nice touch to be sure.
Prices for mains range from $13 to $18 and appetizers are $7 to $8. Portions are ample.
Thai cuisine is known for its layers and balance of flavours – sour, hot, sweet, salty and bitter.
Chef has an uncanny ability to use local ingredients, blend them with traditional Thai ingredients, to produce culinary perfection.
Six small B.C. oysters (an appetizer) were crispy and light on the outside. Inside, creamy and smooth. The nahm jim sauce that came with them was classic Thai – a mixture of chilies, fresh lime juice and fish sauce. A simple dish but the flavours and textures were rapturous.
The green Papaya salad was lighter and fresher than most Papaya salads we’ve had. The small green beans on the verge of being undercooked gave the salad a super crunchiness; elevating a simple salad to a new level.
The stir fried Halibut cheeks were perfection – biting into them released a symphony of flavours – pungent and peppery and the green curry paste, Thai basil and grachai added up to a unique and super tasty dish.
The braised duck – thin slices – enveloped in an aromatic curry with longans (a small sweet and juicy fruit) and confit potatoes, was a wonderful combination of sweet, spicy and hot, all offset by the cucumber relish, fresh, cool and tart.
The showpiece of the evening proved to be the Burmese curry of organic Sloping Hills pork. It was heavenly. The pork was moist, juicy and crunchy. Pickled garlic, peanuts and different spices saw sweet, salty and sour combined in a perfect combination.
Home-made rice donuts, lighter and fluffier than traditional donuts, with Thai tea ice cream, completed a perfect meal.
If you like Thai food and haven’t been to Maenam – GO.
It’s as simple as that.