Friday, October 22, 2010

Thai Sayarm ~ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

I think us folks in NE Tarrant are pretty spoiled when it comes to Thai food. We have a triumvirate of Hall of Fame places: Bangkok Cuisine in Haltom City, Sweet Basil Thai over in Hurst, and lastly the great Sea Siam in Keller. We've fawned over these places in the past, and continue to do so. And that doesn't even cover the second tier places, that were they in other cities, would probably be our favorites. Like Thai Chili of Southlake, Nipa's Kitchen and Thai Belknap down in Haltom City, The Magic Springroll over in Watuaga, and Thai Riverside in Grapevine.

It's not like this everywhere though. My first experience with Thai food came in San Francisco in the early 90s, and it was love at first taste. But on returning home to Denver, I couldn't find anything close to that good. As you know, the RJG now also resides in Denver part time, and the wife and I still can't find decent Thai food there. I won't say we tried them all, but a good many. They have a tendency to Chinafy (is that word? It should be...) their food, by adding sweeter and thicker sauces and throwing a pile of backyard vegetables on top of everything. And so it goes as you travel the country. Some cities get it, and others don't. And DFW is fortunately one of the areas where the Thai food is uniformly good with few exceptions.

Psst! But there's even one that's better. I have no idea if it's city wide, or we just lucked out on the first try. Head north to Oklahoma City, and put a face full of Thai Sayarm into your system. The RJG doesn't like to say "best ever", since we cannot make that claim. But we can say "Best we ever had". This phenomenal place, in a completely run down strip mall near Del City, is hard to find and has quirky hours. Apparently, as we rudely found out one Saturday night, all the Thai restaurants in that area (and there are a few) are closed for the entire weekend.

We first went to Thai Sayarm on a trip from Denver to DFW back in 2003. It was pure luck we ended up there. The wife had a hankering for Thai food (and you know how Mrs. RJG gets when she wants her Thai food). We just happened to be staying at a roadside motel (La Quinta I think) off of I-35 in SE OKC. I pulled out the Yellow Pages and looked for restaurants beginning with the word Thai. And then looked for one that might be close. How's that for deep research? I returned a year later for business. I took a group of unsuspecting employees there who were currently working for the State of Oklahoma. I can be a mean boss... (actually they loved the place). And now, after 6 years, we have returned triumphant. Nothing has changed. Same owner, same great food, same dilapidated surroundings.

I'll never forget the first time we went. I was feeling confident and bold about my tolerance for spicy food. After all, this is someone who can stomach Da Bomb (in VERY light doses of course), but it's not like any restaurant would cook with it (as far as I know anyway). And when I (mister blond hair, blue eyes white guy) go to Thai restaurants, as noted before, I have to practically beg them to truly make it "Thai Hot". Generally, on the first try, they won't. But once the owners get to know me, they get to the right level. I didn't have that problem at Thai Sayarm. The owner said quite simply: "we have Hot. We have Hot Hot. And we have And Up". Oooh, "And Up" sounded perfect to my ears. Ay-chee-wah-wah. Took me an hour to eat a normal portion of Thai style basil/mint chicken. Hottest meal I've ever had. Even now. And was it tasty!! I was sold. The wife, in between making fun of me crying and sweating, took a far more safe route on the heat level. And she also loved every bite. On my next visit I went for "Hot Hot" and that's just about perfect. And now 6 years later, same experience - great taste, great heat, great owner.

After 3 visits here, Thai Sayarm right now is our favorite Thai restaurant.

Thai Sayarm is on SE 44th St, about 10 minutes east of I-35. Look for it in the run down shopping center on your right (just past Sunnylane).

Thai Sayarm on Urbanspoon

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