Diversity at Bangkok BBQ
Bangkok BBQ is a quaint and charming eatery located in Walnut that features classic Thai cuisine while incorporating a variety of other Asian flavors. With its convenient location and wide variety of dishes, Bangkok BBQ is a fitting place to spend a cozy afternoon.
Upon entering, the extravagant gilded decor was the first to catch my eye. Ranging from traditional elephant statuettes to bold embroidered draperies, the overall aesthetic felt complete and consistent. Despite the small size of the restaurant, I was definitely impressed by how seamlessly the design elements blended together.
The menu consisted of five sections, each pertaining to a different style of Thai cooking. There was a section for Noodles and Pad Thai, Fried Rice, Seafood, Vegetable Dishes and Traditional Desserts. In addition to the quintessential Pad Thai, Bangkok BBQ also lists Vietnamese phở, Chinese dumplings and Japanese pudding.
In terms of service, the waitresses were helpful and courteous, and the food arrived only a few minutes after I ordered. I was very impressed by the service at first but as the meal went on, the waitresses became increasingly more passive. I had to ask for the check multiple times before a server from behind the counter heard me. While it is understandable that there weren’t many other customers at the time, so there wasn’t a need to consistently check on the tables, I would have preferred the service to be a little better.
I ordered their Spicy Seafood Fried Rice and a Thai Iced Tea, which cost $9.45 and $2.50, respectively. The serving size for the rice was generous enough and suitable for up to four people. It was a good bargain considering the relatively low price, and I ended up taking home some leftovers. I especially enjoyed the garnishes of tomato and scallion that added a sweet taste as well as color to the presentation. In addition, there were hints of garlic that introduced a different, more savory flavor to the dish. The food itself had all the elements of traditional fried rice; it was satisfying but not too adventurous or exciting. It mainly consisted of ingredients that could be found in other fried rice dishes, and didn’t really offer anything new.
The rice was wonderfully prepared, and I enjoyed the piquant flavors that came with each bite. Normally, I find “spicy” dishes to be under-seasoned or just incredibly bland. Bangkok, however, perfectly balanced the Sriracha flavor in the rice with the tanginess of the shrimp. I didn’t have high expectations for the quality of ingredients since the prices were so low so I was definitely surprised at how organic it tasted. The red pepper spices were potent and robust, and the shrimp was fresh with a slight taste of citrus.
When the Thai Iced Tea arrived, I was excited to try its take on a classic drink, as it was a bestseller. The condensed milk was freshly poured into the tea concoction, so I knew, even before trying, that it was not artificial. My first sip further supported this observation, which was even better than what I had expected. The creaminess of the milk was a sweet component that wasn’t too overpowering and complemented the slight bitterness of the tea. It wasn’t properly mixed at first but after stirring, it became a refreshing and soothing drink overall.
In short, Bangkok BBQ is a unique and inexpensive restaurant that pays much attention to the quality of its dishes. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fulfilling meal without sacrificing too much money or time.
By Ashley Liang, Staff writer
Photos by Ashley Liang