Have you ever noticed that most people either love Thai food or have never tried it? You rarely find people who are neutral on the subject. Thai is fabulous in that it often strikes a balance between being both sweet and spicy — kind of like us ladies. Thai Village 400 S. Washington Square, Lansing Thai Village is the newest location in the Lansing area to serve up this delicious cuisine. Located downtown on Washington Square, this humble restaurant is clean and pleasant. I met a friend for lunch and we were seated right away. After perusing the menu, we decided to start with the Siam rolls and share the Pad Thai and Pad Baigraprow. Now, I am one of those people who adores Thai. The complexity of the flavors, with the wonders of curries, nuts, chilies, garlic, lime, coconut milk, etc. all add up to food fun at its finest. However, as I tucked into my lunch at Thai Village, I found myself somewhat thrown. The depth of distinctive Thai flavors was not as apparent as what you might find elsewhere. However, I could not say I disliked anything that was placed before me. By the end of the meal it became clear: the food had very clean flavors. The sweet and spice were still there, but it was far more simple and straight forward than what may be offered at another Thai establishment. Thus, I would have to say Thai Village would be a great location for someone who is diving into the world of Thai for the first time. The Siam Rolls, stuffed with chicken and noodles and served with a red onion sauce, were the best part of the meal. The Pad Thai was solid in its representation of this classic noodle dish. Piled high with chicken, egg, bean sprouts and peanuts, the Village’s version leaned more toward the sweet and less toward the heat. The same went with the Pad Baigraprow. Shrimp, green pepper, and Thai holy basil married in a brown sauce. The holy basil gave the dish a punch of pizzazz. In sum, Thai Village is a great addition to the culinary Mecca we call downtown. Fortune House 5407 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing Fortune House is your classic strip mall gem. Tucked in among Meijer and Target on the west side is this little joint that serves up some fine Thai. I had to go for the Pad Thai again, as it is such a classic, and I ventured out to try a new experience, Gang Musmum. When Fortune House takes your order, they clarify what type of heat experience you are looking for: mild, medium or hot. I went with a mild “plus.” I knew this place wasn’t messing around when I got my hot and sour soup. You know the kind, where it hits you in the back of the throat. The Gang Musmum was a joy of chicken sautéed in musmum curry, tamarind juice and coconut milk, coupled with potato, onion, carrot and peanuts. It was as delicate and sweet as a daisy with just the perfect amount of heat around the edges. The peanuts added great texture, but as they were whole, I kept cracking myself up chasing them around my plate, first with chopsticks and then with my fork. The Pad Thai was some of the best I have had, and I rate most restaurants based upon their success with this dish. An added bonus is that Fortune House has a full Chinese menu as well. So, if you are looking to try some Thai, now may be the time. If you already are a fan, these local restaurants are both great places to expand your repertoire.
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.