A Taste of Thailand
A while back a Pakistani taxi driver told me:
“Exit 14, Thai restaurant.”
Of course I had to give it a shot.
The area around exit 14 turned out to be colossal. After over an hour and a few kilometers of walking around aimlessly and asking around for a Thai place, my friend and I were just about to throw in the towel and settle for something else. That’s when we ran into the first Filipino of that stroll. He pointed us in the right direction. Then two Thai women aided us further and boom: we were eating good Thai food in Riyadh.
After telling people about the experience, I was told of yet another Thai place that’s only a 40-minute walk or 5-minute, 10 Riyal cab ride from my apartment/hotel.
After discovering the second Thai place, I thought: One of my favorite cuisines on earth is down the street from my abode and it’s authentic. I’ve struck gastro gold.
It turns out that the second Thai place has a much wider selection, more pleasant presentations, and better taste.
I’ve now eaten at this second Thai discovery at least six times.
The following photos are from my favorite restaurant in Riyadh so far, the Thai place that’s very close to where I’m temporarily residing.
This Pad Thai has shrimp, egg and various veggies. This quintessential Thai noodle dish has peanuts mixed in, adding to the cornucopia of flavors that makes this a plate I’ll never get tired of. This mammoth mound of goodness cost 15 Riyal or $4. If you haven’t had it, I suggest that you head to a Thai restaurant close to you and give it a whirl.
This Stir-Fried Mixed Seafood dish is wonderful served with red peppers and goes down as well as it’s presented. I typically prefer brown rice over white but with Thai food I’m more than happy to consume the white as it goes so well with this signature South East Asian fare. This photo shows about one-third the amount that came with the dish that cost 35 Riyal or $9.33.
This Stir-Fried Green and Red Chili with Beef isn’t something I’d typically order as I’m not a fan of chowing down on bovine flesh. But, I prefer to eat community style when I’m out with others, especially if the cuisine calls for it. I’ve never seen Thai people ordering their own dishes. They always share. So, I had no qualms about ordering this collectively. I’ll admit, I enjoyed the two or three bites that I had. It cost 20 Riyal or $5.33.
I was in awe when this Sizzling Mixed Seafood Dish came out. There’s an allure to be felt when the food is still cooking in front of you. As this restaurant specializes in seafood, you can see that there’s no shortage of marine dishes on offer. This one cost 35 Riyal or $9.33 and was well worth it.
This ensured that they didn’t hold back on the chili peppers. Luckily my eating buddies like it this way too. I like to think that I prefer the dish as most locals of the cuisine would favor it. In this case, I’m refering to locals being people from Thailand, including the Thai cooks. Of course Penang is in neighboring Malaysia, so maybe it’s really a Malaysian dish. Regardless of which country it’s from, I enjoyed it immensely. This soup concoction cost 35 Riyal or $9.66. This is the famous Northern Thai specialty Tom Yam. Last week at work, there seemed to be many people sneezing and sniffling around me. Because I also felt a cold coming on, I made a special trip down as soon as I got home, with this dish exclusively on my mind. I asked the Bangladeshi waiter:
“Please make it super, extra spicy. Ziada sharta min falak. Tell the cook to make it as spicy as he can.”
I said it in whatever Arabic I could muster up and in English to make sure he’d understand.
They probably thought I was nuts but they delivered. I couldn’t taste much as my mouth was on fire and and I was hacking. But it was well worth it as I didn’t have a cold the next day. This painful but effective method really works. NOTE: I drank four cups of strong ginger tea upon returning home so that my stomach would be soothed and I wouldn’t be on the toilet in the middle of the night because of the intense spice factor. This method really works too.
The small bowl of Tom Yam cost 20 Riyal or $5.66.
Seefa Seafood Thai Restaurant is on Dammam Road in Riyadh. From Khalid Bin Waleed Street, it’s in the same little plaza as the third gas station on your right.
I know that the sign also says Filipino, but only the last page of the menu has Filipino food, a small fraction of what’s offered. Also, the cooks are Thai. I haven’t tried the Filipino fare yet, so I consider the place Thai and not Filipino, despite what the sign says. It’s surely not Thai/Filipino fusion.