I rushed down Tanner Street in Haddonfield as the brisk wind slapped my bare face.
The restaurant’s large sign protruded from the front of the building and caught me by surprise. Not because of its size, but because my favorite restaurant, Melange @ Haddonfield, once stood in this very building.
If Sanook delivered food close to as tasty as what Chef Joe Brown dished out at Melange, an ode to Creole and Southern food, I was in for a real treat.
The little lady at the front greeted me upon entering with a bow. She practically held my hand while ushering me to my table.
Her attentiveness made me happy.
I began with a Thai iced tea, a drink I never tried before. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by its flavor.
My mind was blown by how freshly brewed tea paired with sweetened condensed milk could taste so similar to chocolate. That rich sweetness characteristic to chocolate was intensified by spices, which I believed to be cinnamon and coriander. The tea’s bitterness at the finish of each sip called for an extremely delectable drink.
I next ordered the lunch special that came with two appetizers and one entree for $18. The tom kha gai soup and spring rolls would be my starters, and the pad see ew with chicken would serve as my main course.
The plating of everything was very pretty, especially of the tom kha gai soup, which was poured into a gorgeous angled bowl.
I used my God given soup coolers to blow off clouds of steam spewing from the coconut milk based soup. The consistency was the perfect medium between brothy and creamy. I very much enjoyed the in your face kick from the lime juice. The crunch of the softened onion and carrot was great too, as was the fresh grassy fragrance from the chunks of lemongrass. I’d order this every time I dined, for sure.
I seriously don’t believe you can go wrong with spring rolls. The wontons were thin and crisp, while the inside was fresh and crunchy. The duck sauce was spectacular, and tasted rather different from those packets we’ve all received from every Asian restaurant in the world. Sanook went a little heavier on the vinegar in their sauce, which I was a fan of. I love “tang” and the little clumps of chili paste throughout made this sauce a winner! I found myself taking a spoon and scooping up sauce just to eat on its own.
The big boy was up next. If I could put the smell of my pad see ew with chicken in an envelope and mail it to all the fellow readers, I would send that blessing in a heart beat. If the smell could be that enticing, the taste just had to be phenomenal.
When thinking up a flavor comparison, a traditional lo mein comes to mind. Only, this was a lo mein on culinary steroids.
The taste of soy and fish sauce was so deeply embedded in every ingredient, I couldn’t contain my euphoria. The chicken was cooked perfectly, as was the Chinese broccoli and carrot slices. My favorite part of the entree, however, was those gluttonous rice noodles. When I say I could barely chew them because they melted in my mouth upon contact, I’m not kidding. These were the most tender noodles I ever had. Next to the seafood pomodoro at Melange (which is/was my favorite pasta entree of all time), Sanook’s pad see ew is the best noodle dish I’ve ever had. Hands down.
Since my food was stupendously delicious, I was still in the mood to eat.
For dessert, there were several variations of ice cream to choose from; pomegranate blueberry crunch, coconut, mango, red bean and vanilla. I decided on the red bean flavor.
The ice cream was just okay. It didn’t have much sweetness to it, but had a prominent bean taste…obviously. In fact, the dollop of whipped cream on top had far more sweetness than the ice cream itself. The texture also reminded me of wet sand; grainy, but when pressed together, it became a large moist mass. Maybe I’d order it again, maybe not.
All in all, I was super impressed with what Sanook Thai Cuisine had to offer. The food was greatly executed and full of memorable flavors.
I plan to bring my family here soon so they too can experience the wonderfulness that is Thai cuisine.