In the interest of transparency, I should confess that I’ve been eating at Bangkok Thai for the last three years, and it’s not a secret that I absolutely love it. I thought, however, that it’s high time I made my declaration of love public and permanent by putting it on the internet.
The thing about Bangkok Thai is that its menu is relatively limited, but its quality is unparalleled. No matter what you order, be it a steaming bowl of pho or pad thai, everything will come out in large, piping-hot portions. Each customer is asked to pick a spice level (1-6) and, for me, somehow number 4 gives me the most perfect balance of spicy thai chilies so that I feel heat permeate my insides, but my mouth isn’t on fire.
Bangkok Thai’s inner decor has a huge mural depicting people rice farming. Large pitchers of ice water and styrofoam cups are off to the side for the taking. Customers order at the counter that has a seemingly out-of-place, yet totally fitting, tiki hut roof on it. They pay at the till, then wait for their number to be called.
My favorites at Bangkok Thai are its Beef Pad Siew, Tom Yum Soup and Thai Basil Chicken.
The wide-rice noodles in the Beef Pad Siew are soft and almost melt on the tongue. They’re coated in a spicy sauce and come with an array of vegetables that give the dish a perfect crunch with each bite. I love the meatiness of beef and how it compliments the the savory sauce as they work together to create an explosion of flavor.
Champaign, Illinois is known for its freaky weather. In the past week alone, it’s gone from a crisp 55 degrees Fahrenheit to a sweltering 89 degrees Fahrenheit and 94% humidity. On those chillier days, I like to grab a bowl of steaming Tom Yum Soup. The broth is chicken based and practically warms the soul. I like to ask mine to come with rice noodles, so I can joyfully slurp my broth and noods together while nestled in my favorite five-year-old hoodie. The broth is relatively healthy and works miracles if you’re feeling under the weather.
Although I order the Thai Basil Chicken the least out of these three options, it can seriously hit the spot. I love the tender chicken, saucy vegetables and steamed rice together. It’s filling, but not overwhelming and you don’t need a nap after it! So, basically, it’s a great option if you’re trying to get your thai fix but not carb-overload.
Bangkok Thai is located at 410 E. Green St. Champaign, IL 61820. It is open Monday-Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.