Thursday, May 04, 2006

Out to Lunch @ TOMY THAI

Well, I finally got a chance to eat at the new Thai restaurant in town today and I can sum it up in one word... EXCELLENT! I have heard lots of people at work talk about it and how good they thought the food was, but I hadn't gotten around to trying it myself. I don't know if you remember or not, but I tried to eat at Tomy Thai once before with a small group from work, but when we got there we discovered that we had come on the only day of the week that they are closed, so we ended up having to go somewhere else. I didn't let that happen this time. I made sure I went on a day when I knew they would be open and I was the first person through the door when they flipped the sign from CLOSED to OPEN.

When my server came to take my drink order, I informed her that I was vegan and might need some help in choosing something appropriate from the menu since a lot of the sauces might contain fish sauce. She said that she would ask the chef about it while she got my drink. Well, a minute or so later she came back with my drink and the head chef came out with her! She introduced him and he helped me pick something from the menu. He said that he could make almost anything from the menu and make it without the fish sauce. The first thing I picked though, which I had heard about at work, was not a good choice. I asked him about the Drunken Noodles and he said that the sauce that goes on that already has a small amount of fish sauce in it, so there wouldn't really be any way to leave it out without just leaving the sauce off altogether.

My next choice, which is what I was planning on getting anyway, before I heard about the Drunken Noodles being tasty, was E5 on the menu, Phat Phrik Khing - (Spicy String Bean). It was stir-fried fresh green beans and bell peppers in something called Phrik Khing curry paste. I got it with some steamed tofu added to it, and it also came with rice, which I asked about just to make sure that they cooked it with water and not chicken broth or anything like that. I don't know if this dish would normally have fish sauce added to it, but when I asked the chef about the possibility of getting this as a vegan option he said that E5 was a very good choice for that and that it would be very easy for him to make that vegan. So that's what I got and it was DELICIOUS! It was very spicy, but not too hot. It was just right in my opinion. You could tell that the vegetables were very fresh, and the tofu, after it had soaked up all the flavors from all those spices, was just yummy. I will definitely order this again. I might try making something similar at home someday too, for the lunchbox. But I will certainly continue to eat the restaurant version and help support this awesome new local restaurant. In fact, I think I might go there again tomorrow night for dinner.

So to sum it up, lunch today was excellent. It was no trouble at all to ask for something vegan and get it. My server was excellent and the chef was extremely helpful. If you're ever in Tennessee and pass through the town of Kingsport, I highly recommend dining at Tomy Thai.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll see you back here tomorrow with the lunchbox.


Chava said...

Wow, that's great that they were so helpful! I've been having a hard time at thai places lately because all the places around my school list items with oyster sauce in the vegetarian section of the menu.

(I've been reading your blog since the beginning, but I haven't commented until now. Your lunches always look delicious!)

kennyboy said...

I know, the menu said that anything could be prepared vegetarian, so they are obviously not thinking about the oyster sauce or fish sauce. A lot of Mexican restaurants do that too, you can order a vegetarian entree that comes with rice, but the rice is prepared with chicken broth. Heck, there is even a Mexican restaurant here where I live that has SHRIMP in the vegetarian section.

I am assuming that the "phrik khing curry paste" that was in my dish was whipped up when my meal was prepared, because I have been looking for recipes for it on the internet and they all contain shrimp paste.

I am assuming that mine did not, because the chef understood what I was asking for, and steered me away from that one item because the sauce was pre-made and contained a little fish sauce that he couldn't leave out. Most of their stuff is made to order, and he said that it would be easy for him to alter what I ordered and leave out anything not vegan, well all I specifically asked about was fish sauce but if they knew what vegan meant surely they wouldn't have put shrimp paste in it.

I am fairly confident that was left out of my dish, otherwise there wouldn't have been any alteration for him to make, and he said it would be easy to alter that to make it vegan.

I will ask specifically about it next time though, just to make sure.

P.S. Thanks for the compliment. ;o)

Theresa said...

I luuuuurv me some Thai food. Phrik (preek) means spicy, and Phat (pot) means stir-fried, though I can't recall (or maybe I never knew) what Khing means. Sounds yummy, anyways, and looks delicious!

Did the people in the restaurant think you were crazy for taking pics of your food??

kennyboy said...

I don't think anyone noticed. I turned my flash off so as to not draw attention to myself. Maybe I should get me one of those James Bond ink pen spy cameras that use microfilm.

Plus, that was one reason why I wanted to be the first person there. I didn't fancy the idea of sitting in a packed restaurant photographing my food. Although, I don't know why I should care.

The rush was just starting as I was leaving. I was in and out pretty quick.

scs said...

Yummmm! This Thai dish looks splendid!! It started my Thai cravings right up immediately. Luckily here in Boston we have all sorts of Asian options, including a great 100% vegan restaurant, Grasshopper. I imagine you would be right at home going to a restaurant where every single thing on the menu is vegan! No worries about fish sauce there. We order takeout from there just about every weekend. It's not Thai (more Chinese and Vietnamese), but it is really good. Congrats on the Thai experiment--it definitely looks successful.

jeni4 said...

That's very awesome that the chef came out to talk to you. Where I live (Texas) they kinda look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I don't eat meat. I once got bacon on some soup that I asked for it not to be on and they suggested that I pick it out. Isn't that insane? I'm glad that you had a good experience and the food looks really good.