Thai Delight Cafe
6271 S. 3655 West, West Jordan ; 801-968-7626
This West Jordan veteran is all about Thai food and hospitality, not so much the decor.
Cuisine: Thai, Asian
Hours: M-Th, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; F-S, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Corkage: $ 0
Reservations: Not accepted/necessary
Recommended Dishes: Nuea nam-tog beef salad, yellow and Massaman curries, Thai iced tea.
July 20, 2011
Two Thai Delight locations: same menu, spiffier decor
By Lesli J. Neilson
West Jordan • Compared to the spanking-new Thai Delight Restaurant, eight-year-old Thai Delight Café might be considered a somewhat homely stepsister.
Dark-blue vinyl banquettes line the space at the original location, while small Kalaga tapestries of golden elephants and fans adorn cornflower-colored walls. Luckily, save for the sketchy restroom that also serves as the cleaning supply closet — accessed by traversing the kitchen — the place is clean. The original Thai Delight isn’t about glam; it’s about friendly service and the food.
Skip the dry-as-cardboard chicken satay (No. 5, $7.95) and forgettable deep-fried wonton-wrapped shrimp (No. 7, $8.49) appetizers, and head straight to the soups or salads. Tom kha gai (No. 11, $9), the traditional chicken-straw-mushroom-lemongrass-kaffir lime-coconut milk soup, is well balanced between sweet, sour and spicy and serves to prepare the tastebuds for what to come. When ordering, you’ll be asked to choose a heat level from one to five, with five being the hottest.
I don’t consider myself a wimp when it comes to heat, but a “two” was too spicy when it came to the papaya salad (No. 15, $8.45) and glass-noodle salad yum woon-sen (No. 16, $8.45). Both the shredded green papaya and thin cellophane noodles soaked up every bit of chile heat and seemed to perpetuate the burn, preventing the other flavors of garlic, tomato, lime juice and shrimp from coming through.
On the other hand, another “two,” nuea nam-tog (No. 18, $10.45), a salad of tender, rosy strips of beef, cabbage, carrots, mint, cilantro, chiles, marinated red onion and lime juice, served as a good example of how layers of flavor and heat can work together.
Orange creamsicle-tinged Thai iced tea ($2) or smoky brown Thai iced coffee ($2) really help curb the heat and refresh the palate for more of the searingly good food. There’s also coconut juice, Thai lemonade and soft drinks ($1.25-$2). Neither restaurant offers alcohol but the new location says they’re working on getting a license. Good luck!
The original kitchen also knows its curry. I liked the yellow best (No. 44, $9.95) with coconut milk, tons of onions and tender potatoes, while the Massaman ($9.95), with the addition of peanuts to tubers and alliums, came in a close second.
Along with the disappointing chicken satay, the kitchen turned out a mediocre pad Thai (No. 50, $8.45) with a sticky clump of rice noodles, and hard, dried-out sticky rice in a dessert ruined in-season, sweet mangoes ($4.99). That said, the kitchen vindicated itself on another visit with cookbook-perfect warm, sticky rice and more sliced mango.
The mango sticky rice dessert ($5.50) at the new location was spot-on, as were other dishes. (The menus at both locations are the same, though prices are higher across the board at this newer, bigger and prettier restaurant.)
Expertly rolled fresh spring rolls ($7.95) held rice noodles, shrimp, lettuce, cilantro and carrots. Wide pan-fried rice noodles (No. 53, $9.95) were tangled around strips of chicken and straw mushrooms, all in a brownish sauce that reminded me a bit of stroganoff. Gang kua sapparod curry (No. 45, $10.95) came dotted with red bell peppers, shrimp and chunks of pineapple whose sweetness help douse the “two” heat level. Pad gra-praow (No. 28, $9.95) melded anise-scented basil, ground pork and sweet bell peppers.
The new restaurant, which used to be Ocha Café, is about five times larger than its café sister. Its style is minimal but tasteful, thanks to an aquarium and planters of silk flowers which cordon off even more banquet space.
Thai Delight owner Lae Tranngoc manages the new location while son Win Tranngoc keeps business humming at the original location. Both are very gregarious, will give you their honest opinion if asked, and are eager to know how you heard about their restaurants. Oh, and if you like them and their food, remember to “friend” them on Facebook.
It’s great to see the café thrive, and even better to see it add another location. The trick will be to keep up the quality of the food while continuing to offer the same great service.
Tribune's rating system
1 star Good
2 stars Very good
3 stars Excellent
4 stars Extraordinary
$ Entree under $10
$$$$ Above $25
1 bell Quiet (under 65 decibles)
2 bells Can talk easily (65-70)
3 bells Talking somewhat difficult (70-75)
4 bells Raised voices (75-80)
A bomb Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
The Tribune covers the cost of all meals at reviewed restaurants. Star ratings are based on a minimum of two visits. Ratings are updated continually based on at least one revisit. There is no connection between reviews and advertising.
May 16, 2003
Thai Delight, a Spicy Gem in West Jordan, Is a Secret No More
By Nancy Hobbs
Members of the University of Utah's Asian studies department were discussing favorite restaurants recently, and when they came to similar conclusions about a little Thai diner in West Jordan, they forwarded their opinions. A couple of visits to the out-of-the-way Thai Delight, 6271 S. 3655 West, were inspired by the academes' enthusiastic and unanimous response to its food as the best and most authentic Thai cuisine in the valley.
It wasn't a disappointment.
The cafe is an ambitious operation run by Phon Sylasak, who took over a year ago, after her brother, Thongphett Sylasak, bought it from the existing owner. Their sister, Thip Suoth, is Thai Delight's full-time chef and cook.
The family opens the kitchen for lunch and dinner every day except Sunday, and offers a seven-page menu -- 87 items -- for both meals. It includes some Japanese and Chinese selections, which is good for diners who prefer more mild and perhaps more familiar choices, but there is plenty of spicy Thai food as well.
Though we ordered much more than we could possibly eat on each occasion (what better way to fill the fridge with delicious leftovers?), we realized we were only sampling a small fraction of the possibilities. But associate professor Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, a frequent diner who initially recommended the cafe, wrote in an e-mail that he and his wife "get one new [Thai] dish each time we go, and the chef does not appear to have a weakness in her menu."
We enjoyed an appetizer plate of chicken satay (small skewers of chicken marinated and grilled to tenderness, served with a delectable peanut sauce) and shrimp wrapped in wonton skins and deep-fried (on the menu as koon gkra bork) served with sweet and fruity dipping sauce. Each was big enough to share among three or four people and cost less than $6.
Although perhaps crossing the line from traditional Thai, we also ordered spring rolls as an appetizer. A generous plate of four large rolls arrived so fresh that the wonton skins were still warm and moist around a cold and crunchy filling of shrimp, lettuce, glass noodles and cilantro. The peanut sauce tasted even better with these gems, and was wiped clean from the bowl with the last bite of spring roll.
The traditional Thai soup, tom yum kai, was delivered in a heated tureen, steaming hot and plenty spicy, with a tangy and delicious broth flavored with lemon grass, lime leaves and chiles. Strips of chicken, mushrooms and vegetables were plentiful.
Another favorite dish was the papaya salad ($6), again spiced to our requested "medium" heat: enough to leave a slight but not unpleasant tingle on the lips, but with plenty of flavor. The salad is made of green papayas, with the unripe fruit shredded and mixed with fresh green chiles, tomatoes and a dressing of tangy lime juice and fish sauce. The result is refreshing: slightly sweet and sour, crunchy and spicy.
Although the waitress asks what degree of spice you like with many of the meals, some items don't allow for individual variation. The kai pad med, better known as kung pao chicken, is one of those dishes. The generous dish of stir-fired chicken, bell peppers and cashews is also liberally spiced with whole roasted red chiles that give plenty of zing ($7). Our younger, more conservative diner was directed to orange chicken, which is battered, fried and served with a sweet orange and sesame sauce, similar to Chinese sweet and sour chicken ($7).
Thai food frequently incorporates coconut milk, and it lends a distinctive taste to the choo chee -- shrimp stir-fried in red curry sauce and coconut milk, wonderfully flavored with Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves (one of the menu's priciest items at $8).
We also enjoyed a more subtle influence of coconut in the day's special dessert: sweet sticky rice with fresh mango ($5). The rice was served slightly warm and not too sweet, topped with a perfectly ripened mango that was a luscious complement.
At the end of our Thai Delight meal, we were sated and sent home with lunch for the next day -- all with a tab that was easily swallowed. Of course, you are not paying for fancy atmosphere or a pricey location. Thai Delight is in a strip mall just west of Bangerter Highway at 6200 South, and the interior is definitely modest. But as far as good food goes, Thip Suoth knows what she's doing, and has a growing clientele supporting her culinary efforts.