It’s easy to say that Utah County is supersaturated with an array of cultures — those from other countries arriving here for various reasons like returned missionaries, professionals here for business and learning — the list goes on. It is this demographic of cultural diversity that brings the availability for culture-themed restaurants to Utah. My culinary adventure this weekend took me to Bangkok Grill in Orem. Overall, I found it quite authentic and well-priced.
I have never been to Thailand. I don’t know how it really feels to actually sit in a Thai restaurant and consume one of the many delicious, pungent, spicy meals that would be presented if I were really there. I don’t speak Thai. I have very little knowledge of the culture outside of Bangkok and nearby Laos. But what I did have is an experienced traveler on my left, a girl from Phuket on my right and an adventurous palate to guide me to the best.
I have been on the lookout and have done much research to find good Thai food in the area. There are many options: Thai Kitchen, Thai Ruby, Bangkok Thai on Main and Spicy Thai just to name a few. All of these restaurants are run and/or operated by natives of Thailand, presenting a plethora of authentic options to choose from. But as someone looking for authentic Thai, the question is not which restaurants are authentic, but who stays the most true to real Thai cooking techniques?
Back to Bangkok Grill; though my Thai friend contends that Bangkok Grill does not use true Thai cooking methods, she agrees that the menu presents real Thai dishes. This I could definitely handle. Her argument was that most Thai restaurants in Utah County use a lot of MSG and “cheat” to accommodate for flavor. Though that may be the case, the food is delicious and all rings in at about $8.50 per entrée. Sitting down in this restaurant, it is obvious they are trying to develop real Thailand appeal. The seating is an unusual configuration of cushions and benches but gives you the feeling that you’re somehow not in Orem anymore.
Being in such a large party, we had the opportunity to order a beaucoups of food: massaman curry, som-tum, pad gaprow, laab, pad keemow and pad thai all presented on the menu with their native name followed by a description in English as to what you would be receiving. It seemed no matter what we ordered it arrived hot, family-style, and ready to eat. Rice and sticky rice are extra, but who can resist? And to top off dinner, my favorite dish, mango rice, was available for dessert.
A total bill of about $15 for a culinary Thai experience; was it the best? That still is up for debate among my group. Was it good? No doubt! Would I go again? For sure. That is of course until I find something better.