fame, is as much an adventure for you as it was for schoolteacher Anna
Leuonowen so long ago.
The table beneath the portrait is laid out -- as if for a guest --
with a plate, a banana and a filled glass of champagne. Server Toy
Porchan bows before the portrait in silence, then clears the table.
Returning to our booth, she takes our order, and the day begins with
lunch and the lingering spirit of King Rama.
Toy suggests choosing from one of the 21 chicken, beef or pork lunch
specials ($4.95 to $6.50). Most are smaller servings of the dinner
selections and include steamed rice and soup or salad.
The salad is ordinary greens, but the soup is extraordinary -- a great
hot and sour coconut milk broth called "Tom Yum Kai," filled with
chicken, Thai spices and lemon juice. Piled on top are loads of fresh
cilantro with the green smell of newly mowed grass.
Selected on another visit was Tom Kha Kai ($5.75 to $7.95), with big
pieces of chicken and loads of sliced mushrooms. Beware the pieces of
woody lemon grass and the hard slices of galangal, which look like big
poker chips. They are for seasoning only.
Both soups have a latent spiciness that is at once warming and tingly.
An appetizer, Koong Yang Puket -- which means "naked shrimp" -- is
typical Thai with nearly a dozen small grilled shrimp laid across torn
greens and two slices of pineapple. The appetizer is served with a sweet
and sour dip of diced onions and cucumbers.
The shrimp were cold, dry and tough and the pineapple canned. The
fresh sauce was the most redeeming part of this poorly conceived
Watch the asterisks on the menu, as they really mean spicy, like their
Phad Phet Nor Mai, or "Bamboo Royale." This dish has garlic-flavored
sliced chicken in an innocent-enough looking bowl that is full of heated
Fresh vegetables are great in the summer and many dishes at Phuket
Thai could have used more.
Stir-fried Thai Noodles (L. $4.94, D. $7.95), a milder dish, were very
good with chicken egg, bean sprouts, onions and ground peanuts sparked