At its core, Thai cuisine aims to achieve a perfect balance of flavors, much like the balance sought in traditional Thai life, where the emphasis is on harmony and coexistence.
Thai cuisine reflects the cultural diversity of the country, with influences from China, India, and Southeast Asian neighbors. The Chinese introduced noodles, while Indian traders brought spices and the concept of curries. As a result, Thai cuisine showcases a harmonious fusion of these influences, resulting in a unique and diverse culinary landscape.
A great spot to experience authentic Thai flavors and hospitality is in West Valley City at Tuk Tuk’s. If you’ve ever spent time in a Thai city such as Bangkok, you’ve surely encountered tuk tuks – the three wheeled motorized auto rickshaws that are a common mode of transportation there and popular taxis for tourists. Here, Tuk Tuk’s is one of the best Thai restaurants in the state.
Thai cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh ingredients. From aromatic herbs like basil, cilantro, and lemongrass to tropical fruits like mango and papaya, Thai dishes burst with vibrant and natural flavors. The use of fresh herbs and spices, such as galangal, ginger, and kaffir lime leaves, adds depth and complexity to Thai dishes.That’s certainly the case at Tuk Tuk’s where aromatic dishes like Tom Yum soup, Papaya Salad, Laarb Meat Salad, and vibrant curries pepper the menu alongside common noodle dishes, stir-fries, and appetizers.
Spring Rolls with Shrimp
Starters at Tuk Tuk’s include crispy fried Thai Chicken Wings, lightly battered Tempura Veggies with sweet & spicy chili sauce, Chicken Satay Skewers with creamy Thai peanut sauce, and Fried Egg Rolls. We particularly liked the scrumptious Fresh Spring Rolls – rice paper stuffed with lettuce, cilantro, fresh Thai basil, carrots, cucumber, shrimp, and rice noodles, served with a heavenly peanut dipping sauce.
Khao Pad Sapparot
Noodle dishes at Tuk Tuk’s include common ones like Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, and Drunken Noodles, as well as ones that you don’t see in many Thai eateries like Pad Won Sen: silky glass noodles stir-fried with a melange of vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, baby corn, onions, peas, and a choice of protein from chicken, shrimp, seafood, tofu, pork or beef. The noodles & rice portion of the menu is rounded out by Thai Fried Rice – eggs, mixed veggies and a choice of protein. Even more impressive than the standard Thai Fried Rice is Tuk Tuk’s Khao Pad Sapparot (Pineapple Curry Fried Rice), which comes served in a carved out pineapple and is absolutely delicious. There is a beautiful balance between the tart, spicy curry flavor, saltiness of the fried rice and onion, and sweetness of pineapple. Most dishes at Tuk Tuk’s are available mild or spicy with a 0 to 5 scale of spiciness. We opted for level 4 heat for most of our dishes which was plenty fiery, but not so hot as to be unenjoyable.
Jimmy is Tuk Tuk’s owner and various members of his family work at the restaurant and just couldn’t be more friendly. True Thai hospitality and generosity is to be found in abundance at Tuk Tuk’s, which also has a very bright, modern and inviting ambiance. About the only drawback I can think of is that there are no alcoholic beverages available. It sure would be nice to be able to enjoy sipping a Singha alongside the aromatic Tom Yum soup.
Pad Ga Prow
Tuk Tuk’s offers a number of stir-fry dishes, including Pad Ke Mao, Pad Preaw Wan, Pad Him Ma Parn, and Pad Khing. As you’ve probably surmised, the Thai word “pad” refers to frying, especially stir-frying. We particularly enjoyed Pad Ga Prow, which is a classic stir-fry dish of Southeast Asia. It includes broccoli, onions, Thai basil, red bell peppers, a savory brown sauce, and a choice of protein which, in our case, was tender pork slices. It’s a truly scrumptious dish that came with a very generous mound of steamed rice.
Thai cuisine is a reflection of that country’s rich culture, history, and geography. Its diversity, bold flavors, and emphasis on balance make it a captivating culinary journey. Whether you’re exploring street food stalls in Bangkok, dining in a traditional wooden house in Chiang Mai, or savoring seafood by the beaches of Phuket, Thailand’s cuisine will leave an indelible mark on your taste buds and your heart, making it an essential destination for food lovers worldwide. But if you can’t get to Thailand, do the next best thing and head over to West Valley City to tuck into Tuk Tuk’s terrific Thai cuisine and hospitality.
Photos by Ted Scheffler & Courtesy of Tuk Tuk’s
Culinary quote of the week: “Thailand was built on compassion.” – Bhumibol Adulyadej