Siam is my favourite restaurant in Regina. There are a glut of Asian joints in the city, but this authentic Thai bistro stands head and shoulders above the rest with its explosive yet powerfully simple flavours. We had a four-person food orgy there recently, and every dish was a banger.
I love this appetizer! Not uncommon in Thai restaurants, to me this dish really showcases what makes the cuisine so special: the simple combo of dried coconut and shrimp with hot chilis, lime, onion and cashew covers all four bases of flavour, while remaining incredibly fresh and delicious. It’s the ultimate in balance and simplicity.
Tom Yum Koong
This is the best Tom Yum soup I’ve ever tasted, and I say this as a man who makes a pretty gnarly version himself. The key is the shrimp paste they use in the broth, which is unbelievably savoury and leaves me licking my bowl clean. Served over a flame at the table so it stays hot, it’s an absolutely crucial order.
Panaeng Curry Chicken
Curried in a savoury coconut broth, it’s just a tad spicy, and really surprising for what we all expected to be just a standard fried-chicken and veg dish.
Num Tuk Gai Tod
One of Siam’s specialties, and a dish you’ll find a version of at their dirt-cheap lunch buffet. Ground pork and fried chicken, seasoned with chilies, lime, cilantro and onions over shredded cabbage. Compared to say, the lemon chicken you’ll order at a run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant, this dish is so light is practically floats off the table. Another great example of Thai cuisine’s ability to combine very simple flavours that result in a perfectly balanced and savoury dish.
Yellow Curry Soft-Shell Crab (Not sure why this dish doesn’t have an authentic Thai name, maybe they just got lazy by the time they got to the seafood section of the menu…)
Fried just long enough to crisp it up but far from rubbery and over-done. A basic yellow curry sauce lets the delicacy of the crab really shine, and again, the dish was much lighter than it looked.
Not only is this among the best in town, it’s also among the cheapest. With two bottles of wine, this meal was under $120, and very few dishes on the vast, expansive menu are more than $15. It is, in stereotypical fashion, drastically understaffed, but despite the frantic panic of the lone server/manager, the food usually comes out fairly quickly even when the joint is packed.
I hope this place stays in business forever.