spicy eggplant

A beautiful plate of spicy eggplant with tofu

Siam Cafe has been a reliable staple among Thai restaurants in Albuquerque for a long time now.

A fairly nondescript exterior opens up to a small and rather busy interior with booths and a few tables. The hustle and bustle of the kitchen (particularly during peak hours) is audible from the dining area, but it does not seem to deter the patrons from engaging in lively conversation. It is a comfortable place, with no pretenses and an atmosphere that welcomes the whole family.

The menu has changed little for the past few years, but there are still gems to be discovered and new items to try. It is divided in familiar categories: noodles, soups, stir fry and so on. Every dish is prepared with your choice of meat and there are several seafood items that stay on the menu at all times. Their vegetarian selections are equally ample and come both with or without tofu.

I find the Spicy Eggplant to be one of their most delicious, most authentic (or so I’ve been told by far more knowledgeable guests than myself) items on their menu. I opt for the vegetarian presentation and it never fails to impress. The vegetables are cooked, yet crisp. The sauce is not excessive but coats everything evenly. It is a lighter dish than it may appear, but it makes for a full and satisfying meal with a little bit of rice on the side. A plentiful serving of fried tofu provides protein and wonderful roundness to this dish.

My other staple is their Pud Thai. The portion is quite generous as well and it comes garnished with some shredded green cabbage, chopped peanuts, mung bean sprouts, green onions and a slice of lime. I appreciate the fact that the spice (a large portion of hot pepper flakes) is neatly place on the side of the Pud Thai rather than right on top of it. In this manner you can control how spicy you want each bite to be. This dish is flavorful yet not cloyingly sweet like many other Pud Thais I’ve tasted. The noodles have bite to them and are not overcooked and the peanuts offer a bit of crunch just where you need it.

Siam Cafe is a sure bet for an impromptu lunch or dinner when you don’t want to fuss over what to wear and you are just looking to have a delicious meal.

pud thai

A platter of Pud Thai at Siam Cafe: a classic