Khao San

Khao San
1435 NW Flanders St.
Portland, OR 97209

I love Asian food more than any other food on this planet.  After a couple non Asian meals, I will usually crave something Asian.  So I was happy to squeeze in some Thai food during my Portland trip.  The Thai food is noticeable solid in Portland.  Of course there are your average joints, but on the whole I’ve always been pleased with my options here.  After a long day out and about checking out parts of Portland unknown to me with Decidedly Undecided, Zhu Zhu Hamster, and Little Pet, we settled on Khao San which had pretty good Yelp reviews and wasn’t too far off the beaten path.  Big Spoon was able to get away from a rough day on call to feast with us.

Blue Crab and Rice Noodle Stir Fry rice noodle, blue crab meat, egg, bean sprout, chives, garlic, chili, fried soft shell crab
Kind of like a less sweet/sour and more savory version of pad Thai.  There was great crabby flavor and the fried soft shell crab was a delicious crunchy addition.

Khao San Holy Basil minced chicken, holy basil, fried egg

I think this was like pad ka prao.  The fried egg and bit of fish sauce for dipping were snazzy touches.

Kor Mu Yaang chargrilled pork, smoked chili tamarind relish
I enjoyed the presentation of these grilled and skewered meats.  It could have been juicier.  I really liked the sweet/sour/spicy sauce.

Crying Tiger painted hills rib eye steak, smoked chili tamarind relish

Tasty and with that same tasty sauce.

Chicken Wings marinated with curry paste and coconut milk

I think Zhu Zhu Hamster or Little Pet was adamant about ordering this.  I knew they weren’t going to be nearly as tasty the Pok Pok wings, but I had no idea they were going to be battered in curry and coconut.  They were definitely interesting.

Mussamun Curry home made mussamun curry, chicken, sweet potatoes, shallots, peanuts

I’ve had better curry.  Nothing too memorable here.  It was certainly a comforting dish, though most anything saucey over rice gives me warm fuzzies inside.

Yum Near painted hills beef, fresh spring mix, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, shallots, kaffir lime leaf, mint leaves, roasted rice, fresh chili

If I have a say in the ordering at a restaurant (which I usually do), I will always throw in veggies.  I love my veggies.  I especially love my Thai salads.  It’s hard to mess this dish up.

Tom Yum Shrimp lemongrass soup, shrimp, galangal root, kaffir lime leafs, oyster mushrooms, shallots, tomatoes, cilantro, evaporated milk

Tom yum soup is another favorite Thai dish, but I did not like the addition of evaporated milk in this version.  It kind of lended a grainy aftertaste in my mouth.  The lemongrassy and kaffir lime flavors were spot on though.

Hooker Shrimp shrimp, curry powder, chinese celery, bell peppers, eggs, evaporated milk

Yelpers were all about the hooker shrimp, which was a unique dish for my palate.  I can’t say I loved it though.  I’m not a huge fan of Chinese celery.  The mixture of eggs, curry powder, and evaporated milk made more of a grainy clumpy eggy sauce.  Not my favorite dish.

Mango Sticky Rice

No Thai meal is complete without some mango sticky rice.

Fried Bananas coconut ice cream

I actually quite enjoyed the bananas and coconut flavors going on here, which typically are foods I try to avoid.  I guess anything battered and fried goes down pretty easy though.

The food at Khao San was good, but it wasn’t amazing.  Decidedly Undecided called it a “throw away” meal, meaning it wasn’t really special enough to include in my food focused Portland visit.  I agreed, but didn’t walk away feeling disgruntled like I had just wasted precious stomach real estate.  Is there any worser feeling for a foodie?  Maybe we would have been happier being able to dine in this tuk tuk at the restaurant.
Sadly, I was told the tuk tuk was already reserved.  Probably BS, because nobody set foot in that thing the whole time we were there.  Anyways, if you’re in the Pearl, Khao San ain’t bad but if you want better Thai food in Portland, you’re better off heading east across the Willamette River.

10 – You NEED to eat here  
9 – Awesome! 
8 – Very good
7 – Good 
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here

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