Maenam, Vancouver
Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanks to a family friend, I discovered this authentic Thai restaurant, Maenam in Vancouver that uses quality ingredients to create their flavourful dishes. It brought me back memories of eating at Salad King and Thai Basil when I used to live in Toronto. It’s especially comforting to have hot and spicy food in the middle of a frozen winter.

But Maenam is not your casual, cheap Thai fare. Rarely do I find Thai restaurants using ‘local, sustainably harvested, organic ingredients’ as stated on their website. Their dishes are made with free-range chicken, heritage beef, and sustainable seafood. Of course, these ingredients are reflected in slightly higher prices compared to the average Thai meal.

The interior of the restaurant is modern and polished, yet still casual. I guess it would be a nice first-date sort of restaurant. They also have an interesting Thai flavour inspired drink menu which I didn’t get a chance to try on my last visit. Ice cold water was all I wanted after biting into a very hot red pepper disguised as bell pepper. I guess I should’ve known better; I mean, where did I think all the spice was coming from?

But anyways, you’ll be sure to find each plate packed with enough flavour to excite all your taste buds. When I was checking out the Chef’s bio, I was surprised to find that Chef Angus An actually had a French culinary background and worked in a few Michelin-starred restaurants before settling in Vancouver to open his own place. Of all the Thai restaurants I’ve tried, Maenam¬†definitely¬†ranks top in terms of flavour and quality of ingredients.

On the evening I dined at Maenam, we ordered the Chef’s menu ($35.50 per person) for our table of 7. Here’s what they served for 3.5 people. That works out to 2 portions of everything you see below for the whole table. I’m missing a picture of a coconut mushroom soup we had for a starter.

Steamed mussels with lemongrass and thai basil. The soup at the bottom of the bowl was absolutely delicious! If they had some bread, I would probably have soaked it clean.

Green papaya salad. One of the best I’ve had. Delicious balance of sweet, sour, and savoury. The crunch of the vegetables was also very pleasing. A great meal starter.

Green curry of heritage angus beef. Looks like a typical green curry dish however Nelson commented about the natural tenderness of the beef in the dish. This is the dish where I bit into that bell pepper-like red sliver which lit my mouth on fire for a solid 10 minutes. Dine with caution here.

8 Spice Fish. A beautifully crisp cod that’s coated in a sweet tamarind and palm sugar sauce and topped with herbs and spices. This was my favourite main that evening.

Aromatic curry of free range Rossdown farms chicken. Not as spicy as it appears though still got a good kick.

Tuna salad (not on the menu) in a sweet and sour dressing.

Pad thai. Highly recommended. After reading some reviews online, I found out Maenam is apparently the only Thai restaurant in Vancouver to use fresh (instead of dried) rice noodles. They aren’t your typical noodles in chinese soup noodle dishes because they have more of a chew to them.

 

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!