Suwana’s Thai Orchid

AY – Located on Broadway street in downtown Asheville, Thai Orchid is a place to get authentic Thai cuisine. The menu is vast and there is a sign on the door which states that the menu has vegetarian and vegan options. Thai Orchid is a medium sized restaurant with booth and table seating. The decor is distinctly Thai, with subtle colors and textures. Scoops made the observation that the noise level was pretty high and wasn’t conducive for quiet intimate conversation. 

Not that that’s a deal-breaker in my opinion, by any stretch.  Let’s face it, a lot of the places I enjoy frequenting have noise levels with decibels somewhere between a freight train and a rock concert.  Doesn’t stop me from going, I just have to talk louder and say “what?” a lot.

But I digress.  Suwana’s Thai Orchid is indeed a vegetarian/vegan mecca, even if it’s not actually vegetarian/vegan.  Vegans, especially, will be pleasantly surprised by their options.  A word of advice though, and one that I regret having to make–don’t get the Pad Thai.  I know, I know…Pad Thai is delicious, and you can get it with tofu!  But unfortunately, hiding inside that delicious, sweet and savory sauce are a bunch of tiny little fishes.  Or maybe one big fish with the power of invisibility.

Crispy Spring Rolls

Tod Mun Jay


AY – For appetizers we had the Crispy Spring Rolls and the Tod Mun Jay (fried mixed vegetable cake in a mild curry sauce, see above), which we all shared. I enjoyed them both. The Tod Mun Jay was unique and I have never had this dish before. For the entree, I had  the Sesame Tofu – lightly fried tofu in a mild sesame sauce with brown rice. I asked for a side of sautéd vegetables to go with the dish, but the vegetables were boiled or steamed and pretty bland. Overall, I was satisfied with the Sesame Tofu, but it would have been nice if vegetables came with the dish instead of having to order them on the side.

Sesame Tofu

Pineapple Fried Rice

I had the Pineapple Fried Rice with Tofu, because I couldn’t decide between three things and the waiter suggested this one.  The Fried Rice had fried rice had pineapple (of course), fried egg, cashews, garlic, onion, tomato, raisins, and curry seasoning and was elegantly served in a half pineapple shell.  While the dish was seasoned well and was slightly spicy for certain bites (I ordered it “Medium”), I felt that it was a little too greasy for me to completely enjoy.  I’ve had Pineapple Fried Rice other places that I felt was both tastier and less oily.  I had to admit that I was sorry I hadn’t tried one of the more exotic-looking dishes that I’d never tried before rather than this one.  You don’t really expect to feel heavy and greasy after eating Thai food, so that was a bit of a bummer.  Sean was pleased with his meal,

Rad Naa Mee Grob

so I felt like maybe this was an anomaly.  Overall, we were pleased with our choices, and based on the extensive vegan menu, I’d definitely go back and try something else another time.

P.S.  That last dish was the one my husband ordered.  And yes, those are quail eggs on top.  This one was exotic and like nothing I’ve ever seen in a Thai Restaurant, and it’s just plain fun to say.

P.P.S.  And a hint:  spice-heads beware.  When they say spicy, they mean spicy.  Sean ordered his medium spicy, and they brought the following condiments to liven it up, but Sean, a pretty dedicated eater of spicy foods, found the spices almost too hot for comfort.  Don’t take that as a dare or anything…

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