It only took me a few meals in Thailand to realize that anyone who’d ever served me Thai food in Atlanta had lied to me. No harm was meant, I’m sure, but how can you take a cuisine with such a sophisticated layering of flavors and intentionally cloud it into a vague shadow of itself? Worse yet, how can you ignore such a wide swath of said cuisine, adorn the menu with “crab rangoons” (whatever the hell that is) and greasy egg rolls and call yourself an “authentic” Thai restaurant?
Before we move on, let’s revisit that first paragraph for the sake of some of my newer readers. First, replace all the occurences of “Thai” or “Thailand” with virtually any other ethnicity and you’ve pretty much got my take on the “Americanized” version of that cuisine. Second… Yes, I’ve used the word “authentic”. Prior rants on this word still hold. Just understand, there is something to be said for being “authentic”. Authentic in this sense isn’t nescessarily about holding strictly to techniques or rejecting interpretation, it’s about being true to the intent of the food.
I’m known for being notoriously bitchy about Thai food in Atlanta and pretty much everyone I know thinks twice about suggesting “Thai” food for dinner. If you read through this blog, there’s only 4 or 5 references to Thai food, and more than half of them are my own cooking. I’m not an expert or anything, but once you’ve had the real thing – not much else can satisfy that craving.
For various reasons I finally got off my butt and made my way to Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft (in Buckhead). Tuk Tuk has been around for about 3 years, and even though I’ve been curious (their web site promises “street food”), I’ve been skittish. Now I feel a little stupid (I actually went back twice in the same week).
Kai yang (grilled chicken), hoy tod (omelette with baby mussels), moo yang (grilled pork belly), neau sawan (beef jerky), mieng kum, satay kai (chicken satay), curries, noodles – the menu goes on, but it’s not so large that it’s unmanageable. The best part is that the flavors and textures are there. If you’ve been to Thailand and like the food, you’ll find memories here.
Hint: They have yaa dong (Thai herbal “whiskey”) at the bar.
Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft
1745 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309