Tag Archives: pad thai

Luangprabang Thai Food

Attack of the Giant Spring Roll
Location: Library Mall
By: Megan Finley, Guest Streeteater

Editor’s Note: Megan is new to the Madison foodcart scene and offered to do some streeteating for us. Enjoy her post on the Thai Food Cart Luangprabang and check out her Twitter page or her witty blog for more about our amazing guest Streeteater! -Kailey

On a windy Wednesday in Madison the scents of delectable food cart goodness were wafting through the air drawing my nose and tummy toward the Library Mall.

Ok, that’s not really true. I was about a mile away and quite frankly I lack superhuman smelling abilities. But because I DO have superhuman cravings I was already daydreaming when my next meal would come and what it would be.  Though the 15-minute walk from work seemed a daunting task for my growing hunger, my ambition to find a great lunch prevailed and on this particular day I was in the mood for Pad Thai.  I found said Pad Thai at the Luangprabang food cart.

The beautifully painted Luangprabang Thai Food cart

The cart itself was intricately designed (appearing to be painted by hand) with quite the oriental look and feel and definitely gave me the authentic vibe. The menu only included a handful of entrees and a few sides, all of which were reasonably priced. A couple of the options included Squash Curry ($6.50) and Mango Salad with BBQ Chicken ($7.00), but as appetizing as they sounded, I was firm in my hunt for some great Pad Thai ($5.00).  For an additional $2.50 I had the cart owner throw in a spring roll.

I noticed upon paying that I only had a $50 bill, which thankfully wasn’t a problem and there was change for my $7.50 meal.  The line took about 5 minutes, and I waited an additional minute or so for my food after I ordered. Not too bad when you consider it was just past noon.

The spring roll surprised me a bit.  When I ordered, I pictured dainty finger food that would be a satisfying warm up to my Pad Thai. What I received could only be described as a spring roll/burrito mutant heavyweight monster. I exaggerate a lot, but I’m only being mildly sarcastic when I say I’m surprised the weight of that roll didn’t pop the wheels of the food cart. I was really hoping that mega poundage would correlate to mega tastiness. It did not. The spring roll was only fine, and I could barely make a dent in its enormity.

Giant spring roll and soggy Pad Thai

Similarly, the Pad Thai fell flat.

I have a recently formulated food cart theory about choosing foods that hold up well when stored for extended periods of time. It appears I can add rice noodles to the list of “avoid”. The noodles all mushed together in a giant heap in my Styrofoam box. Surprisingly, though the noodle mush was a let down, the flavor of the Pad Thai was unexpectedly good. I ordered it spicy per the server’s recommendation, and was even awarded a dollop of hot chili paste to satisfy my fiery palette.  And though I felt slightly deceived, I kept thinking over and over to myself, “this doesn’t taste like Pad Thai…but it is pretty good”.

Deliciousness: 2/5 plates

Price: 4/5 plates

Speed: 4/5 plates

Authenticity/Originality: 2/5 plates

Overall: 3/5 plates

Editor’s Note: We reviewed the Thai Riffic cart last year with a similar Pad Thai meal. It also received 3/5 plates as a score. Where’s the delicious foodcart Pad Thai in town?!

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Thai Riffic

Where’s My Peanut Sauce?
Location: Library Mall
By: Stephanie

I’m a big fan of Thai food. It’s usually my ethic food of choice when I order out, so I was naturally drawn to this cart. With only 4 menu options I felt a little limited, but everything on the menu was familiar so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. After wavering back and forth between Pad Thai and Curry Fried Rice, I went for the Pad Thai. I’m always a sucker for the bold peanut flavors in Thai food and I was craving just that, so I was excited to get my peanut fix. The woman in front of me ordered a bright orange iced drink–I was intrigued. She said it was Thai iced tea and that it was “really really good”, so I trusted my fellow food cart eater and decided to splurge and get that as well.

Thai Riffic food cart in Library Mall

I opened up my styrofoam carton and was happy with the amount of noodles I had–the pile was heaping! I paid $6 for my Pad Thai and $2 for my Thai iced tea and barely had to wait 2 minutes! I was impressed thus far. I got lunch with Megan (she had Surco Peruvian) so we took a sunny spot on Bascom Hill and started eating.

I have to admit, at first bite I was happy, but the more I ate the more disappointed I got. There was no peanut-y flavor like the menu had promised (and I had hoped); the noodles were kind of bland and the veggies were barely prominent in the dish. The Pad Thai also came with tofu (which I like and there was plenty of), but it hadn’t taken on any flavors in the dish so it was pretty bland as well. It was also apparent that the Pad Thai was pre-made (which was a bummer since I thought that most carts would make things like this to order) but while waiting for my food I saw a huge pile of ready-to-serve Pad Thai sitting just inside the cart.

My Pad Thai and Thai iced tea

I thought that perhaps the Thai iced tea would redeem my meal, but it didn’t. I’m always open to new flavors, but this is one I wouldn’t get again. The bright orange iced tea was extremely sweet, and even though I love sweet stuff, my iced tea tasted like a weird candy. I couldn’t drink any more after I had barely finished 1/3 of the glass so I had to throw it away. In the end, after eating for about 20 minutes and pretty much finishing my food, I felt kind of full and not satisfied. I decided to go get a smoothie to top off my meal so I could redeem myself just a little.

Since I really do enjoy Thai food, I’d give Thai Riffic another shot, but I don’t think I’d get the Pad Thai again.

Deliciousness: 2/5 plates

Price: 3/5 plates

Speed: 4/5 plates

Authenticity/Originality: 2/5 plates

OVERALL: 3/5 plates

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