Location: Library Mall
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 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.
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?!