>> Boran | Eat the World NYC

12 October 2018



Depending on the neighborhood it opens up in, often times it is natural to be quite skeptical of new Thai restaurants. Most of them unfortunately have went the way of the standard Chinese takeout on almost every block: altering cuisines for Westernized consumption. Obviously people like this and there is a large market for it, but it is not really my beat.

On a recent trip back to the wonderful Ugly Baby, possibly the city's most innovative Thai restaurant, Boran showed up on the map about a block away. A look through the photos online make it fairly clear that Boran is not just your regular neighborhood Thai joint serving this kind of take away.

Indeed, walking inside is a relief from the cookie-cutter modern designs usually used in that Thai template. The name of the restaurant is an often used adjective in Thai meaning "ancient," always used in a positive sense especially when talking about food and cooking.

Even the moo satay ($10, above and below) stands out, using decent quality chicken and a combination of very good dipping sauces rather than just a sweetened peanut. On the right is ajad, a mix of vinegar, sugar, red onions, and cucumber. This sharp dip does well in cutting the sweetness of the satay and coconut.

Yum woon sen ($12, below) is well advertised here and something they seem proud of. The glass noodle salad is a mixture of shrimp, squid, and ground pork with vegetables, and the chef is not shy about adding Thai chili.

Even better is the maeng mushroom ($12, below), another salad served cold consisting of fried mushrooms, ginger, limes, and red onion. The base liquid for both of these salads is similar, a combination of lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and plenty of Thai chili.

The Isaan Classic Set ($18, above and below) is just how it sounds, a set of Isaan Province's most famous foods, som tum, larb, gai yang (grilled chicken), and sticky rice. This is a good deal and also a great way to sample small amounts of different foods.

Khao kook gapi ($18, below), translates to "rice mixed with shrimp paste," the central ingredient in this dish. This mixture sits at the center, with a good portion of sweet roast pork on top and surrounded by Chinese sausage, egg, and many vegetables.

You do not see this type of presentation much in the states for pad thai, so it was exciting to order the pad thai boran ($15, below), which is made with a thinly cooked egg wrapper around it. This is called pad thai hor kai (hor kai means "egg wrap"), and in Thailand you will see it advertised special.

Originally this would mostly be done in a street cart specializing in the dish, but now certain restaurants will do it as well instead of the normal way of cooking the egg into the noodles. Here at Boran they give you extra peanut, herbs and veggies, and chili flakes to add to your mixture once you break it open so as to suite it to your tastes.

You can also find a lot of the sweetened standards favored by western palates here, and most likely you will hear other tables ordering them during your visit, but stick to some of these specialty foods and the "boran" dishes offered here and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Boran Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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