When we were polled by A., organizer of the ongoing Thai restaurant adventures and gate keeper to Portland Food Map, as to where the next restaurant should be there was one clear winner: Boda. I was one of two that voted for another choice but, really…why fight it? Since I published my review in March, the Missus and I have been there a few more times and still have yet to have a bad experience. So, as it happened to be, last week we also celebrated our birthdays–my partner and I share the same date..creepy, I know–and a friend invited us out to celebrate and indulge in some peanut laden Thai food while his allergic girlfriend was out of town for the weekend. Again, why fight it?
Because this was our friends first trip to Boda we ordered a variety of dishes:
Miang Kum Som-oh ( 4 bite-sizes of pummelo fruit salad on betel leaves with toasted coconut, peanut, lime, ginger, shrimp, and shallots in a flavorful palm sugar dressing)
Jalapeno Pork–Think ‘popper’ with ground pork instead of cheese.
A couple of grilled shrimp and chicken skewers and then our entrees:
Beef panaeng: Braised beef in a flavorful panaeng curry paste (salty and sweet with aromas of Thai basil and lime leaves with a background taste of peanuts) and coconut cream, served with jasmine steamed rice. Panaeng curry is one of the most popular dishes in the Thai repertoire.
Fried Rice with Crab: Stir-fried jasmine rice with Jonah crab claws, Maine crab meat, onion, green onion, garlic, egg, fish sauce, and Thai bird chili. Fried rice made its debut on the streets of Thailand about 80 years ago. In Thailand, fried rice always comes with a few slices of cucumber as well as a few wedges of lime to squeeze over the rice.
From the first bite of the Pummelo fruit our friend seemed to float away in happiness. I watched his face for the same reaction I had when I had my first taste of Boda and it took only seconds. He nodded his head and smiled. And he reacted, in turn, to every dish that followed. The taro fries, coming in more of a steak cut than the past shoestring variety, were the best batch we’ve had to date. Just crunchy enough, while being more meaty than they had in the past. The pork stuffed jalapeno’s were addictive, to say the least. The pork held a nice lime bite, which coupled nicely with the kick of the pepper. I hope this special app. sold well that night, because I’d like to see this on the menu again.
Again, I found myself unable to veer from the Beef Panaeng and was just as blissed out as the previous times. If I were to lodge a complaint, and it would simply be for the sake of it, I do wish they served just a wee bit more of the curry with the dish. Make the beef swim, I’m not picky, I just want more of it.
The Fried Rice with Crab was beyond any expectation that was held at the table. The rice was perfectly done and was more than generous with the whole Jonah crab claws, which you were hitting with your fork every time you set it into the mound of rice. A chili sauce, that was served on the side, gave you the option of firing things up a bit more if you so chose to do and was definitely appreciated by our friend who ate the rice down to the last grain.
So, what can I say? Boda, in my book, is the best Thai place in town. If you go, don’t go there with preconceived notions based on Take Out Thai. Go with an empty belly and an open mind. And try a lot of different things. Order enough for left overs, trust me on this the panaeng is quite yummy cold when you’re intoxicated. But, by all means, just go.