Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beau Thai in Portland

In cities rife with trendy restaurants and high turnover, it is satisfying to dine at establishments that have been around for years. It is true that these types of family-run neighbourhood 'institutions' often rely upon regulars and have the tendency to rest on their culinary laurels, but these restaurants are important to a community's identity and economic foundation. I was in Portland with my mom in May of 2013 and she really wanted to go out for Thai one night. We stumbled upon Beau Thai on 21st Avenue, but before we entered I Yelped Thai restaurants in the northwest. I quickly discovered that Beau Thai failed to place in the top three. This was a bit disconcerting so we checked the menu of nearby Red Onion and another place on 23rd. They looked good, but they also looked like they were trying a bit too hard. We opted for Beau Thai, and not only was the food flavourful and light (we ordered the roasted eggplant stirfry, pad thai, and salad rolls), my mom remembered that she had eaten there five years before with my dad. She spoke to the owner, who was serving us, and expressed how much she liked the restaurant and the food. The owner was over the moon that we had come all the way from Canada to eat at her restaurant, and she described some of the challenges the restaurant has had as of late.

This was a great dining - and socio-economic - experience. As a diner, you have the ability to influence your neighbourhood with your wallet. Next time you are going out and are tempted to try that new bistro serving biodynamic spot prawn risotto with preserved lemon, or what have you, consider using your money to support a restaurant with history and cultural significance :) Red Onion may have had dishes with more complexity and obscure ingredients, but Beau Thai served solid food with a local flavour.

Keywords: "Alex Dawkins", "Portland Thai Restaurants", "Beau Thai Portland"

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