Tour de Thai: Thai Thani

After recently tapping into an unrealized infatuation with the flavors of Thailand beyond Pad Thai, I have initiated a quest to uncover Austin’s best Thai spots. This Tour de Thai comes at an ideal time since Austin’s dining scene has scene a surge of new Thai and other Asian-inspired spots popping up around town.

Today’s featured stop is Thai Thani.  Owned by a mother/daughter team, Thai Thani specializes in casual Thai street food dishes such as curries and stir-fries. Located in the parking lot of a stop ‘n go on Manor Road, the lone trailer would almost be easy to overlook if not for its bright yellow exterior and swarm of neighborhood regulars waiting for their orders.

Drunken Noodles w/Beef at Thai Thani – $6.95

My newfound taste for Thai was kickstarted by yellow curry, making my choice of entrée an easy one. The yellow curry was well balanced with just the right amount of heat and sweet. Along with the traditional potato and onion, Thai Thani adds a generous portion of bell peppers and choice of protein, making it hearty enough for two servings. While the curry broth was brimming with subtle, well-developed flavors, its thin consistency more closely resembled a thin soup rather than a thick gravy or chowder, which was a bit of a let down.

Yellow Curry at Thai Thani – $6.95

Along with traditional curries, Thai Thani specializes in stir-fried dishes such as our order of drunken noodles. Allegedly, the alcohol free stir-fry received its ‘drunken’ nickname from the amount of liquid needed to cool one’s mouth after eating it. Though I generally shy away from heat, I wearily sampled the drunken noodles (in the name of research of course).  If the tears welling in my eyes and subsequent chugging of water were any indication, this dish successfully paid homage to its nickname. Fiery and bold, this sinus-clearing dish is at the other end of the spectrum from the delicate yellow curry.  While my weak palate means I will steer clear of this in the future, my spice loving friends couldn’t get enough. Beyond the Thai chili explosion of heat, the beef was tender and brown sauce full of savory flavor.

Despite the thin curry, Thai Thani’s collection of authentic, robustly flavored dishes all priced under $10 are enough to make a return trip all but inevitable.

Thai Thani. 2101 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78723. 512.574.6255. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-10pm. $. East Central/Cherrywood. Facebook.

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