The King and I has a longstanding reputation as Edmonton’s foremost outlet of traditional Thai cuisine, having served an array of personalities, from the likes of the Rolling Stones to the venerable Alec Baldwin (a.k.a. the greatest actor in the world), and they have enjoyed continual success since their inception in 1973.
On entry, we are greeted by a friendly host and a handful of smiling Buddhas; the atmosphere is cozy and not intimidating; less fancy than I expected, but still a rather classy setting. Once seated, we quickly agree on a bottle of French Gerard Bertrand Syrah ($32). Despite being very friendly, our server was unable to recommend anything dry and of medium sweetness, so we took our chances with this respectable vin de pays d’Or.
My lady friend and I decided to start with the Satay Nuea ($8), a serving of grilled, sautéed and skewered beef with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. To compliment this appetizer, we flanked it with the exotic and traditional Peek Kai Yod Sai ($8.50), which is a boneless chicken wing stuffed with silver noodles, minced cod, pork, fresh coriander, and shrimp powder. Turns out it’s not completely boneless, but it was an interesting dish. And its sweet accompanying sauce made for an enticing starter.
Just as we set our apps aside, the Galanga Cashew Chicken ($17), a blend of chicken fillets seasoned with a dark sweet tamarind sauce and accompanied with asparagus, thinly sliced ginger, crunchy cashews, and a bold chili sauce, arrived. We also ordered a bowl of steamed rice ($2) and one of coconut rice ($2.75). Though not being an item common in true Thai cuisine, the coconut rice gives the food some sweeter tones. (A word of advice, Thai cuisine is traditionally eaten with a fork and spoon, due to its roots in British colonialism; a common misconception among diners in the West is that all Asians use chopsticks all the time, so many often request chopsticks in a erroneous attempt at tradition.)
Minutes later, our second dish arrived: the Moo Moo King Man ($25), a fine dish composed of stir-fried lobster, tree mushroom and zucchini. Fresh ginger and a plentiful amount of whole almonds pulled all the flavours together. The result was tasty, but somehow, it still seemed a touch bland, and the lobster was a little too chewy.
By nine o’clock, the place had settled down, which is normal for a Monday night, but we didn’t feel any rush so we decided on a small dessert. The Flying Banana ($5.50) is a banana spring roll served with coconut ice cream and drizzled with chocolate and mango sauces. It provided a nice finish to the meal, and accompanied our wine buzz rather nicely.
The complete package, including the wine, rang in at $107. I doubt it’s the best Thai for your dollar in the city, but The King and I has big rep, and they are cashing in on it right now. Carrying a bounty of leftovers, we descended back into the night, our pockets empty and our bellies warm and satisfied. V
The King and I
8208-107 St • 433-2222