Restaurant Review: Street Food Thai Market

Our review today focuses on yet another small restaurant that from the outside, looks quite unassuming. This time we are taking a look at Street Food Thai Market, a family owned and operated mashup between a restaurant and an Asian market, which is located on Cavalcade Street in the Heights. They serve a variety of options ranging from Northern Thai to Laotian cuisine, which is a relatively uncommon find around Houston, even more so with an attached market component. Read on to check out what this little restaurant and market has to offer and see if it is worth making a visit.

Experience & Ambience

Something that you are likely to notice as you approach the restaurant is the limited availability of parking. The strip center that it’s a part of exists in a rather small lot which is prone to filling up during the peak lunch or dinner hours. As you enter, you will realize where the “Thai Market” part of their name comes from. The space is divided in half with a seating area on one side and a small market on the other. The isles on the market side are mostly stocked with non-perishable goods, including common cooking and baking materials, as well as snack foods that are seldom found at the average American grocery store. The items you can find here are comparable to the snacks present at other Asian markets, which can be exciting to browse or experiment with, (you never know when you will find a new favorite) especially if you’re already there to eat! Their Heights location also makes it more accessible than some of the larger Asian markets that tend to be further out.

Moving on to the restaurant side, as you stand at the entryway one of the staff members will greet you and show you to a table, although more often than not, you are welcome to grab a menu from the oddly placed wooden boat and take your pick of open tables. The interior decoration is rather unimpressive. The tables are honestly somewhat of an eyesore that would be difficult to match with anything aside from the simple wooden chairs that accompany them. There are very few additional decorations incorporated into the interior save for a few trinkets and a large wooden boat that feel more out of place than anything else. A TV hangs in the corner for a mild form of entertainment, but it is clear that not a lot of effort was put into creating an interesting ambience. What you see around the room is almost all purely functional. Once you’ve picked up a menu and chosen a table, a waiter will come by asking for your order. Your food will be brought to your table, after which you may pay at the counter by the front as you leave.

Prices & Rating

The pricing at this restaurant is relatively affordable, considering that the portion sizes are fairly substantial. You can expect to pay around $15 per person for a meal, although lighter eaters will likely find that their leftovers are enough for a second down the line. While there are certain aspects that make this establishment inconvenient, the quality of the food allows them to recover many of the points lost through the other aspects of the restaurant. They have quite the expansive menu, meaning that you could visit 20+ times and still not have tried everything they have to offer. Not every dish is the average American’s cup of tea with some of the more traditional options falling well outside the flavor profile of our common cuisine. That being said, each dish that I have tried so far has been extraordinarily flavorful with well balanced spices and sauces. Items from the “All Time Favorites” and “Street” sections of the menu, I have found particularly enjoyable. For all the spice lovers, this is a place that doesn’t fear turning up the heat. When you choose a higher spice level, you can expect it to pack a punch without ruining the overall flavor profile of the dish. While the lackluster décor and inconvenient amount of space prevent it from receiving a total recommendation, the food stands out enough in terms of quantity, affordability, and taste that my opinion of the restaurant is still positive overall.

What To Order?

Stir Fried Dishes:
You can’t go wrong with one of their classic stir fries like the Pad See Ew (pictured above) which consists of large, flat stir fried rice noodles in a sweet soy sauce with Chinese broccoli, egg, and your choice of protein (The beef is always a good choice). The Pad Thai is another great option which includes their thinner rice noodles in a tamarind sauce with green onions, bean sprouts, egg, and a protein.

Coconut curries are dishes that are commonly found, but each location tends to make them a bit differently. There are a variety of options on the menu including classic combinations like their Yellow Curry with onions, potatoes, and carrots, or their Red Curry which uses bamboo shoots, bell pepper, basil, and eggplant. More specialized curries are also available such as the Massaman Curry which is somewhat in between a red and yellow curry, consisting of potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and peanuts or the crowd favorite, Khao Soi Gai (pictured above) which features northern style Thai noodles in a yellow curry broth, a curried chicken drumstick, mustard greens, red onions, and fried shallots.

Northeastern Thai & Laos Style Cuisine:
In addition to the previously listed dishes that tend to hold the spotlight for their American customers, they also offer a large selection of authentic, regional dishes that you won’t find around nearly as often. This includes a variety of dishes served with Papaya Salad. Additionally you can find Thai style grilled meats served with chili dipping sauce such as the Kor Moo Yang (Grilled pork) or the Suea Rong Hai (Grilled beef). You may even be inclined to try the Nok Tod Kratiem Prik Thai, which is their fried quail with sticky rice.

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