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Let’s Thai One On!
President Thai – Pasadena, CA
Last Visited: August 2019 (Thai)
I don’t have a clue why I don’t eat Thai food more often. Although I love it, it seems we always find other types of restaurants to try. In the last year, however, we “discovered” President Thai in Pasadena. Of course, others discovered this restaurant long before us, because it has been in business since 1994 (I’m only 2 1/2 decades behind the curve). We absolutely love this place and have dined here often in the past year.
President Thai incorporates an array of fresh, expertly prepared vegetables in each dish, and practically every scrumptious one of them includes the option of your preferred protein … beef, chicken, shrimp, seafood or vegetables. Each item is perfectly seasoned, plus, you can set your own level of heat. As many of you know, we like it HOT!
Spicy, sour, sweet and savory, President Thai has it all! There is an extensive menu including appetizers, noodles, rice, curries, seafood, specialties and a la carte, which makes choosing just a few items a difficult task. Fortunately, we always get the same server, Paris, who is very friendly and knowledgeable about what to order.
Since we have dined here many times for both lunch and dinner, I thought it was finally time to give President Thai a shout-out. On our most recent visit we were joined by friends, Doug, Jackie, Leslie and Andy. (I love it when we have a crowd so we can sample more dishes.)
Doug and Jackie ordered the delectable Spicy Seafood Salad with mussels, shrimp, calamari, fish fillet, scallops and imitation crab tossed with a wonderful house cilantro dressing ($20.95). They thought this was a “Wow!” dish and, as you can see from the photo, there is more seafood than lettuce.
They followed that up with a red curry with tofu in coconut milk with bamboo shoots, bell pepper and basil leaves … Spice Level 3 … ($14.95).
… followed by Pad Thai with chicken with pan-fried thin rice noodles with egg, baked soybean tofu, salted radish, bean sprouts, green onions and ground peanuts ($15.95) …Spice Level 0 – come on Andy and Leslie, lets ramp that up a bit!
Tracy ordered the very delicious Cashew Delight with white meat chicken with stir-fried with dry red pepper, onions, green onions and cashews ($15.95) …
… while I thoroughly enjoyed the mouthwatering Panang with beef in a red curry sauce with coconut milk and peanut sauce (Spice Level 7!) ($14.95). The Panang was definitely a “Wow!” with that creamy, red curry peanut sauce knocking it out of the ballpark. Doug and Jackie, who do not care for overly hot dishes, were surprised that a Level 7 was not too hot for them and surmised the peanut sauce must have cut down on the spice level. We will try a Level 11 next time!! Oh wait, it only goes to 10.
My favorite soup, which I did not order on this occasion, is the Jumbo Shrimp Coconut Soup, chili paste based spicy and sour coconut soup with jumbo shrimp and fresh mushrooms ($20.95). This is served in a dish that has flames shooting out of the center. Several of the soups are served this way. I put some of those aforementioned spices in my soup, and soon I was sweating like I had run a marathon. Spectacular!!!
Below is a chicken coconut soup I want to try next time (photo from President Thai website)
I’ve also been to President Thai for lunch twice with my friend, Ed. The large list of Lunch Specials are served with steamed rice (except for the noodle dishes), fried wontons and salad … and, yes, we were seated in Paris’ section both times. I guess we’ll always have Paris.
For terrific variations in Thai cuisine, President Thai is certainly is worth the effort to visit if you’re anywhere near Pasadena. Reservations are suggested for dinner because it is always packed.
They also have a restaurant located in Rowland Heights.
As a matter of fact, I have become so enamored with President Thai that I might just change my moniker to Mai Thai Tom!
Mai Tai Tom Rating – 4.7 Mai Tais (out of 5)
498 South Rosemead Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Telephone: 626.578. 9814
Hours: Daily 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Parking: Lot & Street (Free)