Bob Likes Thai Food: Who's Bob?
Thanks to a fellow foodie friend, I was able to pay a visit to Bob Likes Thai Food located further in the Broadway-City Hall area for a tasting. It was my first time here though I had intended to come several times previously so I was surprised to see the cozy and almost hippie/surfer vibes from this restaurant. The interior is almost as charming as the owner, Thai, himself who is clearly very passionate about Thai food and making it more accessible to the local community.
Thai explained to us how the "sharing-plates" mentality is hard to introduce to a crowd that is more accustomed to Western dining which includes individually ordering main dishes to eat separately. He emphasized how the beauty of Thai food comes with sharing small bites together and exploring the variety of flavours and textures that the cuisine is famous for. I found myself laughing when he said how he finds it unfortunate when groups of customers come in to eat multiple orders of green curry or pad thai - but I can understand since the best Thai flavours are found in the smaller sharing plates that not many people pay attention to! So to make up for that, we were blessed to be introduced to and taste a variety of flavours in the upcoming dishes.
$6 (4 bites), $9 (6 bites)
Miang Kham is interpreted as "eating many things in one bite", fitting for these bite sized snacks which originate from Northern Thailand, near the border of Myanmar. But don't be fooled by its size as the flavour is bold yet clean and refreshing. Bai cha plu (wild pepper) leaves are used to wrap a mixture of roasted coconut, lime, shallot, peanuts, ginger, fresh chili, and tamarind Palm sugar sauce (I wasn't kidding about the abundance of flavour). Apparently the large leaves are hard to purchase and difficult to store which results in frequent deliveries to maximize flavour and keep the dish authentic. Cha plu leaves are used in this dish due to their size, resilience, and peppery flavour which I can tell works well with the condiments inside. This was one of our favourite dishes of the meal and takes me back to Thailand!
BACON WRAPPED LYCHEE + PINEAPPLE
You really can't go wrong with this dish because who doesn't love anything wrapped in bacon?? The sweetness of the lychee and pineapples helped to balance out the saltiness of the meat, while the taro root chips added some crunch for extra texture. I could finish 10 of these and still want more.
This beautiful dish is basically a shrimp salad which is spicier than it looks (do you see those chili peppers). However, like most Thai dishes, spice isn't the only flavour as the shrimps and greens are tossed with lemongrass, roasted rice, limes, tomato, basil, cashew nuts, fish sauce, and palm sugar. I love the crunch that comes with every bite and the mild balance of sweet and sour. However, if you're weak to spice, watch out for the little chilis!
BOB's FISH AND CHIPS
Bob's rendition of a fish and chips is not quite what I expected - though not in a bad way. Pictured in the top right hand corner of the picture above, the fish is battered with wheat flour and mixed with another light combination of ingredients such as lemongrass, green mango, red onion, and basil. The "chips" on the other hand is where the uniqueness comes in as they are actually presented as deep fried balls/wheels of rice mixed with red curry paste, lime leaves, and black sesame seeds. This was quite interesting and tasty though I would have preferred if the dish was less...wet? The liquids from the salad mixture dampened the crispiness of the fish and made the rice a bit soggy as well - so eat quick!
Apparently, unlike many other Thai restaurants, Bob's pad thai is labouriously marinated with tamarine instead of ketchup - which though makes it less sweet, is more aromatic and traditional. This Thai classic plate of fried rice noodles comes with prawns, smoked tofu, peanuts, egg, bean sprouts, and chives. You really can't go wrong with this dish and thankfully, the team at Bob's does it well.
THAI SHAVED ICE
Cool down your meal with this refreshing shaved ice which is mixed with pink lychee sauce and topped with a mint leaf. This dessert also comes in other flavours when available, though each quite sweet and quick to melt. So eat/share it quick!
Fun fact: The shaved ice is manually cranked out through a legitimate ice shaver Thai hauled to Vancouver from Thailand a few years ago! You can see it in blue at the front of the bar.
MANGO STICKY RICE
There is nothing I love more than a good ol mango sticky rice. With mangoes in season around this time, the fruit was sweet and juicy - perfect paired with slightly warm sticky riced and a bit of coconut milk. I was actually surprised to find that the singular portion was so generous as most places have a much greater rice to mango ratio. This was so good, we shamelessly ordered another portion to satisfy our cravings.
LATE NIGHT MENU promotion
Oh did I mention Bob's also offers an amazing late night menu? Available Friday - Sunday, 10 PM to midnight, you can satisfy your Thai food cravings and unwind after a long week of work with your friends. Deals are offered on drinks, small plates, and larger mains. This promotion is only offered at the Broadway location, so head on over!
Bob Likes Thai Food is also opening up a 3rd location in Strathcona later this year, so folks in the area can rejoice.
Wait, so you must be asking "who the heck is Bob??" right. Initially we thought that Bob was the name of the owner or an homage to some Thai reference since naming a Thai restaurant with a fully English name seems quite odd (in our opinions). "Bob" is in fact a play on the idea of being "everyone", meaning that the restaurant name is actually meant to be interpreted as "everyone (or anyone) likes Thai food" - which makes sense because in English we use the names Bob and Mary to refer to the general person. Super cleaver, as it makes for an interesting name which is easy for the average non-Thai person to think of! So next time you visit Bob's (preferably to indulge in the sharing plates), know that actually, you're Bob :)
R E V I E W.
+ food quality: 8/10
+ price/affordability: 8/10
+ atmosphere: 8/10
+ overall: 8/10