Tawan’s Thai Food
4403 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118
Most people would agree that the best restaurants they’ve been to are family-owned. If given the choice, who wouldn’t want a home-cooked feast? In my endless search for awesome Asian cuisine in the city, a craving for Thai food really got me digging. I wanted to find somewhere quaint and simple. Nothing too fancy or hip. I eventually found exactly what I was looking for. Hidden on a small strip of shops and cafes in the Inner Richmond is Tawan’s Thai Food. This place is a gem! A very cozy, teenie weenie gem.
If you’re driving too fast you will definitely miss it. Located on Geary Boulevard, under a 10-foot wide kiwi-green banner, sits Tawan’s Thai Food which serves up a variety of traditional and unique Thai dishes. The first thing I noticed was how small this place is! Even though it fits around 6 tables, it’s far from being cramped. The playful décor of mustard yellow walls and adorable handwritten signs makes this place more than welcoming. They’ve also got numerous sections of yellow wall adorned with hand-made jewelry and knick-knacks for sale. Almost everything in this restaurant is fun to look at, beginning with the menu! Since the restaurant is named after the owners’ son, it would be appropriate that the menu be illustrated by Tawan himself. Each menu has a fun drawing on the cover and throughout it’s pages. All drawn my Tawan. Me and my friends just gawked at how cute the menus were.
After unloading a few too many questions on our friendly (and patient) waitress, we decided what we would order. We started with the goong gra-bong, or bacon wrapped shrimp which was then wrapped in an eggroll wrapper and deep fried. If you like bacon and shrimp, you will love this. There’s the perfect amount of bacon, not making it too overwhelming, and it has the perfect crunch! Definitely ordering this everytime I go from now on. It’s perfect for sharing. I also decided I would order the stuffed chicken wings, even if I had to eat them by myself. First of all, how they stuffed these chicken wings blew my mind! They removed the bone perfectly, leaving behind all of the meat and stuffed these things full! I was very pleased with this dish. The stuffing was a medley of cabbage, carrots, celery and glass noodles. The dipping sauce it was served with brought out the sweet flavors of the stuffing.
For our main dishes, me and the boyfriend split their shrimp pad thai and chicken panang curry. I asked for our curry to be hot. And boy was it hot! I absolutely loved it. If you prefer something milder, just say so and they will make it to suit your tastebuds. The amount of curry was just right and it had more than enough chicken and vegetables. As for the pad thai, I wasn’t too impressed but it was definitely satisfying. The portion was great and it comes with a good amount of crushed peanuts, bean sprouts and limes. My two other friends got a stir-fried tofu dish and their lemongrass noodle soup. These were awesome! The stir-fried tofu dish was very light and even made with fresh tofu. The tofu was accompanied by baby corn, onions and color bell pepper bites. I suggest going with this if you don’t feel like having something too heavy yet filling. I had a couple bites and sips of the lemongrass noodle soup. This was so yummy and appropriate for the cold, foggy weather that is starting to roll in. You get a huge bowl of rice noodles in a refreshing, tangy broth that will clear all of your sinuses. We were sad we were too full to finish it.
After our friendly waitress cleared our dishes, we instantly made room in our tummies for their tempting desserts. Apparently we all had our eyes on what we wanted and ended up ordering 3 different amazing desserts. I hadn’t had fresh mango in a while and decided I had to have the sticky rice and mango. Unfortunately I think I expected too much. The rice was a little too sticky, making it difficult to chew. However the mango it came with was perfect and there was more than enough. My boyfriend got the special dessert roti. You must try this! I’m going to say it was one of the best desserts I have ever had in an Asian restaurant. It was far from being bready and starchy. It was pretty much a flaky phyllo pastry with a soft chewy center, then drizzled with condensed milk. I’m still dreaming about it. My friends decided to get their deep-fried banana. This was equally as good. The only thing is that I loved the coconut ice cream it was served with more than the bananas themselves.
If you’re planning on making a trip to Tawan’s Thai Food, I’d suggest heading over for an early or late dinner since they don’t take reservations. We went in the middle of the week and didn’t have to wait a minute. Parking can be a little difficult so if you have access to MUNI, I’d stick to that. They have a pretty good selection of imported Asian brews and wines. If you have a particular wine you enjoy bring it along, they’ve got a corkage fee of $8.00. Oh! And if you come with a large party, bring cash since they only accept 2 different credit cards.