Sunday, May 22, 2011

Felines of Tel Aviv – Tasty Green Curry at the Thai House

The Thai House – Bograshov 8

Welcome to Tel Aviv – the city that never sleeps! and not only from incessant partying but also from stray cats interrupting night time sleep with catty mating howls and screams. Yes Tel Aviv has a catademic! Everywhere one looks stray cats are jumping on and off walls, rummaging through garbage or sleeping on my car.

White cats, brown cats, black cats, mixed coloured cats, I am not kidding there are so many stray cats roaming the streets, especially at night. In our little building courtyard there are must be at least 10. They are not vicious or threatening they are just there trying to scrounge an existence and ever multiplying. However instead of trying to find a solution there are stray cat lovers which dot the city and leave copious amount of cat food lying around – how is this going to help? I haven’t seen them in person but imagine them to be Simpsons ‘cat crazy person’ like. Even so, it is odd behaviour as if anything, the stray cat population needs to be controlled and not encouraged.

At least with thousands of stray cats there are no mice and if I was given a choice I would choose a thousand cats over a thousand mice.

Cats aside , Israel is a real dog loving country, and was surprised to discover the cat malady in Tel Aviv as the city is filled with pet dogs, lovingly fouling the streets with little poo mines – at least cats are more contentious in their fouling habits. Yet dogs are too well kept and adored in Tel Aviv and why should they run after or care about feline riff raff. More so, dogs are so loved in Israel that god forbid you not like the animal. It’s as if dogs symbolize the children to come among young people and couples, and if you don’t like them, do not mention it or you will be considered an odd and unwanted character. Obviously I love dogs!?

To recap, the universal hatred between these animals skipped these shores but maybe it is also a sign of hope for the human animals that are fighting over this land, that one day we might reach coexistence that thrives among our feline and canine friends.

Now if only the cats would develop a liking for cockroaches we would really be on to a winner…

The Thai House

I promise you it is not because of dogs that I and recommending The Thai House on Bograshov Street (actually more of a Vietnamese delicacy). Rather as a bastion of tasty Thai food.

I need to admit that I am not the biggest fan of Thailand (I find Malaysia more interesting) – Do I hear shock and horror among Israeli readers? Yes it is probably the most loved beach location to visit for Israeli’s but I have never understood why you would fly for 12 hours to visit a beach to be surrounded by hundreds of fellow countrymen? This is not unique to Israel as Europeans also flock to sunny Spanish beaches filled with their fellow country folk enjoying bacon, egg and chips.

But I digress as I do enjoy Thai style food and particularly broths and curries which have coconut milk among its ingredients. Unfortunately I have always been unlucky in finding good (or at least to my palate) Thai food, even in the UK. So was happy to discover this place, which is not fancy but where the Thai food agrees with me. 

The place itself is somewhat decorated to resemble a Thai building? With the restaurant divided into two sections with plenty of wooden tables and partitioned by the entrance and the bar. I usually go for the same dish of Green Curry but sometimes add a starter or special which are listed on the menu.

In the past I have tried the Papaya salad which is tasty if spicy. But it is the Green curry which I truly enjoy as the balance of flavours (complex in Thai cooking) tastes correctly with the right amount of spice and fish sauce. On the menus they classify these dishes as hot I tend to find them spicy but not overly so. All this I drink down with a beer, usually local, though they do serve Thai varieties (which are a little expensive).

Other dishes I have eaten include chicken with ginger which while not overly complex tasted fresh with the vegetables maintaining a slight crunch to them. They also serve several fish dishes in tamarind and other glazes and sauces. They are fine but tend to cost more.

Desserts I have yet to eat there, but call me ignorant as I have always been scared or disappointed when served dessert at Asian Restaurants.

Take note that this is a general Thai restaurant so does serve pork dishes – I mention general as there also exists a sizable Muslim community in Thailand which specialise in halal Thai food. I wonder if that concept (or Malaysian) would work in Israel among the kosher eating brigade?

Overall, this is a restaurant I am happy to come back to and just order chicken curry and rice. The prices are slightly high (66nis for Green Curry) but as there is a lack of quality Asian eating restaurant in Tel Aviv (particularly these horribly tasting Asian chains like Japanika) it is certainly worth a visit when one is craving Thai food.

4 stars out of 5


The Disgruntled Diner

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