As fancy as some try to make pad thai, at its core it is still Thai street food. In that motherland, a plate of noodle deliciousness* costs about $1 USD. And therefore, no matter how much I am craving it/ethnic food as I am sequestered in Switzerland … I refuse, REFUSE to pay 34 CHF ($36 USD!!!!!) for a plate of pad thai!!!

I knew cost of living (specifically food) is significantly higher than America – even compared to NYC. An entree at most restaurants is around 30 Swiss Francs. However, I assumed Asian restaurants would be cheaper (like how it is in the US). I assumed wrong.

The other night I solo-dined in Basel (which I’m used to doing in the US, but it’s quite uncommon over here and I know I was making others feel weird). I heard there were a few decent Thai restaurants so I found a place online with respectable reviews – Thai Family Suds Ard. It was even in a kind of sketchy area of town (as sketchy as Basel/Switzerland can get I guess, which is not), and I thought that was an omen the food would be good. I thought wrong.

Well, to be fair, the egg roll appetizer was surprisingly tasty! Good amount of meat filling and flavorful. They reminded me of Mama N’s infamous ones (and then I remembered she started her “cooking career” at a Vietnamese restaurant in Switzerland during college). A criticism was that the wrapper was quite thick/over-fried in some areas. (At home, Mama N always used the red and yellow brand Wei Chuan spring roll shells to get her perfectly crisp rolls.)

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The rolls came with an artistic, though mediocre, side salad. Btw, over here people like to add corn in their salads. I see it all the time.

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Even though I REALLY wanted pad thai, I just could not bring myself to order a $30+ plate. So I settled on a house special curry with rice that was also $30+. It was forgettable.

What was clever though was how entrees were served – on top of a tea candle so that food stayed really hot!

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Still not worth $30+.

The worst part of the meal though was the “Thai iced tea.” I made a rookie traveler mistake by assuming a common phrase in one country meant the same in another, and I did not clarify what this restaurant’s version of “Thai iced tea” was. I expected Thai tea with condensed/evaporated milk. I received tea over ice.

Just my horrible luck too … that evening the restaurant had “special” tea that the waitress was excited to serve me.

It was vanilla-flavored iced tea. YUCK!

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Oh well. Another dining adventure under my belt, albeit a failed one. Though maybe I’ll go back just for those egg rolls!

Until next time,

Emmelle

Thai Family Suds Ard – Drahtzugstrasse 32, 4057 Basel, Switzerland; Tel : 041 – (0)61 681 40 45

* Some people argue that pad thai is trite – like ordering a PB&J at an American restaurant – but I like it and it is often how I judge the quality of a Thai restaurant. Generally, if they can’t get the pad thai right, my faith in their ability to get more complex dishes right dwindles.

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