Bus: STM 100, 119, 179, 460
Visit: October 27, 2011
Food courts have always been a large part of my 28 years. From Subway, to McDonalds, and as far as Tiki Ming, they have fed me when I had no clue to what I wanted. Actually, one of the smallest regrets I had from my time at McGill was the fact that I relied too heavily on food courts, especially when I was surrounded by so much. But, being a student with limited funds didn’t always make expanding my culinary experiences so easy. So, in the last few years, I’ve been making up for lost time.
On this day, my valiant colleague and I were planning to go to Moishes for a after 9 p.m. dinner menu extravaganza. However, one cannot go without any kind of food for that long period of time. So, we had hours to kill and figured that going to Rockland for food court action was well worth the time. Now, Thai Express was his suggestion and I’m always all ears when he decides to throw down the food gauntlet.
My experience with Thai food of any kind can be equated to the number zero. Being part Chinese always made it difficult to stray away from the homeland cuisine that I’ve always grown up with and strived on. So, I was more than happy to take him up on his suggestion. After all, what did I have to lose?
Now, I know someone is going to question me on the choice we made for my first attempt at Thai food. I obviously know that there are real restaurants out there that would put this one to shame. But, you must know and be reminded that my first burgers came from fast food restaurants and food courts. As a matter of fact, one of the first memorable burgers I’ve ever had came from the food court at Plaza Cote-des-Neiges. Just because something comes from the food court section of a shopping center, it doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.
Ordering at this particular Thai Express is quite simple. You stand at the cash and make your order. Depending on what you chose, you move to one side and wait as someone cooks it up. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so hesitant about trying different food court restaurants. If I’m unsure of the ordering process or which side to line up, I go on to somewhere familiar. So, if it wasn’t for the fact that I wasn’t alone and allowed my colleague to order before me, I would never risk making a fool of myself, not knowing how to order or asking how.
Shrimp Pad Thai
This dish includes rice noodles, egg, chop suey, green onions, tofu, and shrimp topped with a sweet and sour sauce. As part of a trio, you also get a drink, as well as an Imperial Roll.
Now, in doing research afterwards on the contents of the dish, I came across some differences between what’s listed and what I got. For the sake of the post, I looked up the official website. There, I saw mentions of bean sprouts and salted radishes. There’s also no mention of the small tofu pieces that were in the actual dish. Also, it’s clear that the bean sprouts were replaced by chop suey. So, those inclusions made the dish closer to a Chinese concoction, rather than Thai, but that’s only my opinion.
Now, as you’ll see with the following pictures, the Pad Thai comes with a variety of different meats, like beef or chicken. However, I can never pass up a chance to put more shrimp in my insanely bad diet. So, I went ahead and asked for a shrimp Pad Thai. This choice was pretty good. As I noted while eating, I felt the quality of shrimp used for the dish was so much better than what you’ll get at a normal food court. The one slight complaint is the fact that I had to finish the de-shelling job on the shrimp. It was a little bit of a impediment, but not too much so.
The overall taste of the dish was satisfactory. I don’t think there was a lame duck ingredient in the bunch. The sauce that the dish was somewhat drenched in just brought all the items together.
The imperial roll is filled with vegetables that is accompanied with plum sauce.
My Asian appetizer experience is limited to egg rolls and spring rolls. If you get a well constructed egg roll, you should be satisfied. However, these days, I’m straying away from those sorts of things. The fact that he plum sauce was included with this roll made me think that the people working there were more of the Chinese persuasion.
Biting into the Imperial Roll for the first time in my life, I was reminded of my days working at Les Aliments Wong Wing and the product they put out. It also reminded me of a related version of the spring roll. You can really taste the vegetables quite well, but there is no real staying power.
Beef Pad Thai
This is pretty much the same Pad Thai I chose, but with beef. Now, my colleague swore by this combination of Pad Thai as he wolfed it down with no issues. I was also intrigued when he asked for extra beef and the staff obliged.
So, my first experience at a different food court location went off without a hitch. I wasn’t disappointed really in any way. I think I seriously found myself another option if I ever find myself looking for a quick lunch time fix.