Monday, August 17, 2009

SIAM BAY - Authentic Thai done to perfection

Siam Bay is an inexpensive, authentic option for outstanding Thai cuisine here in Oakland. It sits unassumingly next door to the incredibly popular (and I think relatively mediocre) Le Cheval. The food at Siam Bay is exceedingly fresh, and it's owner is always on the lookout to please his customers.

They serve a really nice buffet daily. It is all you can eat, and features a variety of standard dishes, including Curry Chicken (a lovely soft yellowy curry with plenty of chicken and potato chunks), a Thai hot mussell dish, aptly titled "Siam Bay Mussells" and a fried fish in Tamarind sauce.

The buffet is kept warm on a standard cafeteria steam table, but the dishes are replenished constantly (which is necessary because the buffet is popular and items can go very quickly). But it has been my experience that when an item disappears, a fresh replacement entree is placed in its stead within minutes.

In addition to the dishes mentioned above, there is a standard salad offering, with house dressing, and a self-serve Tom Yum soup that varies greatly in flavor, but is usually quite tasty. In addition to these touches, there is always a Pad Thai and a vegetarian dish or two, along with a large serving dish of plain white rice. A dessert can also be had, which is generally a rice pudding-like dish or a banana pudding. The consistency of the rice dish is not quite as thick as a pudding, perhaps more like a really thick soup. Maybe porridge? It's traditional, and if you like that sort of thing, also tasty.
The buffet is the staple of my BH, and it was mine for the first year we ate here, except for occasional forays into their Tom Kha soups. I prefer the one with shrimp, but both Tom Kha Gai (chicken) and Tom Kha Goong (Shrimp) are excellent. If you want a Tom Kha, this is the place to order this dish. Both soups are much better here than at Champa Garden.
After almost a year of watching our PFC eat one or the other of his favorite dishes, both of which he has specially prepared for him by the owner, I decided to jump in and try them. I think one of them may not even be on the menu, or if it is now, it wasn't always. But should you like spicy Thai food, both are excellent. The first is an excellent Beef Salad. Simply delicious. The meat is moist and the spices perfection. We like it hot though, so we always have him lay it on.

Same with the Garlic Shrimp. It is essentially a platter of perfectly cooked shrimp (still moist, never overdone) and fresh broccoli, smothered in a perfectly fiery hot sauce. When I am being extra good, I skip the brown rice and just sop the sauce up with the broccoli. These dishes are both spicy and not for the faint of heart. But the owner will make them for you if you ask, and it's well worth the trip.
Bon Appetit!
Siam Bay - Authentic Thai - Old Oakland
1009 Clay St(between 10th St & 11th St) Oakland, CA 94607(510) 452-1499
Price: Inexpensive
Dining Time: easily done in an hour
Table size: adequate

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