"When the original Thais emigrated from China centuries ago, they
took with them some wonderful culinary techniques. But the Thais didn't
stop there, and over the years added to their cuisine the curries and spices
from neighboring India, coriander and cumin from the Mideast traders, and
chilies from the Portuguese, among others.
The results of this mingling can be experienced in a lovely, unassuming restaurant that moved from New York to Hoboken. Bangkok City has established a reputation among locals in a city with a large variety of ethnic fare.
We have visited this little gem...Our arrival is met with a warm, friendly welcome from the genial hostess SiSi Orlandi.
Bangkok City takes its name from the type of Thai cooking it serves which varies slightly from city to city and from urban to rural regions in Thailand. The Hoboken chef ran a restaurant in Bangkok before she came to America 18 years ago.
For those who are not familiar with this sweet-sour, hot-mild cuisine, six elements give Thai food its distinctive characteristics: Coconut, fresh coriander, chilies, garlic, fish sauce and citrus (including the almost always present lemon grass and the juice, rind and leaves of the kaffir lime).
At Bangkok City, these ingredients are used in various combinations to flavor seafood, beef, pork, duck and chicken. The chef is particularly masterful at combining fiery chilies or curries with coriander, basil or coconut milk to tame the fire but bring out the savors.
A dozen appetizers on the menu range from the very delicate Koong-gra-brog - whole shrimp wrapped in spring rolls, to the very spicy Yum-wun-sen, which consists of bean-thread noodles salad with shrimps and ground pork.
Steamed mussels in Thai herbs, crispy rice vermicelli with shrimp in Tamarind sauce, and fried breaded squid are among the other possibilities for good starters.
The famous Thai specialty - Tom-yum-koong (shrimp soup with lemon grass and chilies)-is always available here. Other soup selections, similarly priced, are chicken with coconut milk and galanger, and a vegetable soup made with a prawn-based broth.
Bangkok City seems to do some wonderful things with shrimp and among our favorites are Koong-ob-modin - steamed shrimps with bean-thread noodles and ginger and the much spicier Koong-gra-praw, which consists of sauteed shrimp with fresh basil and chilies.
Our favorite chicken dish and one we keep ordering on all of our visits is the lightly-spiced Kai-masaman, which consists of thin slices of chicken breast in a Moslem curry with peanuts. This delicious Moslem curry with peanuts also works wonders on sliced beef. More adventurous-and fiery-of the chicken dishes are those served in either a red or green curry sauce and one with basil leaves and chilies.
For milder tastes, there are beef and pork dishes with ginger, sweet and sour sauce and/or broccoli combinations, fully flavored, but with a lighter touch. Refreshing Thai beer works wonders with all of these dishes.
Strict vegetarians won't have a field day here, but a couple of dishes might do: Stir-fried bean sprouts with bean curd in a garlic sauce, or sauteed broccoli in olive oil and garlic. Sauteed rice noodles with shrimp, egg, bean sprouts and ground peanut, which we sometimes have as an appetizer, may be suitable to the less strict vegetarians.
Desserts at Bangkok City are minimal and consist of tartufo, various flavored ice creams, including one with coconut, and Thai custard, made of eggs, fresh coconut, milk and taro root. Not to worry if you prefer to pass up on dessert-a perfect evening can come to an end with the deliciously brewed coffee or tea.
Teas and coffees are also available ice cold-which is the way they are served in Thailand-and go very nicely on a warm summer day, particularly at lunchtime.
Bangkok City also serves a businessmen's lunch on weekdays. which includes a daily special, soup and salad".