I remember a time when Boualouang was a teeny tiny place, a textbook definition of your hole-in-the-wall place, on the corner of 107 A Ave and 97 St across from Lucky 97. With only 4 – 5 tables, a wait time of roughly an hour for dinner service, and people waiting for take outs right at the door, this was one hell of a Thai place. With Viphalay, another favorite of mine, just down 95th, Boualouang had a good competitor, but it still managed to hold the title for best pad thai in Edmonton (but not of my life, that title is held by Hong Fah Thai in Grande Prairie). Since then, it’s moved south a couple of blocks, beside the infamous Chinese restaurant Sai Woo on 105th Ave. Die hard fans have told me that it’s not the same anymore: the prices have nearly doubled (goes to say, better location and a bigger lot), portions have decreased, decor is swanky, thus giving the restaurant a less than hole-in-the-wall feel. The last time I ventured there for a pad thai was beyond recollection, so it was time that I tried the place one more time to prove to myself that the memory of the pad thai still holds true.
We were seated and served quickly. Joe, fan of all things soup, had a happy merge of tom yum soup and the rice vermicelli of Vietnamese pho. Spicy spicy spicy! I like to think that I have a slightly higher than normal palate for spicy foods, but this is to a whole new level, especially if you drink the soup! The broth was very flavorful though, reminiscent of your traditional tom yum soup with a rich undertone of coconut milk, and the noodles cooked nicely.
To add variety, I ordered the “Gaeng-Kiew-Vahn”, a green curry with coconut milk, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet basil, and Thai eggplant with your choice of meat or seafood. The sauce was delicious and went nicely with the coconut rice, an alternative to the plain rice. The beef was slightly dry and a little on the chewy side but the vegetables were at least fresh. Next time, maybe mussels will be my choice of seafood.
Last but not least, the pad thai! You can order with any meat choice, my choice being shrimp for the night. With my excitement, I completely forgot that Joe was allergic to peanuts (not deathly to oils and such, but actual nuts would be a problem) and did not mention to our server to leave the garnishes off. In my panic, I scraped off as much peanuts as I could and then took the photo. What I remembered from past visits still held true: ladies and gentlemen, Edmonton’s best pad thai! Noodles were cooked perfectly, not greasy, slightly sweet from the tamarin sauce, not overly salty. I thought the proportions were fine, although true, the prices have increased since their previous location. With Joe having only a small portion, I had enough for lunch and dinner the next day!
All in all, a good meal for relatively decent value. I would definitely return next time I’m in the mood for pad thai and with a central location in the city, you can’t beat it.Boualouang Laos and Thai Cuisine
10569 – 97 St