It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a Thai restaurant, the last being my visit to Boualouang over a year ago. So when Jessica mentioned that we should go eat Thai at Numchok Wilai on 124 St, I was pretty excited for our dinner date! I blame Joe for his “peanut allergy” and my fear that even a little could kill him, even though in reality it’s just a sensitivity. I’m just making excuses really… I don’t know why I haven’t been to a Thai restaurant in so long.
I didn’t dwell too much on interior this time, it was more about the company and the massive amounts of food I was about to eat. But the restaurant was pretty filled when we ate on a Thursday night. By the time we ended dinner, the restaurant had completely cleared which left me with this photo.
My boss mentioned that he loved Whyte Ave’s King & I spring rolls and wondered how Numchok Wilai compared. I had never been to either, so I couldn’t really do so but I convinced Jessica to try it with me. I use the word “convinced” because I think it’s rare that Asians (which the both of us are) do not order spring rolls when we go out to eat. I was raised to order things on the menu that my mother could not make better in her kitchen. Fair enough rationale, no? We ordered the pork spring rolls though just for funsies. I liked them! They were mostly filled with vegetables but hints of pork were there. Fried correctly to develop a crispy exterior without being greasy or soggy over a short time period. Wrapped loosely so that the density of the rolls were just right. Were they better than my mom’s? Heck no. Did I tell my boss that? Yes, of course. But an excellent dish to order if that’s what you’re in the mood for and the sweet dipping sauce was a refreshing take on the traditional Vietnamese fish sauce in my household.
The benefit of dining with Jessica is that her eyes are a billion times larger than her stomach. As a second appetizer, we ordered the Som Tum Mango, a Thai style spicy mango salad with shrimp. Funny that I’m afraid of Joe dying, but not so much Jessica… who actually has a true allergy to peanuts. She’s a pharmacist, she can deal! The dish did call for ground peanut, which I can only assume they replaced with cashew nuts like the mango salad, a different item on the menu. What we actually got seemed to better describe that dish, so I’m not even sure if we actually received the Som Tum Mango. The salad had a nice heat to it, cooled nicely with mint leaves and the sweetness of the mango. Shrimps were cooked perfectly making the dish a stellar choice.
Much like how every cuisine has a signature dish, the pad thai clearly comes to mind the Thai food. The rice noodles at Numchok Wilai are thinner width wise than Boualouang, which I liked preferred to the wider variety. We chose the house tamarind sauce rather than a tomato sauce, a more traditional route. Not even sure how a tomato based sauce came into play. The sauce was not overly sweet and not overly thick which I find can sometimes ruin a pad thai really quickly. Combined with egg, shrimp, chicken, beansprouts, and green onions, I loved it!
The green curry chicken came out with its own tea candle heat source, a cute presentation. Creamy, spicy (!), and loaded with bamboo shoots which covered tender chicken pieces underneath. We had ordered it moderately spicy, can’t even imagine how the highest spice would fare. It’s nice that they let you choose that option for all spicy dishes! Loved the mixture of coconut curry and thai basil!
Lastly, dessert! Four dishes later and we were still holding on. We decided to try a dish called “Kow Neaw Sung Kaya”, a coconut black sticky rice topped with a Thai style baked custard. The custard is more of a bread pudding texture, sweet and slightly sticky. The black sticky rice was also sweetened but surprisingly the overall dish wasn’t overwhelming. Perfect way to end the meal!
The meal left both of us satisfied and full! For a fraction of what a fancier meal would cost us but for the same amount of happiness. Wiiiiiin. Absolutely loved our meal at Numchok Wilai and would definitely come back. There’s parking in the back of the restaurant, as well as street parking if you can find it! It made Avenue Edmonton’s Best Restaurant 2014 as honorable mention in “Best Thai”. I’d have to go to Bua Thai again to compare, as it’s been over a year and a half since I’ve been there. With restaurants like these in town, my standard “sushi or…” can now be “sushi, Thai, or…” Where’s the best Thai restaurant you’ve been to?Numchok Wilai
10623 – 124 St