The Best Thing I Ate This Week: Thai Arroy Green Curry
Spicy food always ranks high on my list—other than desserts—when it comes to settling my appetite. For some reason my husband never craves Thai like I do, so we often come to an agreement on Indian food, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Luckily, my good friend is in town for the summer, and who better of an expert to bring along than someone who’s lived in Thailand for several years? Thai Arroy sits at the end of a small shopping center sharing the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, a dry cleaners and a laundromat. Located at the corner of North Birdneck and Laskin Road, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away if you prefer a detour from the lunch crowd surrounding the Hilltop Shopping Center.
We kicked off our meals with a little something sweet called cha-yen, or Thai iced tea with milk. Thai iced tea is that beverage you never knew you missed so much until you ordered one, then you swear you will treat yourself to it more often. Most likely that doesn’t happen, but you really wish you would hold yourself to that seemingly silly commitment. That’s how my relationship with Thai tea remains. It’s a potent black tea with a distinct smoky flavor that doesn’t quite taste like anything else. It’s utterly sweet, marked by a deep, burnt orange color with milk swirling throughout.
We took full advantage of their lunch special which included an entrée, a choice of soup (Tom Kha or Tom Yum) or a green salad. Yearning for spice, my eyes bolted for the curry list. There was red, green, yellow, dry curry and Mussa Mun curry, but on this particular sunny-rainy-eternally-confused-Virginia-Beach-weather kind of day, I was called to the green curry, or Gang Kheow Whan.
The green salad arrived with a tamarind dressing instead of the traditional peanut to kindly accommodate my allergy. It was light and refreshing, preparing my palate for a spicy match to be lit.
A mound of sticky rice and a carrot carved to resemble a delicate flower accompanied the bowl presenting the green curry. The consistency was creamy, pale green and piping hot. My Gang Kheow Whan held a heat that escalated slyly, steadily. Seconds before I was about to ask for something to amp up the heat, I was convinced by its polite spiciness. I’m so relieved I didn’t ask for more. It was the quintessential amount of spice, the kind where a spoonful of sticky rice and veggies can keep the heat at bay. The coconut milk base balanced the green curry heat while the peas, eggplant, carrots, bamboo shoots, baby corn and green beans acted as little compartments for the curry to evenly disperse. I admit I swatted away some tears, maybe dabbed at my runny nose, but it was all worth it. It’s also safe to say my gal pal felt right at home with her red curry noodle dish.
The owner told us about his other location in Baltimore, Maryland. He said since it doesn’t do too well during the summer, he figured he could make a location here at the beach where he can enjoy both the ocean and the booming business during tourist season. Nice way to have your Thai, and eat it too.
Visit their Facebook Page for location, hours and other mouthwatering entrées.