"Squid in love?! Who could resist that?", I wondered to myself, chuckling at the thought of two squids trying wrapping their arms around each other, at the same time pondering how these cephalopods kiss (do they shoot ink at each other?!). Described in the menu as "sauteed crispy squid with string bean and chili paste sauce", I did go ahead and order the dish. Tonight's Pepperheads outing was at Wondee Siam II, a nondescript restaurant in midtown West offering reasonably-priced authentic Thai food. We were there to try a few dishes recommended by David's friend, who was a native of Thailand and raved about Wondee Siam II. I had been to the restaurant on several occasions a few years ago but hadn't been adventurous in trying their spicy offerings, thus wasn't all that impressed.
Our group of 12 was split into two tables. Among the six entrees our table sampled, the chicken pad thai noodles (first picture) stood out for two reasons: the heat it packed and the hints of bacon in the flavor. In most Thai restaurants, it is prepared with a tangy, semi-sweet flavor, but tonight's version was a pleasant surprise. It was the way it caught up with you too - after chewing on some noodles, just as you're conversing with your neighbor or scooping morsels of another dish onto your plate, the burning sensation in your throat intensifies and pretty soon the roof of your mouth is crying out for a fire extinguisher. Gulping down water or beer doesn't help, a lesson we learnt all too well at Sigiri. Dairy does the trick though, so I poured the coconut milk base of the pork green curry (surprisingly un-spicy) over white rice and scarfed mounds of it to stabilize my taste buds. Another standout dish was the yum woon sen, a cellophane noodle salad with shrimp, chicken, and chili, among others, that the other table shared with us. This was even more lethal than the pad thai, and despite the smaller serving I ate it had me grabbing at any liquids on the table.
The steak of Siam (2nd picture) with sweet sauce provided a welcome contrast to the mostly spicy dishes, and it came with sticky rice inside the bamboo container. Other entrees sampled were fried whole red snapper (pla rad prig) and crispy duck (duck kra prow), both fairly standard. (At this point, it is obvious that our group had overdosed on chili sauce). Oh, and yes, despite its fancy (and very un-Thai sounding) name, the squid in love didn't prove to be anything special. Maybe it was the preparation, since I prefer squid to be either grilled and a bit on the charred side. So-so fried ice cream capped off this interesting meal at Wondee Siam II. I enjoyed most of the entrees, and am humbled yet glad to realize that with if you order the "right" dishes, Wondee Siam II is worthy of return visits.