E-San Thai — Food Truck & Game of Chance
Yes, Vancouver does have food trucks. We don’t have a ton of food trucks; but, we are lucky to have some really good ones. Some are stationary (E-San Thai) and we even have a food truck pod in Hazel Dell. In addition, according to the Trap Door Brewery website, they have lined up some of Vancouver’s finest food trucks to sit next to the Brewery. Most of our food trucks are mobile; but, don’t despair, in most of the world food trucks are not stationary and people manage to find them. It isn’t hard to follow your favorite food trucks — most food trucks post a weekly schedule on Facebook and/or Twitter. The following is Part 1 in a special VancouvEATER series. I will explore the food offered by these trucks and how you can find them.
E-San Thai is a stationary food truck parked in uptown village in this little parking lot next to where Trap Door Brewery will soon open. E-San Thai has a couple of restaurants in Portland and some Portland food trucks. The menu posted on the food truck may be a bit intimidating for someone not totally familiar with Thai food and the photos are not super helpful — most of the food looks the same in the photos. There are small paper menus with descriptions in a little box by the order window — I recommend grabbing one. I was curious about Mao’s Evil Noodles, the Evil Prince, the Swimming Angel. Am I ordering Thai food or watching a silent film? Despite my curiosity based on the creative menu item names, I ordered the drunken noodles ($7), a Thai iced tea (the iced coffee was $1.75), and Gang Panang ($7, panang curry sauce with coconut, green beans, bell pepper, and basil leaves).
The service is not super fast. You may not get exactly what you ordered; but, whatever they hand you out the window is likely to be very good. This is the game of chance you play when you order from E-San Thai. The women in the food truck are not there to chit chat, they aren’t even that interested in checking that they got your order right, they are focused on making amazing Thai food. So, all in all, they have put their energy in the most important task at hand. My drunken noodles (which were supposed to be spicy) were pretty mild. The gang panang curry was supposed to be mild; but, it was spicy. The Thai iced tea was a Thai iced coffee. But, I was hungry and everything smelled good so I dug in.
The drunken noodles, according to the E-San Thai website, are nicknamed Thai bolognese because this dish is comprised of noodles, tomatoes, fresh basil, generous amounts of garlic, and multiple chiles. The sauce was not as spicy as I would have liked; but, this dish delicious. The wide rice noodles were cooked to perfection — they had just the right bite to them. They came with a variety of fresh vegetables — bean sprouts, grilled green and red peppers, and bits of broccoli. I had tofu with my noodles. The tofu was spongy on the inside with a nice golden crisp exterior. The sauce was a light sauce comprised of tomatoes, garlic, chiles, and a bit of sweetness which I am guessing is tamarind. It also had a nice saltiness that tasted like soy sauce.
The gang panang curry was a spicy panang curry mixed with coconut milk resulting in a rich, creamy, spicy sauce. It was amazing. The panang curry blanketed fresh mix of green beans, basil, mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower. The vegetables were fresh and had a bit of crispness to them. This dish came with a huge container of steamed white rice that would food 3-4 people.
I also had the Thai coffee. The bitterness of the coffee was nicely toned down by the sweet and creamy sweetened condensed milk. I wanted a Thai iced tea and probably would have liked it better than the coffee. All the food was amazing. I would definitely play the E-San Thai food truck game of chance again.
Check in later this week for my visit to Esoteric BBQ.
E-San Thai is located near 2315 Main Street. They are open Monday – Saturday from 11:30 – 9:30 and Sunday from 11:30 – 8pm. For their take-out/ cart menu, visit their website — www.e-santhai.com.