*Photos provided by Tim Roth. You should hire him because he’s really good.
Location: SW 4th and Hall [Updated 3/2010]
Description: Eating good Thai food can be a revelation. Julia Child once said she never really knew good French food until she went to France. Thailand is my France. My initial visit to the “Land of Smiles” was in the early 1990s and I fell in love with both the country and the cuisine. Sure, I had my fill of perfectly fine Phad Thai noodles, coconut milk based soups, and green curries stateside before that. But it was my first meal at a simple outside street cart in the notoriously seedy Pat-Pong area of Bangkok that I finally “got it.” It was simple food, but prepared so incredibly well that I realized what I had been eating back in the States was but a pale comparison of the real thing.
This is what separates great Thai food from the merely ok stuff – Hot, Sweet, Salty, Sour and an underlying “Umami” to bring it all together in harmony. Food perfectly balanced with the right combination of fresh herbs and exotic spices; sauces that don’t overpower or drown what’s in them; noodles and fresh vegetables cooked to just the right bite; and food made by people who have a light touch and have perfected their own special dishes. It’s an art form really.
Eating food in Thailand has ruined me forever. I just can’t get too excited about most Thai food in Portland with the tendency towards candy sweet curries and oil heavy overcooked noodle dishes. That’s not to say Portland doesn’t have some terrific Thai restaurants, we do. It simply seems to be a case that there are more of the mediocre ones that ones I am impressed with. This is especially true at many of Portland’s Thai carts. Several seem to have only four elements available: Fatty, Salty, Chili Hot, and Starchy. It’s a pity really to be served such slop, no matter how cheap it is.
So when I was given a tip by my friend Food Dude about Poompui, a new Thai cart on NW 8th and Couch, I was skeptical.
Then I tried it. Wow. Just wow. Poompui makes food like you get in Thailand. It’s not that they are offering any out of the ordinary menu items or serving obscure regional Thai specialties. It’s just that the food at Poompui is somehow better. It’s brighter and fresher and lighter. I don’t know how or where the young Bangkok born and raised owner and his team learned how to cook, but whatever the reasons, they are doing Thai food right.
Appetizers – $3.00.
#1 Choice of Salad Rolls (vegetarian)
#2 Popia Tod (vegetarian fried spring rolls)
#3 Fried Wonton (stuffed with marinated pork, and seasonings)
Soups – $3.00
#4 Tom Yum (Thai hot and sour soup)
#5 Tom Kah (Thai coconut milk soup)
Noodles – $5.00
#6 Phad Thai
#7 Kua Gai (wide rice noodles with egg, green onion, bean sprouts, wonton stips, lime)
#8 Pad Kee Mao (wide rice noodles with egg, vegetables, basil and seasonings)
Fried Rice – $5.00
#9 Pineapple Fried Rice
#10 Tom Yum Fried Rice (carrot, mushroom, egg, dry chili, peanut, cucumber, onion, green onion, cilantro)
#11 Curry Fried Rice
Stir Fries – $5.00
(served with rice. Choice of beef, pork, ground chicken or tofu)
#12 Pad Pug (stir fried veggies)
#13 Pad Gaprao (basil, vegetables)
#14 Pad Cashew (with vegetables)
#15 Stir Fried Eggplant
Curries – $5.00
(served with rice. Choice of beef, pork ground chicken or tofu)
#16 Praram Curry (red peanut curry with vegetables)
#17 Green Curry
#18 Yellow Curry
Beverages $1.00 – $1.50
Thai Iced Tea, Thai Iced Coffee
Roasted Coconut Juice
Hours: Mon-Fri 11AM -5PM
Phone: Call in advance or text in order!