Yesterday’s first venture into the mass of enigmatic food trucks that pop up to serve the denizens of South Lake Union came up with some pretty good results, but I also managed to blow my $10 budget on the first day. Would day 2 prove any better? Let’s find out…
- Food Truck: Kaosamai Thai Cook Truck
- Cuisine: Thai
- Website: http://www.kaosamai.com/
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Kaosamai
- Twitter: None
- Yelp: 4 stars, 15 reviews
- Location: Harrison Avenue, between Boren and Fairview
- Days: Monday and Friday (also daily at Terry Ave. between Thomas and John, and a full-service restaurant in the Fremont neighborhood)
- Payment Methods: Cash, LevelUp
- Sales Tax included in prices: Yes
- Pad Thai with Chicken ($8.00)
- Total price (with tip): $9.00
- Time to order and pay: About 5 minutes
- Time to receive food after ordering: 26 minutes
Once again, I set off a few minutes before Noon in order to try to beat the rush. Apparently I’m not doing a very good job of beating the rush, because once again there was a pretty significant line of people in front of this truck when I got there. Nonetheless, once it started moving, it moved reasonably fast, and I was able to order and pay within a few minutes. I was handed a little slip with an order number on it. I was #41. A couple of minutes after I ordered, they called #22. This is rarely a good sign if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat.
In a significant proportion of the relatively few ventures I’ve made out to the food trucks prior to starting this project, I found that it wasn’t unusual to end up waiting quite a while for your food after ordering. This isn’t too surprising; after all, when you’re working in a relatively small truck that’s going to be crowded with only three people in it, you’re going to be short-staffed almost by definition. Even so, people tend to get a bit impatient after a while, especially when they’re standing on the side of the road waiting for some sort of food to come out of a big orange truck with a tiny little hole in the side of it. It is because of some of these previous experiences with long waits that I decided that as I go through the various trucks, I will be timing how long it takes to order and pay after getting in line, and then how long it takes to receive my order after paying.
In this case, I probably didn’t need to bother with the stopwatch, because the ever-increasing crowd of people in front of the place told the story: the orders were coming in a lot faster than the food was coming out. Five minutes of waiting turned into ten, ten into twenty, with a slow trickle of orders coming out every few minutes. In the end, it took 26 minutes from the time I paid until I got my food, which is getting dangerously close to Salumi territory for epically long waits for food (I tried Salumi once when I worked over in Pioneer Square, and ended up spending 45 minutes in line, I’ve heard it’s even longer these days.) Although most of the customers in this particular part of the neighborhood are presumably going to be Amazonians without a fixed work schedule, someone with a 30-minute lunch break would be getting back to the office late before they had even taken a single bite of their food. It doesn’t matter how cool the stuff on your Smartphone happens to be, by the time you’re waiting that long, And I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if it was raining while everyone was standing out there…
That said, when the Pad Thai I ordered did finally arrive, it was quite good. The most obvious comparison that is going to be made here is with Thai Curry Simple, which happens to be directly next door to Kaosamai’s Harrison Street location, and is also one of my favorite lunch spots in the neighborhood. The Pad Thai is probably the item on the menu that I order most often there (although the Massamun Chicken and Panang Chicken are also quite good as well.) Even so, I think I’d actually have to say that I like Kaosamai’s version of Pad Thai better than Thai Curry Simple’s version, even though I consider them both to be quite good . The mix of fresh veggies and bean sprouts adds quite a bit to this, and it comes with plenty of peanuts on top (which might actually be my favorite part of the dish, oddly enough. I can’t say that I’ve tried a whole lot of different Pad Thais over the years, but this one certainly holds its own in comparison to some.
Just don’t plan on being in any hurry to get it.