Bob Likes Thai Food

by KimHo on February 28, 2011 · 9 comments under: British Columbia,Food,Restaurant



Bob Likes Thai Food
3755 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
Bob Likes Thai Food on Urbanspoon

We have had discussions about authenticity for a long time. How important is it? Does it matter if it is authentic is people enjoy the resulting dish? Over the last couple of years, my perception has changed: If people is enjoying it, I think that some leeway can be given. But, at times, when the modified version is a hacked job that you simply can’t help but shake your head. Such is case with Thai food, specifically Pad Thai. For the longest, we have “complained” a lot of restaurants serving Thai food making that dish using catsup rather than tamarind sauce; but, would people “know” any better? In fact, what if a restaurant make it the original version. Would people accept it for what it is? With that in mind, I kept hearing about Bob Likes Thai Food and that meant I should drop by one of these days…

Thai, Vancouver, Main, Street, Fairview, noodle, pad thai, pad, see, ew, tofu, noodle, chicken, pork, shrimp, bean, sprout, peanut, wonton, salad, satay, peantu, sauce, fish, sauce, tamarind, catsup, ketchup

Yes, you have to wonder where that name comes from. I myself didn’t inquire but, regardless of its origin, if I were to ask myself “do I like Thai food?”, the answer would be, for the most part, yes! Of course, I have made only dent on some stereotypical ones, from their pad see ew or pad thai to curries and so on so that “yes” might not necessarily be 100% true… But, in the end, and as usual, it is me falling back to what I ordered in this visit rather than generalizing to everything in their ethnic culture.

Arriving at Bob’s, I had some odd feeling about it’s location. For one, given the buzz, I was expecting this restaurant to be closer to the “usual suspects” area (Downtown, Gastown, Yaletown, Kits) but this is located instead in Main Street, near King Edward Ave. But, not only that, I have been to this place before. As in way back before it was Bob Likes Thai Food. Instead, I visited this locale when it was City Temple of Shanghai! When I arrived – around lunchtime on a weekday – I found it odd it was almost empty. Again, given it’s location, should I be surprised? Again, if it was closer to “the usual suspect” places…

Thai, Vancouver, Main, Street, Fairview, noodle, pad thai, pad, see, ew, tofu, noodle, chicken, pork, shrimp, bean, sprout, peanut, wonton, salad, satay, peantu, sauce, fish, sauce, tamarind, catsup, ketchup

Moving to the food, despite I was by myself, I started off with an appetizer. Here, their satay, off their “regular” menu. For $4.5, you get two chicken skewers with their peanut sauce. In the grander perspective of things, this can’t be considered a cheap appetizer but, at the end of the day, the major question would be: is it good? And in this case, it was sort of middle of the road. First, I would have preferred dark meat. There was a visible char and good coconut hint behind it. The peanut sauce was a bit of a mixed blessing. It added some different type of nuttiness compared to the coconut; however, at the same time, I thought it was a bit too sweet. In the end, I am not sure if I were to order it again…

Thai, Vancouver, Main, Street, Fairview, noodle, pad thai, pad, see, ew, tofu, noodle, chicken, pork, shrimp, bean, sprout, peanut, wonton, salad, satay, peantu, sauce, fish, sauce, tamarind, catsup, ketchup

Given all the “noise” about Pad Thai, it was destined I would order that dish, right? So, here it is from their lunch menu ($7.50 from their lunch menu). At first, I thought it would be carbs only; however, they added some side salad as well as fried wonton skin. This last one was a bit of an oddity but I will take it for what it is. The only “bad’ part was that it was a bit too oily. Then again, given I wasn’t expecting it…

Thai, Vancouver, Main, Street, Fairview, noodle, pad thai, pad, see, ew, tofu, noodle, chicken, pork, shrimp, bean, sprout, peanut, wonton, salad, satay, peantu, sauce, fish, sauce, tamarind, catsup, ketchup

As for the Pad Thai itself… Starting off with the consistency of the noodles, it came out drier to others, which I thought was a good starting point. I did feel a light pungent taste; just wasn’t sure if it was due to the tamarind or fish sauce or other ingredient(s). And, based on the picture, everything was there: tofu was there, shrimp was there, peanuts were there and so on. However, for some odd reason, something didn’t work. It was as if the ingredients didn’t “meld” together. Was it better than the catsup-y Pad Thai? Yup, from that perspective it was; just that it felt slightly short.

Then again, it begs the major question… Short (or better) compared to what? Given the yardstick is a bit of a blur (Khunnai Chang and Thai Basil, for instance), the answer will be extremely relative to my personal tastes. As for Bob, I feel it is a place I would do a revisit, not to mention I saw several dishes from their regular menu I would like to give try. And, if I were in the area around lunch time, I actually won’t mind, considering price seemed right (for lunch dishes).



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elaine February 28, 2011 at 2:25 am

I was always curious about this place…just cuz of the name hahaha…

2 Shoshana February 28, 2011 at 4:43 am

Hehe this place looks fun – I’ll have to try it while in Vancouver:)

3 KimHo February 28, 2011 at 7:39 am

Elaine, so… If there a restaurant called Honey Toast or something on those lines, you would be customer number one? ;)

Shoshana, welcome! Please, give it a try and let us know what you think!

4 Winnie February 28, 2011 at 9:16 am

I thought I was the ONLY one in this world who thinks Bob is just OK. As you said, it’s a personal preference and I prefer Maenam’s and even Talay Thai’s over Bob’s Pad Thai. I need to try Khunnai Chang and Thai Basil soon for theirs!

5 KimHo February 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Winnie, taste buds are subjective so, as long as you are honest and explain why you like/dislike a place, there is no wrong. ;) Having said that in no hurry to go to Maenam but I need “volunteers” to go to Talay Thai!

6 Winnie March 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

Talay Thai has lunch specials so it’s a good way to try it at lower price. Food is on the greasy side thought. So be prepared. :P

7 KimHo March 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

Winnie, alas, Talay Thai is not location friendly for people working in Downtown… ^_^;;; I guess I will have to find an “excuse” to go all the way down in Granville! Greasy food? I am just going to say fat tastes good! :D

8 fmed March 6, 2011 at 10:51 am

BLT is good, but has consistency issues. If you engage Tai (the owner) in a bit if conversation, you will get dishes that are closer to the way they serve them in Thailand. Just ask him next time to do it Thai-style and he will ask the cook to add more fish sauce and heat. Also ask for more fish sauce and limes on the side. Maenan’s pad thai may be better, but it is also twice the price. I have to say I do like the texture of Maenam’s noodles (they specially import the stuff from California).

Back to BLT. If he has it on the menu, order the Northern Thai sausages. Very good.

9 KimHo March 6, 2011 at 11:19 am

fmed, they could easily do as in some restaurants, i.e., add a note you can ask for more or less of an ingredient and what not. This should be specially true considering what Alexandra Gill wrote about them in the Globe and Mail.

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