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Monday 14 January 2013

White Elephant Thai Cuisine, Calgary, AB

Tucked away just off of Highway 1 (16th Ave) awaits an unsuspecting Thai delight. Offering traditional Thai cuisine, this family-run business receives fresh ingredients from Thailand every week. The father, owner of the restaurant, sparked up a conversation with us and we soon discover he is a pilot and flies to Thailand every week where his family owns a farm. To guarantee the freshest Thai ingredients, he uses his homegrown produce in the dishes.

Peanut Sauce Stir Fried with Mix Vegetables

- choice of chicken, beef, or pork
- seasoning
- vegetables
- special peanut sauce

We started with a stir fry with pork and mixed vegetables in a peanut sauce. Sprinkled with parsley and crispy garlic bits, this colourful arrangement of vegetables tasted as good as it looks. The peanut sauce was rather light and felt more like a vinaigrette to a salad. I am typically not one for vegetables but the next thing I know is an empty dish in front of me!
Rating: 9/10

Green Curry with Thai Eggplant

- choice of chicken, beef or pork 
- basil
- Thai eggplant
- peppers
- carrot
- green curry
- coconut milk

The word, “delicious”, does not do this curry dish justice. The appropriate amounts of vegetables and meat infused together with the curry offered a full and flavorful experience. It must be tried with coconut rice as the coconut essence really compliments the curry. You could tell preparation time was put into this dish as the vegetables were tender and absorbed all the flavour from the spices and other surrounding ingredients.

Most Thai places offer a small amount of curry but the abundance of curry was more than meets the eye. Because of its richness, only a spoonful would be sufficient for approximately half a bowl of rice. We ended up packing up the left overs which served another two meals. This dish definitely satisfied my tastebuds!

Rating: 9.5/10

Service: 8/10
The lack of staff almost made it impossible for us to order. We ended up waiting for about 10 minutes before we could flag down a server and 15 minutes before our food arrived. Granted this place appears to be operated by the immediate family however one or two more employees would have sped up the service. They were friendly and courteous nevertheless which deserves recognition.
Verdict: 8.8/10
Overlooking the wait time, most foodies like myself go back for the food. This true in my case as I have gone back three other times. Plus, when you’re with good company, you hardly notice the wait.
The restaurant is packed in a small space that it can get quite loud when there is a full house (which is almost every night). Making a reservation a couple hours in advance is highly recommended. Due to its space constraint, I would not recommend bringing a party of more than 6 as that would take up almost 1/4 of the space available.
You can tell they put pride in what they do best. Such an example would be presentation right from you sit down. Neatly folded awaits a napkin in the shape of a folded shirt. Having the owner introduce himself and tell us their ‘story’ shows compassion in their work. The arrangement of garnishes also add to the presentation of the dishes. 

If Thai cuisine is up your alley, this is one place that should definitely not be missed.

White Elephant Thai Cuisine
Address 1808 19 Street N.E, Calgary, Alberta, T2E 4Y3
Phone (403) 464-8558
Hours Lunch takeout only M, W, F 11:30am-1:30pm; Dinner Mon-Sat 5pm-9:20pm, closed Sundays
White Elephant Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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