After falling in love with Thai food, particularly the stuff that comes out of Wan’s kitchen at Aroy-D in Ogden, I petitioned her for a chance to observe her cooking and to see how it’s all done.
After spending about 2 hours in the kitchen, watching the preparation of a couple favorites, and discovering a few new ones, I came away loving it even more.
That’s a good sign, especially after being exposed to the nitty-gritty kitchens that turn people off sometimes.
Wan’s kitchen was clean. I learned that their location used to be a Mexican restaurant (the 4th restaurant to fail at their address, by the way) so it had a few battle scars. I’ll call it “patina.” Their walk-in fridge is located just outside the back door. You just remember that in mid-winter when the nice ladies in the back are trudging through the snow to provide you with an excellent meal. That’s dedication.
Nothing was really measured, nor did I see any list of measurements in the kitchen for other employees. Everything was eye-balled, even the cooking times. There was one point when some coconut milk was boiling away for some curry and I stupidly asked her if it was going to burn.
She looked at me and simply said, “No,” and went about her business, coming back to the curry about 2 minutes later. Watching Wan man (wo-man) the wok was fantastic.
But alas, my ignorance betrayed me once again when I complimented her on how fast she was. She said “I’m not fast, Annie’s fast.” Annie is the regular cook in the back who attends ESL classes on Saturdays.
My order of Pad Thai being created
After we couldn’t stand the heat any longer, we ordered some Pad Thai and a beef salad, Yum Neua that I watched her prep earlier in the morning.
After we happily sat down in the air-conditioned dining room, I started taking a couple pictures of the plates. A couple next to us asked if we would like to be in the picture with the food, and offered to take the photo. It was a nice gesture, but I’m pretty sure he was trying to be funny. My wife mentioned that I write and do this blog and they got curious. After striking up a conversation, we discovered they were regulars and pretty enthusiastic about food, although the woman said she didn’t like pho….yeah. They ended up suggesting the coconut soup, Tom Yum Goong and since it was only $4, we ordered one. It arrived after they left, but if you are reading this, o’ comedic mystery couple, it was delicious. Thank you so much for the recommendation.
The beef salad was perfect. The beef was still warm but the rest of the salad was chilled. This, combined with the spiciness of the fish-sauce dressing, often a wonderful, crisp, summer-heat friendly salad.
If you haven’t had the chance to experience this place, it’s well worth it. The combinations of flavors are a breath of fresh air, original and addicting.