By Derek Munyon
Arts & Entertainment Editor
I am not one to shy away from spicy dishes, I had once even downed a bottle of atomic sauce from Quaker Steak and Lube on a dare. However, at Salween Thai, I generally stick between five and seven on their ten-point spice scale.
Salween Thai, located at 1102 NW Radial Highway, is tucked on the tail end of a small strip mall. It’s the kind of place that’s easy to overlook when driving by. This is one of three locations. There’s a second at 6553 Ames Ave and the third in Des Moines. The food is loaded with flavor. Even though the dishes can get hot, it’s not immediate, but a slow burn.
There is always the option to opt out of the heat by choosing a lower number on Salween’s scale, with a one having nearly no heat at all. The restaurant serves Thai classics like their five types of curry, all priced at $8.95. and Pad Thai for $7.95. The drunken seafood fried rice at $8.95 is an especially excellent dish with sweet basil and loaded with shrimp and calamari. The curries are sweet with coconut milk to counterbalance whatever spice you choose. Bamboo shoots and eggplant are perfectly tender and it comes with steamed fried rice. The spring roll at just $3.95 is an excellent appetizer. These aren’t Chinese restaurant, fried spring rolls, these are the rice paper wrapped, and shrimp, noodle and herb stuffed rolls. They taste fresh and are complimented well by the sweet chili sauce. Most of the dishes are hits, however, a few are misses. The Pad See Yew at $7.95 is a dish of fried rice noodles, broccoli and carrots.
The sauce is overpowering and greasy. It has a harsh undertone that makes the dish taste burnt. The wide noodles end up soft but clumpy. The fried samosas for $3.95 are another dish to skip. Unlike Indian samosas, these are deflated, oily and cold in the middle. The sweet chili sauce is again featured here and you’ll need it. The location is a bit narrow, but it has a simple, modern feel.
There isn’t much to look at for decoration besides a few fake plants and a television often displaying soccer matches, but the sparseness and low lighting makes it feel a bit more intimate. It would be a good spot for a cheap date. If you’re new to Omaha or just haven’t explored enough, Salween Thai is a restaurant to hunt down. With the majority of dishes being under $10, it’s an affordable meal for a poor college kid. If you’re tired of cheeseburgers and sandwiches, stop in for some spice.
To check out their menu, click here.