Friday, July 24, 2009

Chok Di, Kanda (โชคดี)

With apologies to all fully and partially Thai readers, because I really love the country, did you know that in Thailand it's polite to crap? Ugh, this is in poor taste already. But seriously, it's very polite to say 'crap' after practically every sentence if you're a man (pronounced with an almost vanishing 'r' and of course in a different language, so sometimes it's transliterated 'kap' or 'krub' even 'ครับ').

Otemachi and Kanda don't run to certain types of ethnic food, in my opinion. Chinese? Good, plentiful. Indian? Scarce, mediocre. Southeast Asian? Rare, and often overpriced (Siam Heritage, I'm looking at you. But I ain't eatin'.). Chok Di is a gem in this otherwise parched dessert, and as such I'd have to say it's a pretty sweet find!

Picture east-side Kanda, at the south end, the old blacksmith's town. A little quiet, very oyaji. Pass the park where the sad salarymen sit on swings and smoke between appointments. Turn down a little alley that doesn't look like much from the street. You'll find Chok Di Now that I've been, I know there's also a very nice-looking sushi place (Nemoto), a kappo, and a tempura. It's a frickin' gold mine up there, folks.

At Chok Di, the chef is a woman and the waiters are men. And they are all Thai. If you couldn't tell by their faces, you could tell by their Japanese, which is just a little musical. And you can sure tell by their food, which has a veritable abondanza of genuinosity thrown in and fried around. The small, carefully selected menu changes by the day but always sticks to standards, no crime when the standards are as tasty as those of the Thai palette. Red and green curries are colorful, tom yum looks the business with plenty of fire, and fried noodles come up bursting with fresh shrimp, soft-cooked bean sprouts and dried shrimps (although I like mine with a few splashes of Thai fish sauce, which resides on the table as it should in any reputable establishment).

They seem to be operating under the radar at the moment with respect to the usual food web suspects, perhaps a bit of a guerilla, commando, golden triangle kinda thing. I'd advise getting up there for a few bites before word gets out and they get crowded and lose all the authentic charm! This was a thoroughly enjoyable place, and so I'd like to say to the chef and all the staff, thanks a lot. Really. Crap.


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