Bangkok Paradise Thai Restaurant (3344 North Texas Street, Suite A, Fairfield, CA just off of I-80) is tucked away across a fast food chicken restaurant and next to an online investment firm. With the quality of curry and other dishes you can find there, Bangkok Paradise might as well be located in the fine dining areas of San Francisco for about half the price: not one dish is more than $13.
It’s a quaint restaurant that seats maybe 30 people and it’s only been open a little more than a year. Bangkok Paradise has sort of a paradox to its popularity: always busy but never crowded. That may not last long as the legend of Bangkok Paradise’s curries and other entrees begins to grow. Their service is always personal and your dining experience is memorable.
The usual Thai dishes are on the menu- Thai curry meals (in several flavors to include green, red, pineapple and mango), Pad Thai, different fishes slathered in tomato-based sauces and coconut rice. Yet the quality of these standard meals is unsurpassed in the nation’s most diverse city.
Take my favorite dish: Duck Curry. The red curry sauce doesn’t taste like some watered-down coconut sauce with dye on it. My taste buds can discern floral notes, basil and Thai spices as if I were sipping the best white wines to come out of Napa Valley (which, consequently, is only 12 miles away). It’s a perfect match for the tender roasted duck pieces strewn about the crisp bamboo shoots and delicious pineapple chunks.
A close second is the Pumpkin Red Curry (pictured). I tried this with a seafood combination of calamari, tilapia pieces and prawns. It’s fairly new to the menu, but has become an instant hit with me. Just like the Duck Curry, the pumpkin version is also layered with flavors but is a bit spicier. Along with a slight pumpkin flavoring, there’s a hearty, nutty texture that lingers on after the last bite. The infused bell peppers and bamboo shoots give it that heft while not making it too pasty.
Even the most standard Thai dish- Chicken Pad- doesn’t suffer in quality. This would be a throwaway dish at a typical Thai restaurant, but Bangkok Paradise makes everything top-notch. The stick noodles are huge; the bean sprouts are filling and the chicken complements the various crunchy textures within it.
I’ve been to Bangkok Paradise at least 10 times and I’ve had several dishes; none have failed or disappointed me, despite my love affair with the duck curry. I’ve tried the crispy trout, garlic calamari and the house specialty Angel Wings, which are chicken wings stuffed with mushrooms, onions and carrots. None have disappointed.
The most surprising dishes? The desserts. Although you can expect a rich tradition and excellent service at Bangkok Thai, Tui also likes to experiment with his meals. Tonight he had us try a non-traditional deep fried Oreo and some deep fried ice cream. My wife and I ate it in amazement; we couldn’t figure out how he kept the ice cream from melting inside the tender, deep-fried batter. His timing and culinary prowess is completely understated.
Our favorite dessert is the Thai-Tanic. It contains scoops of coconut ice cream, sticky rice and deep fried bananas. The different textures and temperatures all mixed into this delectable dessert just cause simultaneous confusion and pleasure in your mouth. It’s no wonder I feel exhausted after eating it! If you have room after dinner, it’s a perfect dessert to share.
If you’re ever on the way to Napa Valley, San Francisco or Sacramento via I-80, make a stop at Bangkok Paradise. Just hope you can stay awake to drive when you leave.