BuaBua Thai brings an exciting menu to Leaside with Bangkok-style street food and desserts.
Bua, which means lotus in Thai, is helmed by Chef Nana, who had been working at the Thai staple Khao San Road for seven years before breaking off to launch her own project.
Nana's experience cooking in a food stall with her mother as a child should hint at the level of skill demonstrated the kitchen. Watching her make flower-shaped dok jok ($10) is totally mesmerizing.
The menu is diverse, and aside from the usual favourites like penang green curry, includes some Thai dishes that are slightly less common.
First off, Nana is one of the only people in the city that makes khanom buang. This crepe-like street fare, made from pandan meringue batter and filled with an egg yolk sugar mixture, need to be ordered in advance.
A som tum, or papaya salad ($11), is a mixture of hand-shredded green papayer, carrots, peanuts, and long beans that's lightly pounded with fish sauce in a mortar and pestle from Thailand.
It's way more effective than a simple toss, and the pounding actually helps the papaya absorb the dressing for a super flavourful salad.
Gai satay ($7) offers up chicken skewers that have marinated in coconut milk for 24 hours.They're definitely not stingy with the peanut satay sauce.
A calamari grabong ($13) makes other deep-fried calamari seem bland in comparison. Nana's grabong batter uses a red curry paste and lime leaf batter. On top of that, the dip—a basil mayo sauce—is unreal.
The massaman curry ($17) is some of the best I've ever had. It's made with potatoes, peanuts, and coconut milk.
It's rich but not overly creamy, with a tamarind reduction lightening up the dish.
The chiang mai khao soi ($16) is the 21st century obligatory Thai order, with braised beef and crispy egg noodles that soak up the curry soup.
The street-style pad thai ($13) noodles are perfectly springy.
Another favourite is the grilled pineapple fried rice ($16), which comes with a generous portion of pineapple on chicken and shrimp fried rice.
Laap salad ($10) is a minced chicken dish served with a side of sticky rice for wrapping in the lettuce leaves provided.
Coconut sticky rice that's infused with pandan leaves ($10) is a perfect way to end off a meal, with a mango slice rose and coconut sauce served on the side.