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BEST THAI RESTAURANT Minneapolis 2004 - Chiang Mai Thai

Chiang Mai Thai

Chiang Mai Thai

3001 Hennepin Ave. S.

Minneapolis, MN 55408

612-827-1606

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Readers' Choice: Sawatdee

Here's a word to the wise: If you aren't prepared to participate in a sunrise duel, then don't ask a Twin Citian what the best Thai restaurant in town is. Yes, feelings run just that high. For us, though, when we're off the clock, there's only one place we head to: Chiang Mai Thai, the elegant Uptown Northern Thai joint. Once we're seated it's often nigh impossible to settle on appetizers: Of course, the cashews tossed with oyster sauce, chiles, and cilantro are just spicy enough, just salty enough, and just zingy enough to engage your attention through an entire hash-through of the movie you just saw at the Uptown. So then, of course, one of the nam prigs, the signature Asian crudité platters, in which lightly steamed vegetables are served with your choice of dipping sauce, either sweet and spicy pork, or roasty eggplant. Of course the beef-jerky-of-the-gods, neua wan. Of course the light and flavorful laab salad--in mock duck or tofu versions, even!--with its satisfying combination of roasted rice powder and herbal cilantro. Oh wait, that's too many appetizers. And what about the fiery green papaya salad, the most chile-laced and mouth-puckering in all the world? Hmm. Debate the point over the Are-we-in-Napa? wine list, which draws California collectors from all over the country. It'll be hard to pick from this shockingly budget-friendly list, of course, but consider the arguments over your favorite appetizer and best wine mere training, mere fencing with safety-tipped rapier, for the real fight. You know, the one that arises when friends, if you can call them that, invite you to their corner Thai joint. Hey, those are fighting words!

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