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REVIEW: Tum Thai Restaurant

Thai cuisine is probably the most interesting multi-cultural food in the world and Tum Thai Restaurant that opened in Huntington Village at the beginning of the year well represents that diversity.

Review by Richard Scholem.
Originally published in Long Island Pulse on April 12, 2018
Photo Credit: Thum Thai Facebook

This 45 seat spot, a branch of the five year old Tum Thai of Rockville Centre, offers dishes influenced by India, Japan, Laos, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Spain, Portugal, America and mainly China. All of which, plus the fact that Thailand (formerly Siam), is the only southeast Asian country never colonized by the West, has enabled it to maintain its own unique cuisine.

The Thai cooking at Tum Thai places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong, aromatic components and a slightly spicy edge. All five of its regions have dishes listed on its comprehensive menu that offer no less that 13 appetizers, 8 salads, 3 soups, 9 entrees, 6 noodle dishes, 15 fried rice’s, 6 curries, 3 duck dishes, 5 fish entrees, 5 vegetarian choices, 11 specials and 6 desserts.

Few of these dishes are simple; rather, they are an intricate mix of details, ingredients, textures, colors and tastes. All of them are served in a completely redecorated version of the Afghani Restaurant that previously occupied this spot. The interior now boasts imported Thai handicraft, like hand made bird cages, sculptured wood and brass Bodhi Tree leaf, etc.

The gracious, informed wait staff promptly arrive with a wide range of appealing presentations like coconut shrimp, four thin upright towers lightly breaded and anchored in contrasting chili plum sauce, Goong Ob Mor Din or four jumbo shrimp atop a deep mass of vegetable studded delicate glass noodles. Pad Thai, a signature Thai dish was the only let down. It was a disappointingly small, barely lukewarm preparation.

Among the many choices to check out are Tom Yum noodle soup with an array of shrimp, squid, scallops and mussels in a lip smacking Tom Yum broth and grilled Chilean sea bass in a sweet (but not off putting) chili sauce accompanied by baby Bok Choy, mushrooms and bell peppers. One of the most typical complex amalgams is Pan Woon Sen, a noodle created alive with a generous sprinkling of onions, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, celery, eggs and scallions highlighted with a choice of chicken, pork, duck, beef, shrimp, squid or mixed food.

Yes, as you’d expect, there is sticky rice for dessert, but surprise, there’s also chocolate lava cake, crème brulee, fried ice cream, pumpkin custard and fried bananas with honey.

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.