Visit Thai Delight in Longwood, FL, just east of Orlando.
Thai Delight Lives Up to Its Name
I am a creature of habit.
Once I find something that I like, I rarely deviate from it. This applies to clothing (black t-shirts and blue jean shorts), tea (Palais des Thes), and food. Guess which menu item I order at my favorite sandwich shop? Roast beef and cheddar, the same one I’ve ordered for the last, oh, fifteen years or so.
It’s not that I don’t like to try new things. I love to try new things. I just don’t want them to compete with things that I already love.
So, last year I discovered a local Thai place that I loved, called Thailicious. Their crispy duck was off-the-charts good. I knew that there was a second well-renowned Thai restaurant nearby, but I never went there because I was staying loyal to my favorite crispy duck purveyor.
One day I mustered up the courage to forgo my usual place and try the competing Thai restaurant. To do this, I not only had to navigate the same neighborhood, but I also had to drive directly past Thailicious to get there.
Thai Delight is located in one of those unassuming old strips of small businesses. If you didn’t know it was there, you might not notice it at all.
Don’t let that stop you, though. In fact, get there early before the handful of tables fill up with the in-the-know lunch crowd.
I’d never had Thai tea before, but I ordered one in addition to my usual Diet Coke because I’d heard that if you like masala chai, you’ll like Thai tea.
I suppose it was similar to chai in that there were some spices combined with tea and some form of milk, but it was a completely different animal. It was very sweet, as sweet as Southern style sweet tea, but much thicker. The spice was subtle. If you like really sweet iced coffee, you’ll love this.
Like many Thai restaurants, Thai Delight serves a palate cleansing salad before your entree arrives.
Made with iceberg lettuce and carrot shreds, it was simply dressed with a dollop of carrot and ginger based puree.
Of course, Thai food is famous for its spice. You can order most dishes mild, medium, hot, or Thai hot. I love spicy food, but I’ve never been brave enough to try Thai hot. Perhaps with a gallon of Thai tea standing by, I might be more adventurous.
I ordered mild pad thai with pork (pictured at top), figuring that I’d scale up the heat on a future visit.
The pad thai was generously portioned and topped with very fresh vegetable garnishes. The noodles were pleasantly sweet and peppery. Small, well-seasoned nuggets of pork were nestled throughout.
I also ordered the crispy duck. I think there’s a law somewhere that says I have to, and I do try to avoid breaking laws.
The lightly breaded boneless duck pieces were indeed crispy, and they rapidly soaked up the radiantly flavored coconut based curry. There were elegantly cut carrots and other vegetables, such as bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and baby corn mixed in as well. This dish was also served with a pristine pilaf of jasmine rice on its own plate.
I loved every minute of this lunch. Judging by the rapidly filled tables, I think that many locals share the sentiment. I’ll be back for more, and next time, I’ll be brave and try it hotter.