It hasn’t been easy to find good Thai on the Peninsula. It isn’t for lack of options, but most of the places have been somewhat lackluster. One place that has stood out so far is this tiny hole in the wall called Charm Thai Eatery. The menu offers a typical selection of Thai dishes including noodles, curries and stir fries with your protein of choice and definitely satisfies most hankerings for Thai cravings.
This is a definite must order appetizer. The green curry is quite tasty with a subtle bit of spice, nothing to burn the palate but enough to scare aware the kids. My only complaint is they don’t give enough of the thin, crispy roti to fully enjoy every bit of the curry that comes in this deceptively large looking serving plate.
The Beef Noodle Soup is best described as a spicier version of Vietnamese pho. Not so much because it burns your tongue but there is different mix of spices and ingredients like roasted garlic used in the broth that results in an interesting, more complex flavor profile. As much as I enjoy every slurp of the noodle soup, I’m always finding myself confused by the familiarity of the taste with a curious questioning of what has gone into making this particular broth. For any pho-lovers, I would highly suggest giving it a try. I won’t say it’s better than pho, but I guarantee you’ll still be satisfied.
Most people might judge a Thai restaurant by their pad thai. I, however, use pad see ew as my measuring stick. Mainly because I prefer the general savoriness of the pad see ew sauce as opposed to the sweet/sour/tanginess that is more commonly associated with pad thai’s. Admittedly, the pad see ew is not Charm Thai‘s shining star. It’s pretty typical in preparation and taste.
Although we didn’t order much this time, I have gone back a couple of times to try a couple different curries, crab fried rice, and a sampling of other soups, salads and appetizers. Overall, I think the food is quite good. It probably doesn’t have the powerful flavors that I’ve found in other very authentic Thai places (like in LA’s Thai Town), and I suspect maybe it’s a little muted to better appeal to a broader audience. However, that doesn’t take away from how good most everything tastes. I still think it’s one of the better Thai restaurants I’ve discovered along the Peninsula, which feels a little bit like the Mojave Desert of “hit the spot” Asian cuisine. I am relatively early in this journey though, so hopefully, my continued search south of the City and beyond will eventually bear a lot of delicious fruit.
Charm Thai Eatery
1428 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94402
PAFO Ratings for Charm Thai Eatery:
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars