Columbia City has a new Thai Restaurant with a ton of promise for the vegetarians and vegans! Chandala Thai is located in the old St Dames location on MLK (sad to see it go). I was especially excited about the opening of Chandala because its price point isn't quite into the "fancy Thai" range that Spice Room is.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of ordering up a big dinner from Chandala for a group of vegetarian friends. Chandala has organized their menu to include a "vegetarian" section, and includes a description of the various types of "vegetarianism" that people choose (strict, ovo-lacto, etc), and indicated ingredients on the menu that might conflict with these. It turns out much of the menu can be made "strict vegetarian" (otherwise known as vegan), with the exception of the curries, which unfortunately have a little shrimp paste already mixed into the curry paste.
We ordered a little of everything (all vegan and made with organic tofu!): phad kee mao, chili green beans, ginger lovers, garlic lovers, cashew veggies, swimming rama (vegan peanut sauce!), and lab tofu, and it was all fantastic. The food was at once light but rich with flavor and spice and didn't cross into the generic overly oily territory that Americanized Thai food sometimes becomes. The lab tofu in particular was an awesome delight.
The one item that was a little bit disappointing was the phad ba mee (not vegan, has egg noodles), which I was hoping would be similar to ba mee hang, the delicious, spicy, lime-y, peanut-y, herb heavy dish made out of thin egg noodles, but instead it was more like standard chow mein.
I am so far out of the habit of blogging I didn't even take pictures. But I'm posting anyway because I want to sing the praises! I have found my new favorite south end Thai restaurant. I hope it does well!