I’d heard great things about the vegan offerings at Siam Orchid restaurant in Manchester, so when an opportunity (in the form of visiting company) arose to try it out, I jumped at the chance.
Siam Orchid is crammed into a little plaza on Second Street (the one with Applebee’s). The first thing I learned about Siam Orchid is that, despite the name on the sign (“Siam Orchid”) and the name on the takeout menu (“Siam Orchid”), they actually changed their name to Muse Thai Bistro effective several months ago. A little confusing at present, but nothing that a new sign won’t clear up soon. (The other location in Concord, incidentally, is still Siam Orchid.)
The ambiance was bright and a little eclectic — but I liked it:
They have a pretty decent number of options, but I was surprised by how few of them were actually meatless (we get a “Vegetarian Corner” of the menu). I wasn’t really in the mood for anything weighty (the “corner” is heavy on the fried tofu) so I thought the Green Garden sounded good:
Green Garden: Boiled fresh green beans, baby corn, broccoli, snowpeas, served with a delicious peanut sauce.
Sounds good, right? Well…when I happily requested the Green Garden, the waitress actually recommended that I NOT order it and ended up succeeding in talking me out of it! Apparently it is literally ONLY what is in that description, plain boiled veggies, no frills, with peanut sauce on the side. Well, hmm. No thanks, then, I guess?
I wound up with the “Tofu, Ginger and Scallions” (tofu was fried, but what can you do):
The presentation, as you can see, was superb. Perfect portion size (I finished all the veggies and about 1/2 the rice) and very colorful. And, yes, it was very tasty. The fried tofu was yummy (sigh) but it should be noted that it was mooshy rather than crispy. I would have appreciated a warning about the quantity of mushrooms, as they are not really my favorite thing and they made up the majority of the “assorted vegetables.” Oh well. I did enjoy the long ribbony ones and the buttons, and my mom happily ate the weird chewy ones for me, so no harm done.
It should also be noted that the ginger in the dish is straight-up GINGER. Not pickled, not candied, just a big hunk of ginger in your mouth. I was fine with this. In fact, I loved it. If you aren’t a big ginger fan, though, beware!
Finally, one complaint: where is this “black bean sauce”? I occasionally spotted traces of a thin, clearish, pretty much tasteless sauce, and maybe that’s what “black bean sauce” is supposed to be, but I was hoping for something more beany and flavorful than, um, not.
Anyway. Next time I’m there I will probably get a curry, as I was enviously eyeing my mom’s throughout the whole lunch. You, too should go check out
Siam Orchid Muse Thai Bistro, and keep that veggie corner on the menu! May not have been the best Thai food I’ve ever had, but hey — it was a solid, all-veg, relatively inexpensive lunch. It’s nice that this is available in Manch!
Muse Thai Bistro is located at 581 Second St #C in Manchester, NH. http://www.musethaibistro.com/