By Daniel White
Translated by Anna Yang
113, HanKou Rd, Sec 2, Xitun Dist
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm
There are many places to get Thai food in Taichung, but the Grand Palace is the establishment that I keep returning to. Even before you sit down to eat, there is the feeling that you're coming to a good spot because it's always full, with the sounds of conversation frequently interspersed by long pauses filled with cheerful eating and clinking plates. The chef always prepares excellent food with an excellent balance of flavors but, if you want more or less of something, he can cater to your tastes. For example, I personally like my Thai food spicy.
Grand Palace has been open for over three years and its management has worked hard to perfect the menu. They somehow manage to incorporate only fresh ingredients while keeping prices low. At the same time, the atmosphere is always friendly with plenty of pleasant interaction between diners at other tables throughout the room. The walls in the well-lit interior are decorated with Thai cultural images and the aroma of Thai cooking wafts from the always-busy kitchens with the frequent ding of a bell letting everyone know that the latest offering is ready for a lucky patron.
During a recent visit, my dining group tried the Seafood Salad (NT$200) with succulent shrimp and tender squid that were tart and sweet but finished with a delightfully spicy kick. This went quite well with the DaPao Pork (NT$180), a savory and slightly spicy dish that included basil, onions and garlic. We also tried the Green Curry Chicken (NT$200), which had a pleasant curry flavor that didn't overpower the chicken, eggplant and herbs. This dish is particularly good to eat with the restaurant's long-grain white rice (NT$20 per person).
All the above would have been enough, but we had to order some Green Beans (NT$120), served lightly cooked, crisp and fresh with savory and spicy flavors. The thing I liked most about this meal, though, was the way the flavors of each dish complimented and enhanced those of the others. In fact, the dishes are often better when mixed, especially with curry.