By Daniel Paris
The Atrium Complex in Rancho Mirage has seen its share of restaurants come and go in the last few years. In February 2022, Chai Butrlakorn, felt it was time to introduce the adventurous diners of the Coachella Valley to authentic Thai street food dishes and opened his second eponymous Uncle Chai Thailand Street Food restaurant. I have eaten at nearly every Thai restaurant in the Coachella Valley and hoped I would experience new Thai dishes, or at least, reimagined Thai standards.
The menu seemed familiar with a few tweeks and exceptions. Appetizers included Glew Tod wontons with stuffed pork, Fried Tofu, and Steamed Pork Dumplings. Soups included both Tom Yum and Tom Kha. Salads offered are Som Tum (green papaya salad) and Larb Moo (ground pork, green onion, cilantro, and mint) served with rice and lettuce leaves for stuffing.
The street food entrees are Moo Dang Moo Krob, a dish with red BBQ pork and crispy wok-fried pork over rice. Krapow Moo Sub Kai Dow, stir-fried ground pork, Thai chili, fresh Thai basil topped with a fried egg over rice. Gratiem Prik Thai, stir-fried chicken over rice. Kai Jeaw, a Thai omelet with green onion and tomato over rice. I ordered the Suki Hang, a combination of chicken, squid, mixed vegetables, and Thai suki sauces on a bed of stir-fried thin rice glass noodles. The balance of deep flavors and attention given to individual ingredients combined to make an incredible entrée. The chicken breast slices were moist, the squid perfectly tender, and the veggies had just enough crunch. My dining companion ordered Kee Mow (Drunken Noodle) with stir-fried shrimp, Thai chili, red bell pepper, and fresh basil on a bed of slightly smoky flat rice noodles. Yellow, green, Massaman, and Panang curries are also on the menu. Uncle Chai Pad Thai is also featured. Dessert offers the classic Thai Mango Sticky Rice.
There is a rotating special menu including items such as whole crispy catfish and seafood combinations. The spice level is medium unless you want no heat at all or the mouth-burning Thai level. I am already planning my next visit to dine at my new favorite Thai restaurant.
69930 Hwy. 111 Suite 122
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Friday-Saturday 11 am to 3 pm, 5 pm to 10 pm
Sunday-Thursday 11 am to 3 pm, 5 pm to 9 pm