c/o Kathy Yun

If you’re anything like me and you tend to get tired of food easily, it may be time for you to explore the wide array of dining options on Main Street. After a year of trying different restaurants in the Middletown area, I feel safe recommending Thai Gardens to anyone craving some tasty Thai cuisine. The establishment has been satisfying the taste buds of Wesleyan students since 2000, and its ethnic dishes are especially comforting for international students like me who miss the flavors of home.

The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere with nicely set tables and dainty decorations here and there. I’ve dined here multiple times and in many contexts, from spontaneous lunches with a friend to group dinners and even dates. Thai Gardens is versatile enough to suit any event.

So, what makes this place special? Apart from its cleanliness and high-quality menu choices, the dishes are varied enough to suit people with different tastes. While the food captures the essence of Thai cuisine, it also caters to patrons who may not be used to more exotic flavors. There are a multitude of dishes to choose from, which can be both a pleasure and a pain.

As far as appetizers are concerned, my personal favorite has to be the chicken satay. A Thai friend who enjoys eating the dish back home recommended this to me, proving that Thai Gardens does a great job delivering authentic tastes. Its chicken skewers are a melange of curry, ginger, and garlic, but the element that truly completes the dish is the peanut sauce that comes on top.

Once you’ve finished your appetizer, you’ll have a slight problem when you realize that there are too many delicious entrees to choose from. I personally enjoy the pad Thai, which consists of rice noodles topped with ground peanuts, tofu, scallions, bean sprouts, and your choice of beef, chicken, or shrimp. The sweet sauce tastes its best with lime, which serves to intensify the flavor even more. Other popular dishes include pad see ew, drunken noodles, red curry, and green curry.

To top off your experience at the restaurant, I suggest the mango and sticky rice, which is, as its name explains, fresh mango with warm, sweet, and salty rice. The unexpected contrast of hot and cold, as well as sweet and savory, is a delicious surprise.

The next time you go down to Main Street with a rumbling belly, remember that Thai Gardens is sure to be a satisfying choice. Also, don’t forget to bring your WesID: the restaurant provides free Thai iced tea to Wesleyan students.

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