There is a new culinary treat in Charlottesville: a homestyle Thai breakfast. Tuesday through Saturday at Pad Thai, Santi Ouypron and his wife, who once ran an eatery together in Thailand, are serving the same types of breakfasts enjoyed back in Thailand.
Much of the menu might strike Americans as heartier than their usual bagel or bowl of cereal. There are meat stir-fries, heaping bowls of noodles, and homemade dumplings. But, Ouypron explains, large breakfasts are common in Thailand because so many working people don’t break for lunch, and so fuel up in the morning for an entire day of work.
Americans reluctant to eat such a large breakfast can still enjoy a morning meal at Pad Thai. Several dishes come in half portions, and, for those that don’t, you can always save the rest for lunch or dinner.
We had a half portion of beef consomme (pictured), which was plenty. The consomme broth, which has a following among Charlottesville chefs, is both delicious and restorative. One of the keys to it, says Ouypron, is not using too many bones. The broth for a typical Vietnamese pho, for example, uses lots of bones, he says, resulting in a profound beefy, marrow flavor. While this style of broth is delicious and certainly has its enthusiasts, Ouypron finds the bone flavor too strong for his tastes. By using fewer bones and boiling primarily meat instead, Ouypron achieves a cleaner, more delicate broth, perfumed with twelve herbs and spices. Ours was the “Combination” soup, which comes full of meatballs, beef, and tripe. Less adventurous breakfast eaters can opt for just the beef.
Full menu below.