Friday, August 3, 2007

An Island of Bliss in a Sea of Buffet Hell

To those who know me it should come as no surprise that when I am hungry I like my food.

Those who know me even better know how much I hate buffets, particularly Chinese ones. The very idea of an all you can buffet sends over me waves of nausea as I imagine the weird, ugly heat of the hot lamps, the stainless steel trays full of rice and unidentifiable meats in unidentifiable sauces, that insult to hens everywhere, chicken balls, and of course those Homerics jostling among us at the steam tables looking for you to nod in agreement when they say ‘You can go up as many times as you want and you won’t have to have dinner either. Just look at all these Egg Rolls.’

Thai Island, in the basement of First Canadian Place, appears on first look to be just such a place. Buffet Hades. You could not be more wrong. Just adjacent to the revolting steam counter with its revolting ‘sneeze guard’ there is another cashier with a small window behind. From a board you choose a Vietnamese (I believe) bowl of delicious soup. The restaurant maintains it is Thai and has a massive orange tray of stuck together Pad Thai cooking under an artificial sun. But sitting in a mild vegetable broth -- if and only if you order from the other order taker, after a small wait holding your number, you find an island of translucent vermicelli noodles, shredded lettuce and carrot (I know the bowls are bespoke as I have often asked them to hold the lettuce), wonderful barbecued strips of pork, great and crunchy spring rolls. Unlike Pizza Pizza there are set combos. How are the noodles? They are so good as to beggar belief, even Dylan Y agrees. Indeed, Thai Island (which Louise first discovered, though knowing her I believe she hit the buffet for the green curry—which may be great, but I’ll never know). I won't be going there today, but we will not long be apart.

(China not quite as shown.)


  1. Is this the same Thai Island under the Exchange tower?

  2. That's the one, albeit I have shown my underground navigation skills to be as good as ever.
    I still like it very much though.


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