Salad: Wow Bao Cool Pad Thai Salad with Chicken
Verdict: Wow Salad!
This one I may have had before, since I'm an avid fan of Wow Bao, a local chainlet that specializes in steamed asian buns a potstickers, and various Americanized pan-asian treats. In my family, some of our favorite outings were our trips to China Town and, closer to home, Little Saigon. Since full-blown lunches or dinners at a restaurant weren't always within the family budget, these trips usually culminated in a stop at one of the many bakerys to be found in either of these vibrant neighborhoods. There, we could indulge in the happy stickiness of a sweetend bbq pork bun, which we would munch on contentedly on the drive or walk home.
As a quick aside, I know I'm not the first, or even the hundreth, person to notice the connection between nostalgia and food. Some of our strongest emotional memories come from childhood and often food is related, even if only tangentially. It never ceases to amaze me though, how sight and smell and feeling can combine to make a food even more tempting than it would normally be, because of the memories attached to those senses.
Anyhoo, Wow Boa is always a happy stop for me since I can always relive those halcyon childhood moments whenever I bite into one of their steamed kung pao chicken or mongolian beef bao. It's made even better by the fact that two bao (buns) and a cup of steaming hot and sour broth are very filling and relatively low-cal meal, which always makes for happy lunching.
So in light of all this, what about the salad? It was, just as the name implied, cool. It's mainly a cold rice noodle salad with steamed/boiled chicken chunks that's finished off with a nice sprinkling of veggies and peanuts. The salad dressing is where you really get a punch of flavor, since it's a lovely sweet-savory peanut vinaigrette. It's a bit on the higher side calorie-wise but I'd say much of the salad's flavor and appeal comes from it, so I had about half the given serving.
I'm also a huge lover of Thai food (who isn't) and am always looking for Thai and Thai-inspired dishes that aren't silent diet killers hiding loads of fats and sugars. Some dishes, like Pad Thai, while wonderfully delicious, can also really blow your eating plan out of the water. Considering that, I'm happy to have a salad that can play stand-in one of my favorie Thai dishes when I'm walking on the lighter side of food.