Top-notch Thai

by Nancy Donovan, Photography Alison Dunlap | Aug 5, 2016
Top-notch Thai ...From the pages of South Jersey Magazine...

Sanook Thai Cuisine
18 Tanner Street | Haddonfield (
856) 857-1169
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5 forks

Thai cuisine seems to be having its moment in South Jersey, with a handful of Thai restaurants popping up all over the area in the last year alone. One of those restaurants is Sanook, which took over the space of the shuttered MiaMare Italian restaurant several months ago. Opened by Bangkok native and chef Nalatta Furstoss, Sanook is a more modern space serving up traditional Thai plates in a fresh and clean setting.

The modernity of the space translates into their plating, like the pan-steamed mussels. Instead of a traditional bowl packed with small shells Sanook serves up six giant mussels, served on a single shell on a bed of onions, garlic, scallions, green and red bell peppers, Thai basil and cilantro tossed in a tamarind curry. Each mussel was its own spoon for scooping up the additional ingre-dients and flavorful curry. And since the shellfish itself was particularly meaty you were able to enjoy the briny, tender mussel meat in ways you don’t ordinarily do with smaller varieties.

Another appetizer, moo ping, featured skewers of pork, marinated and grilled then served with a chili sauce. The skewers were perfectly cooked, with a nice salty bite from the marinade that harmonized with the slightly sour and spicy chili sauce. It was an elevated take on grilled meat that fit right into the summer season without feeling sloppy or thrown together.

A massive bowl of kow soy curry came with your choice of protein for an added fee, in this case chopped pork. Egg noodles, pork, onions, scallions, crispy noodles and fresh herbs were swimming in a rich coconut curry that packed just enough heat thanks to plenty of extra spices. The sauces and curries were truly where the Sanook kitchen shines: The coconut flavors were balanced perfectly with the herbs and spices, but the bowl would have benefited from a side of rice to help sop up the overwhelming amount of broth.

The restaurant’s namesake entrée, the Sanook duck, features a roasted duck breast on a Penang curry reduction with a side of white rice and seasonal vegetables. It was a bit of a shock to see a smaller sized entrée alongside the neighboring, hulking curry, and an attention to portion sizes in both meals would have been duly noted. But the duck itself came with a crispy, flavorful exterior and really soared with—yet another—perfectly executed sauce. The rice, meanwhile, was just the right avenue to soak up the rest of what was on the plate so not a single drop was wasted.

There are a variety of desserts on the menu, including several sticky rice dishes, a Thai treat that is truly hard to resist. White rice is mixed with a coconut-sugar base to form almost a cake and served with either a seasonal custard or fresh mango. The balance of the warm, sugary rice with its cold accompaniments means it holds up as a fantastic ending to a meal without being too overpowering and heavy.

You could also go for their Thai iced tea, a traditional drink featuring black tea and plenty of spices like cardamom and anise, finished off with a mix of sugar and condensed milk. Very often this drink can be far too sweet, but in this case the creamy concoction was a great way to settle down after a slightly spicy dinner.

It seems like Sanook is just starting to catch its stride in time for the summer, when the Thai fla-vors that it is embracing seem to blend so perfectly with warm weather, sunny skies and new ad-ventures.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 14 (July, 2016).

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Author: Nancy Donovan, Photography by Alison Dunlap


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