While the Boston area has a number of excellent Thai restaurants, only a handful of them are truly authentic. And while Pad Thai can be a very tasty dish, sometimes it is worth branching out a bit and getting to know the wonderful tastes of true Thai fare. So, the question is, where do people go for authentic Thai cuisine? Well, Khao Sarn in Brookline is a good place to start, and The Similans in Cambridge has some authentic Thai dishes. But perhaps the top choice in the Boston area is a little storefront near Coolidge Corner in Brookline called Dok Bua, a truly fantastic Thai restaurant.
Dok Bua is housed in what used to be a small market, and indeed, grocery items can still be bought here. Seating is a bit tight, and the atmosphere can be best described as a bit odd and funky. There is nothing odd about the food at Dok Bua, however. While the extensive menu includes your standard Americanized Thai dishes, much of the menu includes some absolutely phenomenal authentic Thai entrees, many of which have touches of basil and chili that really spice up the dishes. A few standouts include both the tom yum koong soup and the clear soup with vegetables, the steamed pork dumplings (the ground pork is seasoned nicely, with lots of flavor, and the dipping sauce has a hint of molasses), the golden bags (ground chicken with corn and onions, all wrapped up in a pastry bag), the aromatic curry puffs with ground chicken, the drunken noodle with chicken (which can also be ordered with shrimp, squid, fish, or duck), the savory Pad Se Ew with vermicelli and crispy chicken, the meat with basil and chili (the heat of the chili in this dish has a way of sneaking up on you), the basil chicken with chili, egg rolls, and tom yum koong soup, the hot basil fried rice, the Thai stir-fried noodles with a mountain of crispy chicken and veggies in a moderately hot chili paste, the Dok Bua noodles (wide noodles) with shrimp, and the "Su-Ki-Ya-Ki" (clear noodles with tomato sauce and vegetables) that can be ordered with calamari and shrimp. Even the aforementioned Pad Thai is something special at Dok Bua, with one particularly good choice being the Pad Thai with crispy chicken. Beverages include a sugary-sweet chrysanthemum drink, a sweet and creamy Thai iced tea, a basil drink with countless seeds in it, a slightly sweet and slightly bitter grass jelly drink, and a refreshing mango bubble tea.
Even though it remains relatively unknown after a number of years in business, the word seems to have gotten out at least a little bit about Dok Bua. In fact, it is not uncommon to see people waiting in line to get into this little Thai restaurant these days. So while Dok Bua may not be a truly hidden restaurant anymore, we couldn't be happier that this friendly little place in Brookline is gaining recognition that is certainly well-deserved.
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