Khunnai Chang

Yes, Khunnai Chang. But I prefer to call this place by its way super awesome english name: Madame Elephant.

835 Denman St, Vancouver BC

Whichever name you call it by  this restaurant has kick ass thai food. Very tasty, very authentic, very very damn good. It makes me shake my head in disgust as I walk by the crummy packed chain thai place, Thangthai, located down the street. Madame Elephant is nearly empty every night – which is ultra sad. Sure, Thangthai has a better ambiance and it’s cheaper – but the food is way suckier.

I’ve been to Madame Elephant a few times – so let me try to recall each delicious item. I’ve had the Poh Tek twice – once in a giant pot to share ($17) and once in a single serving ($6). The Poh Tek is a delicious seafood soup comprised of mussels, squid, and shrimp. The broth is a tasty thin red concoction with loads of ginger and cilantro giving it a lovely warm flavor. The giant pot was better – there was more seafoody goodnesss and the smaller serving seemed to have more inedible ginger hunks.

I’ve also had the satay chicken ($9). It was good enough. Four large pieces of tender chicken – the menu said it came with peanut sauce and cucumber sauce – but the cucumber sauce was more like a delicious salad. We also ordered the Pad Neua Nam Man Hoy ($13). The menu totally undersold this gem by saying it was stir fried beef with oyster sauce. But it was really thinly sliced beef strips loaded with cracked pepper, fresh broccoli florets, sweet onion and a flavor good enough to drink. And the yellow curry ($13), oh man – this coconut milk curry with chicken is so good. It’s smooth and sweet and perfect with slices of fried garlic mixed in. It’s so absolutely so freaking amazing I have ordered it more than once. I have also tried the green eggplant curry – which is yummers, too.

The Nam Tok (grilled beef salad with burnt rice) is also great. Though I wouldn’t really call it a salad. It’s thin rare beef pieces served on a huge leaf of lettuce with an artfully carved carrot flower on the side. But it is still great and worth the $13. The flavor of the beef is enough on its own to get me to order this dish again and again.

Madame Elephant has rich flavors that permeate everything from broths to curries to each morsel of meat – everything is delectable. But don’t forget your manners and blow the date by licking your plate. It’s SO unladylike.

Bonus – the owners are always there and always wanting you to have a great dinning experience. The servers are also sweeties that will cater nicely to you if they know you as a regular.

Antibonus – the acoustics suck for a restaurant so it’s loud. I don’t recommend it when you’re hung over and there is a screaming baby seated 2 tables away. Okay – the second hangover antibonus is that they don’t have COFFEE. WTF?! Sure, the place is Thai – but we live in Canada and it’s 2010.

Yes – you are correct there is not a picture of the food. I have been slacking off hard. Though I have been to this restaurant 4 times I have neglected to bring my camera every single time. That goes for several of my recent reviews. Sorry. Above is a picture of how beautiful Thai beaches are. And below I have included a handy map so you can find Thailand on your journeys.

Madame Elephant is open each day from 12-3 for lunch and 5-10 for dinner. My understanding is that Thailand is open 24/7.


Perfect pairing:

Sea Wolf – Leaves in the river.

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