While the Great Wall of China may win the accolades of history, the Great Backscratcher of Thailand, built to reach any itchy corner across the vast, narrow expanse of the nation, saved more lives than can be counted on a single hand. Feast upon equally ingenious Thai creations with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Thai cuisine and drinks at Thaiku in Ballard.
Much like Thailand itself, Thaiku's menu comes loaded with traditional and authentic Thai delicacies; unlike Thailand, it contains few elephants. Kick-start your tummy's tuk-tuk with an appetizer such as giow tawt ($6.50)—crab and cream cheese wrapped in won ton and served with plum sauce—or the por sia sod ($6.50), a fresh salad and Chinese sausage roll wrapped in rice paper and topped with house hoisin sauce. Along with classic noodle dishes like pahd see iew ($8.50), adventurous diners can feel like they're eating from a genuine Bangkok street stall minus the backpack-shaped sweat stain on their back with an order of North Thailand's staple kao soy (fresh egg noodles in yellow curry and coconut broth, $8.95), guay tiow bed (a soup of rice noodles, sliced duck, rich anise, cinnamon, and sweet soy broth, $7.95), or the gai yaang ($12.95), a marinated chicken paired with sticky rice and a sweet green papaya salad.
Thaiku's cozy interior blends wooden beams and hanging lights with unexpected accents, like the rickshaw hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant's intimate back bar, Fu Kun Wu, lubricates awkward first-date conversations with specialty cocktails and herbal apothecary beverages, as well as late-night dining. Keep your mood chipper with the oolong tea-ni—black tea infused vodka, then shaken with lemon and sugar—or be bold and sample Thaiku's notorious patented cocktails made with the African herb yohimbe, which is considered to be both an aphrodisiac and mild hallucinogenic, similar to making out during a David Lynch movie. These hardcore herbals are literally not for the faint of heart, and Thaiku strictly limits them to one per customer. Live jazz adds an appropriately heady atmosphere for such cocktails on Wednesdays and Thursdays. And unlike your cousin's weekly Casio basement shows, there's no cover.
This deal is not valid with happy hour pricing.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer featured Thaiku. Zagat rated it “very good to excellent.” More than 170 Yelpers give the restaurant an average of four stars, and 82% of nearly 300 Urbanspooners recommend it:
- But most of the dishes here are great -- veggies are lightly cooked, dipping sauces have bright flavors and the presentations are colorful. Actually, the whole place is a colorful presentation. The walls and ceiling are painted plum and a rickshaw hangs from the ceiling. The room is divided with suspended slatted doors, chairs and wooden baskets. Orange and red light bulbs and white votives provide a subdued ambience. – Lisa Stiffler, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- The “coolest” Thai noodle house in Ballard, this “standard bearer” boasts “unusual dishes” and “three-alarm-fire” spicing, easily extinguished with the “killer” “yohimbe” herb cocktails – Zagat
- It's consistently amazing food and everything I've tried is incredible. – HappyGreenEater, Urbanspoon