Deriving its name from the Thai word soi, which means local street, the culinary team at Soi 9 Thai Eatery strive to share their favorite dishes from street vendors and small restaurants in Thailand. Meat, seafood, and veggies adorn stir-fries and curries prepared with a modern twist, while specialties such as boat-noodle soup and crispy whole fish flaunt tastes traditional enough to be served in a Bangkok street cart. The majority of Soi 9's meat- and seafood-laden entrees can also be transformed into vegan-friendly or gluten-free meals simply by asking your server or wishing on the evening’s first spring-roll-shaped star. On hectic Portland Timbers game nights, crowds stream into the sleek dining space, which is peppered with minimalist furniture, pillow-strewn leather booths, and brightly colored drop lighting.
The bamboo steamers sit conspicuously behind the glass counter, spirals of steam escaping their closed lids as guests peer at the expansive menu and consider their options. There are three types of dumplings and four kinds of bao filled with the likes of barbecue pork, Szechuan chicken, coconut custard, and adzuki bean paste. In addition, the menu offers pad thai noodles and banh mi sandwiches. Guests sip loose-leaf teas to complement the meals, soaking in the sun from the large windows or out on the sidewalk patio.
Owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Mao and Ting, E-San prepares rich cultural cuisine from Thailand’s Issan region. The extensive dinner menu consists of tasty tod, pad, and yum options that are distinctively Thai with Laotian influences. After an appetizer such as the deep-fried thai fish cake with cucumber sauce ($6), extend your tongue toward the yum goong salad, which features boiled shrimp prepared with tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and lemongrass ($10). Then, feast on the roasted duck curry, a serving of quacker cooked with red curry sauce, pineapple chunks, bamboo, and other greens ($13.50). Mao and Ting spend their mornings chasing down the day’s culinary necessities, ensuring that each menu item is prepared with nimble fingers and crisp, fresh ingredients.