A pan of fresh hot pad Thai or a spicy curry goat soup? If these dishes make your mouth water or at least get you intrigued, head on down to Diamond Thai. The restaurant is a diamond in the rough, cozily tucked away in Sioux City’s industrial ghetto. Getting there can be scary, but a happy little Buddha statue will greet you with a smile and salute you with good luck if you leave him something.
To call it “an authentic Thai food experience” would be an understatement. When we opened the door, a 4-foot 4-inch tall woman greeted us with a cheery smile and a “Herro! How many?” That was the extent of her English because through a series of complex gestures we understood that to order our food we were to point at the menu while she corrected our American Thai pronunciation. “Pad Kraa Prroooaw, please,” said my friend. “Oh! Pad Kra Pow. Spishjy? Or no spishjy?” she said. She made sure to ask each of us how hot we preferred our dishes: they were distinguished by categories No, Some, Medium or Really Spicy.
My friend ordered the Pad Kra Praow, and was delighted by the fresh appearance, spicy and savory taste and the quick service. My wife ordered the Pad Thai, no spicy. She enjoyed her meal of chicken and pad thai noodles with a slightly spicy peanut sauce. I ordered the Spicy Wok Noodle really spicy and boy, were they hot. I had tears in my eyes and mucus flowing from my nostrils. I drank five glasses of water. Luckily, the owner kept filling them up.
The food is high quality and tastes homemade. Diamond Thai is owned by a Sioux City man who takes great care in keeping his customers happy. The dining environment is comfortable. It is decorated like a fancy restaurant on a dollar store budget. While it might not be a place to go on that hot date with the freshman girl from your sister wing, it does have a charm that your closer friends will appreciate.
The prices are reasonable, too. Most dishes fall between seven and 10 dollars. The drinks are killer, especially their Thai iced tea: a strong red tea with cream.
There are vegetarian options and even a small but interesting dessert menu: Thai Pumpkin Custard, Fried Banana ‘n Ice Cream and Coconut sweet rice with Thai’s Egg Custard.
Here are a few other helpful tips: Don’t order a can of coconut milk; it’s not what you’re hoping for. If you want to breathe fire, go with the Really Spicy. And if you’re a weenie, go with some or medium spice.
There are also some stipulations you should be aware of: If you’re using a credit or debit card, you have to spend at least 15 dollars. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, its hours are from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.
The Bottom Line: Diamond Thai is a great place to go with friends if you’re looking for a new ethnic food to try or a new spicy challenge.