100 Favorite Dishes: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor

Tom yum goong Thai Flavor.jpg
Lori Midson

No. 75: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor

When it comes to Thai cuisine in Denver, US Thai gets all the accolades, and while they're well-deserved, the beloved Thai temple in Edgewater has formidable -- and fierce -- competition, namely from Thai Flavor, a florescent-lit, brightly hued storefront anchored in a weathered Aurora mini-mall. The board is a listage of all the basic Thai dishes that we're familiar with, but with a few marked differences: Owner and chef Surin Thanon makes her curry pastes from scratch and the chiles -- intensely hot little suckers -- are grown in her own garden, and sometimes in the restaurant, during chile season.

Her food has a pronounced freshness, and her flavors are pungent and pure, in everything from the curries to her soups, including the tom yum goong, a bubbling cauldron of steam and fragrance that permeates the air with its fresh lemongrass and lime leaves. Stocked with shrimp, straw mushrooms, pulpy tomatoes and onions, it's a flavor blast that's both profoundly sour and wickedly hot, thanks to the dried chiles that float menacingly across the surface. Thanon doesn't shy away from searing her dishes with heat, and while you'll be breathing the kind of fire that numbs your lips and shocks your senses, it's a brilliant walk on the wild side.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:

No. 100: Italian wedding soup from the Squeaky Bean
No. 99: American Classic Burger (and fries) from Tarbell's
No. 98: E's clam linguini from Mangiamo Pronto
No. 97: Queso a la plancha taco from the Pinche Tacos wagon
No. 96: Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño poppers from Tony's Market
No. 95: Fried chicken from the Pinyon
No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro

No. 93: Posole from The Porker
No. 92: Breakfast Burrito from the Taco Wagon in Lafayette
No. 91: Hummus from Shish Kabob Grill
No. 90: Albondigas meatballs from Solera
No. 89: Lemon-ricotta doughnuts from Olivéa
No. 88: Döner kabob from Shondiz
No. 87: Roasted cauliflower salad from Euclid Hall
No. 86: Beef cheek enchiladas from El Diablo
No. 85: Fried Brussels sprouts from Panzano
No. 84: Pork osso buco from Osteria Marco
No. 83: Cazuela Colombiana from Cafe Brazil
No. 82: Chicken potpie from Devil's Food
No. 81: Sichuan braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma
No. 80: Larb nua from Taste of Thailand
No. 79: Pork shank from Argyll
No. 78: Truffo panino from Shangri-La Cafe
No. 77: Pig-snout tacos from Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet
No. 76: Speck and maple ice cream from Pizzeria Basta

In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact -- as a precursor to the Best of Denver 2010 issue. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up by the time the Best of Denver 2011 hits the streets on March 31. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at lori.midson@westword.com.

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Location Info

Thai Flavor Restaurant

1014 S. Peoria St., Aurora, CO

Category: Restaurant

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t. flavor is so good. i'm ready to make the one hour drive from the cultural wasteland of colorado springs.

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