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August 16, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Warning: watery eyes, runny nose and tingly mouth are all side effects of eating just one bite of roasted duck red curry at Chim’s Thai Kitchen.
Chim’s is the only place in Columbia that offers the dish. It’s popular among Thai diners who have long embraced the spicy flavor of this entree to the point that some even consider it to be mild. But make no mistake: It’s hot by Columbia standards.
Where: Chim’s Thai Kitchen: Nifong Square, 3907 Peach Tree Drive; downtown, 201 N. Tenth St.
Call: 777-8626 (Nifong), 355-9590 (downtown)
Cost: $9.99 lunch, $11.99 dinner
Owner and chef Pramuan “Chim” Duncan prepares the made-to-order dish for customers, who can see into her kitchen and watch the meal being made. Employees hustle around in the small, crowded space while speaking rapidly in Thai to one another and assisting the cook in her preparation.
The duck comes from Wholesale Foods in St. Louis and is sent to Chim, who chops it into bite-size pieces and mixes it with a number of other flavor-packed ingredients. A colorful combination of roasted duck, juicy tomato, sweet pineapple, crunchy bamboo shoots, red and green bell peppers, Thai basil and coconut milk makes up the chunky mixture. The ingredients are then drenched in red curry sauce. To meet customers’ individual preferences, Chim’s offers the curry in levels of spiciness that range from three through 10, with three being mild yet still spicy. Vox opted for the level five, which left our taste buds tingling.
A side of white rice is included to complement the duck curry and counteract its heat.
If customers can’t handle having their tongues ablaze for prolonged periods, Chim’s daughter, Pantipa “Boo” Wadtananussorn, recommends ordering a glass of sweet, creamy Thai tea to go with the entree. “It’s spicy, so you want something to bring it down,” she says.
After putting out the fire in your mouth, take a look at the dessert menu for something much cooler — if you haven’t lost your sense of taste.