Friends of mine know that while I love the smell of spices, I can only handle so much spice in my food. I’ve stayed away from Thai food for a long time, only because I know a lot of their food usually include lots and lots of spice. Before my friend’s wedding in Pakistan, even large pieces of ground black pepper burned my tongue. I could taste even a hint of spice added to a dish or bowl of soup.
I’ve recently indulged my slight tolerance for spice by dining at Ting Thai Caravan near Bristo Square with some friends.
I like to book a table where possible, but when I phoned I was told they didn’t take bookings. We arrived early to hopefully get a table and it didn’t take long for me to realise why. When you arrive, the waiting staff scan the small seating area for available seats and you’re seated at a table with other guests.
This might sound strange, but this is what typically happens with street ‘restaurants’. In Hong Kong, kitchens are set up with an area for preparing ingredients and food is cooked in a wok over a gas stove on a trolley. Noodles are cooked quickly and nothing served takes longer than 10-15 minutes. With street food establishments, they only have a limited amount of space, so patrons usually share tables and are served quickly (normally within 10-15 minutes) so turnaround is rapid. Ting Thai Caravan reminds me of this.
There is a smaller kitchen area in the shop where guests can see the chefs at work while waiting staff are busy checking on guests to make sure they have what they need.
There was a wide range of choice for main courses as well as starters, it was quite hard to choose. Eventually we made our choices, but we decided to choose one for the night and come back another time to sample the other dishes.
moo yang (caramelised sticky pork with sesame, honey, coriander, palm sugar, nam pla and chilli pickle)
Pad Thai Pak (mixed vegetables with Pad Thai – flat rice noodles with peanut, egg, nam pla, palm sugar, tamarind, bean sprouts and chilli)
Pad Thai Goong (Pad Thai noodles with king prawns)
I had the prawn Pad Thai which was really good. It didn’t seem like there was a lot of sauce at first, but the noodles were in no way dry. Without being too oily, the pad thai noodles were just right. The sticky pork rice looked really good too but I was craving some typical Thai noodle dish. The portion sizes were probably just right too; we were already struggling a bit with the amount of food, but I managed to clean my takeaway box.
For your taste of Thai street food, Ting Thai Caravan is open 11:30am to 10pm Sunday to Thursday, and till 11pm Fridays and Saturdays. They can be found at 8-9 Teviot Place in the Old Town, EH1 2QZ. You can also phone 0131 225 9801 with any enquiries.