New(ish) eats: Opal Thai

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Yes, we know Opal Thai moved out of its old food truck and into permanent new digs back in October. We’re just glad we finally got back there to check it out. Here’s our report.

Opal Thai

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Opal Thai moved out of its truck! OK, it's old news, but a thrill nonetheless, so much so that we tried three times to get back to Haleiwa for a timely review of possibly the best Thai food on the island.

The backstory: Last year, during our M&M eats: North Shore adventure, Melissa Chang and I discover a gem of a Thai food truck in a swamp along Kam Highway. When we hear Opal's has graduated to a permanent spot in the Long's complex across the highway, it's clear a fuller review is in order.

Back in November, four of us converge on Opal Thai on a Tuesday, only to find that Opel Sanith has just decided to close on Tuesdays. We reschedule for the week after New Year's, but heavy deadlines force half of us to cancel. In February massive surf rolls in, clogging North Shore roads and thwarting that trip.

And then one miraculous day there's no surf, no deadlines and Opal Thai is open. We're almost grateful.

The lineup for our all-girls North Shore eatfest: Nonstop's Diane Seo, me, Lena Hanson, Nonstop's Melissa Chang, Renee Gutierrez and Sakura.

Opal Thai
66-197C Kamehameha Hwy
808-637-7950

If you missed M&M eats: North Shore, here’s the video and photo gallery.

21 comments
Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

I forgot to add a comment regarding the soup (and remember, I'm not into soup): We were blown away at the layers of flavor in the Tom Yum. Usually, the soup is just sour. That's it. This one is complex. There's sour, there's floral, there's savory, and ... oh, something else. But the different flavors release on your palate in layers with each spoonful. You actually kind of forget that you're eating (OK, well, drinking) and end up taking in the experience of the bowl.

808pooh
808pooh

puffies? that is the bomb!

turkfontaine
turkfontaine

i've always wondered why there are many more Thai restaurants in CA than there are Viet.  there are about four times as many Viet Americans here than Thai Americans. and those Thai restaurants are not clustered in Thai neighborhoods like LA's tiny Thai-town in East Hollywood. they're in mall food courts and strip centers and downtown banking centers. i even know two Marin Thai restaurants that are owned by Vietnamese.

 

fried basil? i must try that.

LenaHanson
LenaHanson

I always have an amazing experience at Opal's! He's never let me down! YUM!!! Too bad I missed the snow puffies! 

InsomniaGirl
InsomniaGirl

I prefer Rajanee Thai Cuisine in Mililani over Opal's for flavors and offerings. They have a great specialty menu that is only available on their FB page. You guys should check that place out too!

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

EO:  OK, I am not an aficionado of Thai fuuds and I shy away because of the reputation for being super hot and spicy...some of the pix appear to be not really spicy.  Do they make stuff with mild or medium spice?  I remember your post on this place from before and now I am intrigued.  Oh, there is one thing I really like is sticky rice.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @Melissa808 v interesting. i remember u coughed when trying the bangkok chef tom yum goong; too sour. i look for sour, spicy and sweet, and then the undertones of shrimp, mushrooms, etc., so actually like that stronger, simpler, head-clearing profile.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@808pooh TOTALLY. THE. BOMB.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @turkfontaine are u sure there are more thai than vnese restos in calif? i always thot there were huge concentrations of vnese restos in parts of orange county. i hear it's the mecca of vnese food outside of vn, w small specialty restos i can only dream abt from here. vnese places outnumber thai in hnl and are run by vnese. otoh, many of our thai restos are run by laotians, while i can't think of any laotian restos here.

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

 @Annoddah_Dave Dave! You need to expand your horizons! They make um mild (I don't like spicy). There's more to Thai food than sticky rice. When you try the other stuff you'll be sad at all the years you missed out on Thai food!

turkfontaine
turkfontaine

 @nonstopmari true. that in Westminster, OC, along Bolsa it's walla walla VN restaurants, cause that town is big time Viet. but out in the hinterlands, in hill towns, hick towns and hillbilly burgs, there always seems to be a Thai place. also, have you ever noticed that there are beaucoup prepared or easy to prepare packaged Thai dishes at supermarkets like Trader Joe and Whole Foods?

InsomniaGirl
InsomniaGirl

 @nonstopmari

 Thanks, Mari! I know I've taken a few recs from your list, so glad to be of help :) Opal does his thing quite well, but I preferred the flavors and serving portions when he was still a truckie.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @Annoddah_Dave these flavors are lighter than most thai in town. if u know what to order, u will find dishes w/ a good blend of citrus, fresh herbs and fish sauce that doesn't overwhelm the flavor of the ingredients. and it can come w/ zero spice if u ask. it's worth expanding ur horizons!

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @turkfontaine tj and wf? those aren't thai, they're faux-thai. i think tj does a better job w/ those.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @InsomniaGirl ditto re the portions, tho i hadn't visited the truck enough to know the flavors better. a definite bright spot, tho, along w/ dishes at thai herb kitchen, maile's, siam garden. maybe a roundup is in order...

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

 @nonstopmari OK, we went over the weekend.  Yup, not overly spiced as Opel recommended a couple of dishes to match my experience.  It was very tasty with subtle flavors...very very guud fuud!  They gave added spice which Mel liked, for me it was guud enough as is.  Winnah winnah chicken dinnah!