Many of my culinary adventures at IU happen somewhere along 4th Street, the proclaimed ethnic food hub of Bloomington, and for good reason too—the “Fourth Street Restaurant Row” is home to more than ten cozy eateries that offer delectable international cuisine at fairly reasonable prices. One of these places is Siam House, where I recently had lunch with a friend. Located mere minutes from the Sample Gates, Siam House is a Thai restaurant that offers everything from signature curry dishes to classic favorites like Pad Thai.
While authentic Thai food is known for being heavy on spices and herbs, the Siam House menu allows for some customization. The customer may choose the spice level on a scale from 1 star to 5 stars, with 1 being not-spicy-at-all to 5 being pretty-darn-spicy. The extensive menu includes a large number of soups, curries, stir-fried dishes, and vegetarian dishes. Many people order hot jasmine tea upon arriving at the restaurant. The tea is wonderfully fragrant, comes with small dishes of honey, and is a great palate cleanser.
There are many dishes that are under the ten dollar mark, but most of the curries and signature Siam House dishes are around $15. The portions for these dishes are also quite large, so depending on how hungry you are, you may choose to share a dish with a friend, while cutting the price of your meal in half! We ordered the gang chu-chee, a “red sweet cream curry with coconut milk, served on a bed of cooked bok choy and spinach.” All of the entrees are served with jasmine rice and your choice of meat (usually chicken, beef, or pork).
Depending on how packed the restaurant is and how much food is ordered, the dishes will take around to 20 minutes to arrive. On weekdays, when there is also a $7.99 lunch buffet being served from 11 am to 2 pm, service can be a bit slower. Chances are, though, it will be worth the wait.
Finally, Siam House serves a number of tropical desserts, including Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango and a vanilla ice cream parfait of sweetened taro root, plantains and red beans. We tried the former, which was a bed of sticky jasmine rice topped with coconut milk, mango sauce, and sesame seeds. While it was not overwhelmingly sweet, it was delicious (and colorful!).
If you’re stuck in the food court rut and want to try something fresh and flavorful, head out to 4th Street to experience the vibrant atmosphere at Siam House.
Reviewed by Shaina Pan