There was time when what most excited me about Thai food was incendiary spice levels. I still love a good spicy Thai dish, but what gets me going these days are noodles and Thai desserts. Yes, there are Thai places in New York City where the pinnacle of dessert is fried ice cream. Thankfully Elmhurst’s Little Bangkok is not such a place. In fact it’s home to two of my favorite places for Thai dessert, Plant Love House and the aptly named Sugar Club.
Plant Love House’s dessert menu runs to thick Thai toast laded with ice cream and showy creations served on sizzle platters, but one of my favorites is Plant Love ice cream ($6). When I first tried i tim kai kang, as it’s called in Thai, it consisted of little more than coconut ice cream topped with frozen egg yolk. Last week when I ordered it I was presented in a flower pot containing the ice cream and egg along with red bean, black grass jelly, young coconut, and whipped cream. It eats like a lovely Thai take on an ice cream sundae.
Sugar Club is also a haven for Thai treats like a decidedly elaborate version of mango sticky rice. The other day I tried something called banana egg pancake ($5), or roti kuay kai. Banana and egg are not the first two ingredients I’d combine in such a manner, but it works and quite well.
The bananas are sandwiched between layers of roti and egg. The whole “pancake” is cooked to a golden brown hue and then lashed with condensed milk and sprinkled with sugar.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we’re living in the golden age of Thai desserts, folks.
Plant Love House, 86-08 Whitney Ave., Elmhurst, 718-565-2010
Sugar Club, 81-18 Broadway, Elmhurst, 718-865-9018