As a white dude who’s made a career eating through the many Southeast Asian eateries of Elmhurst, Queens, I lack the same perspective on the food as those born in Thailand, or in this case Indonesia, and sometimes stay away from what I mistakenly perceive to be boring homestyle dishes. When I saw a picture of “Thai scrambled eggs” on the Instagram feed of my friend Nigel “Moon Man” Sielegar, who hails from Indonesia, I knew I’d be heading to Teacup Cafe soon to try this classic Thai comfort food. Sielegar and I are so likeminded or likestomached that our respective Instagram posts often spur one of us to try a meal—Southeast Asian or otherwise—that the other has posted.
Since I’m always hungry for foods from Esan and Chiang Mai I’ve only had a Thai omelet once before, plus I haven’t seen it on that many menus. (Although I was a fan of the egg pan or kai kra ta at the dear departed Sugar Club). As I sipped on a Vietnamese coffee in the funky casual dining room of Teacup Cafe, I heard and smelled the sounds of egg cookery.
The result was a craggy sunny hued blob shot through with red onion, cilantro, imitation crab meat, and ground pork. For good measure there was a little bit of black pepper sprinkled in the center. As I was conducting the requisite photo shoot I was pleased to see a generous portion of white rice, peeking out from the blanket of egg. There was a time when I struggled to eat as much rice as my Chinese and Southeast Asian dining companions, these days my appetite for the stuff is boundless.
After a goodly lashing of Shark Brand Sriracha, it was time to dig in. Spicy and comforting it made for a great late breakfast. The scrambled eggs at Teacup Cafe will never approach the level of the Michelin-starred crab omelet at Bangkok’s Jay Fai, but that’s not the point, the chill atmosphere of Teacup more than makes up for the lack of Michelin star food quality.
There is also one other thing besides being a white dude that has kept me away from Teacup’s comfort food. I am absolutely smitten by the funky atmosphere and boat noodle soups at its neighbor Pata Bar. And when this farang falls for a food, he falls hard.
Teacup Cafe, 76-23 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst, 718-426-2222