I’m always on the hunt for good Thai food in northern Bergen County, and so far the best and most consistent meals that I’ve eaten have come from Pimaan Thai Restaurant in Emerson. Traditional Thai cuisine is known for its balance of five flavor profiles – hot, sour, sweet, salty, and bitter(sometimes). As much as I like Thai cuisine, I happen to not like hot and spicy foods, which are often associated with the different types of red and green Thai curries. I also happen to not like the curry spice (despite considering myself a foodie), but if that’s a key element that makes your palate crave Thai food, Pimaan Thai has an extensive selection of curries on their menu, all of which can be moderated per your prefence of heat.
Spiciness aside, I love the combination of sweet, sour, and salty, and Pimaan Thai Restaurant manages to achieve perfection with this triangle of flavors in many of their dishes. Perhaps the most common Thai dish is Pad Thai, and Pimaan’s Pad Thai is spectacular. They serve this dish with a lemmon wedge, which you must squeeze over your noodles before eating to tie in the sour element. I’ve had my fair share of Pad Thai over the years, but what keeps me ordering Pimaan’s version is the way the flavors don’t fully come through until your second or third bite. The flavor triangle that I love so much is mellow, which I find to be dangerously addicting. I always promise myself that I’ll leave a portion for leftovers, but then I end up eating the whole dish anyway.
Pimaan Thai also happens to have an incredible ginger sauce. Listed under the entrees section of the menu, you can order the ginger sauce with chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, squid, scallops, or a mixed seafood comination. The ginger flavor is added to an oyster sauce base and cooked with mushrooms and scallions. You may be thinking to yourself that you can get this at the Chinese place around the corner, but wait until you try this dish. The ginger flavor is powerfully fresh, making a spicy-sweet explosion in your mouth. Unfortunately, Pimaan Thai does not serve their entrees with the traditional jasmine rice, but they do have the healthier brown rice option, which I prefer anyway.
I’ve found that many of the Thai restaurants around this part of the county don’t have Mee Krob on their menus. Well not only does Pimaan Thai have Mee Krob, but the portion is huge and it’s served to crispy, sticky perfection. As I said before, I’m not too keen on spicy foods, but I love Pimaan’s Tom Kha Gai soup. To me, this soup is the perfect culmination of the five flavor profiles. I also love the Thai Salad. You may be wondering why I would waste my money on a salad from a Thai restaurant, but once you taste the unique flavor of the peanut dressing, you’ll understand why.
Pimaan Thai Restaurant is located on Kinderkamack Road in Emerson, just north of the Oradell border. There is parking in the back, but drivers beware…the lot is very cramped and when the restaurant is busy (which is often) it’s difficult finding a spot yet alone maneuvering into one. Ironically, I have never eaten a sit-down meal at Pimaan Thai, but as a true testament to spectacular cuisine, the food is always fresh, hot, and tasty by the time I get home and dig in.
So whether you’re in the mood for take-out or you need to make dinner plans with friends, Pimaan Thai is the perfect place to get your Thai food fill. It’s conveniently located in the center of northern Bergen County, the menu is huge, and did I mention that it’s a BYOB? Try Pimaan out for yourself and you’ll see why I think this is the best Thai food around.
Here is the restaurant’s contact information:
79 Kinderkamack Road, Emerson
Tel: (201) 967-0440 or (201) 967-0545
And here is a copy of the menu: