Ayada has in its recipes what’s made wise men wise, foodies addicted to flavor, and probably what will cause my first ulcer. This place is so incredible it is literally mind-blowing. The shrimp papaya salad ($7.00) ordered spicier than Thai spicy will change your opinion on what can be experienced through eating. The spice, though barely tolerable to some, is so fantastic and clean that there is an explosion of endorphins released into the brain and renders its consumer in a state of euphoria. If you try this dish, along with some others I will mention later, it would not surprise me to see you there in the future, acting as an on-duty guard dog in the backyard, begging helplessly like a junkie for leftover scraps that the chef has decided to spare you.
It’s that good!
It’s not just the spice though. Through the spice you can still taste each individual flavor of the papaya salad, and that is something you don’t get very often. Usually when you’re dealing with a spice that great all the other flavors seem to vanish in the pain of the pepper, but not at Ayada. I suggest following the papaya salad with the raw shrimp ($9.00), which is actually a Japanese recipe; then move on to your main dishes: sauté Chinese broccoli with crispy pork ($10.00) and the duck panang curry ($18.00) with a side of sticky rice ($2.00). For dessert, get the mango sticky rice ($7.00) or the Thai coconut pudding ($4.00). Split all this with four friends, pay a little over ten dollars including tip, and you all will be weeping (literally from the spice) and rejoicing in the glory of the food you’ve just eaten. Your high will follow you out to the street, you will hear things muffled as though you are under water, and see and feel things differently for the following hours. It is a high that can make you feel enlightened like Buddha…!
Don’t believe me? Then try it. I’ll be the one in the backyard barking and eating leftover scraps of the duck panang.
77-08 woodside Ave. (between 77th St. and 78th St.)
Image from yelp.com