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Snack on half a chicken at Thai Lotus

I "discovered" (read: accidentally stumbled across) Thai Lotus a couple of years back when, hungry for something that wasn't necessarily Italian food, I wandered into the strip mall at Belleview and Yosemite probably most famous for being the place where Venice Ristorante got its start and found myself standing in front of the door to a Thai restaurant that I'd probably walked by a dozen times without ever really noticing it was there.

That door led in to Thai Lotus, and since I first opened it, I've never again had to go without a little Southeast Asian snack when I wanted one.

Snacks, for whatever reason, are often what I think of when I think of Thai Lotus. Triangular curry puffs like rangoons stuffed with Indian samosa filling, all yellow curry and potatoes, onion, carrot and ground chicken; Thai-style dim sum dumplings still hot and damp from the steamer; skewers of chicken satay and simple fried shrimp turned somehow pillowy and soft in their panko jackets and served with a side of Thai sweet and spicy sauce that hits you in the mouth with an unusual and unexpected balance of the two. Yes, the kitchen cooks up an entire menu — seven kinds of curry, six salads, stir-fry entrees and all the traditional noodle dishes common to the transplanted Thai canon — but I come for a hot and greasy plate of fried shrimp when hot and greasy is exactly what I'm craving, for soup (tom yum with galangal and lemongrass), and, especially, for the house-special rotisserie chicken: half a chicken, hacked into chunks of tender, juicy white meat still on the bone, shreds of soft, herb-rubbed skin, and a bowl of Thai sweet-hot sauce — a strange and almost nutty jewel-red sauce flecked with bits of red chile, like tiny flaws in a liquid ruby.

Last week, I stopped by Thai Lotus and ordered the chicken. I wanted a snack, and I got a big one, consuming half a chicken, skin and all. It was a delicious way to take a pause in my day: a messy, finger-licking, completely satisfying one-plate lunch that was just as good now as it had been when I first stumbled across Thai Lotus years ago.

 
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