If you’re in the mood for simple, kid-friendly, tasty Thai, then hop in your tuk tuk and head over to WHOOPI for authentic, Thai cuisine on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield. Owners Tom and Helen Chaimahavong opened their latest haunt (named for their son whose nickname is Whoopi) mid 2015 and are the former owners of THAISAB in New Haven. Natives of Bangkok, Tom and Helen have mastered the ins and outs of their native cuisine while keeping dishes simple and novice-friendly. WHOOPI is not fancy Thai, and it’s not for the super adventurous; it is simply yummy Thai fare that is great for lunch with the kids, a laid back dinner with friends or a great take-out/delivery option. The space is small but cozy and we enjoyed our meal! Here is how it went down…
It was a chilly, winter morning when we visited so we started with a bowl of TOM YUM GOONG - a hearty and rather spicy shrimp soup with plenty of lemongrass and chunks of fresh veggies. Although the temperature wasn’t quite hot enough for my asbestos tongue, the heat from the spices warmed me to the bone. The shrimp were plump and tasty and cooked to perfection and the addition of lots of sweet, crunchy red peppers offset the tang of the lemongrass. It was a party for the taste buds.
Then, onward to the main courses and, as usual, we ordered plenty. First to the table was the SAUTEED BASIL CHICKEN. Here, chicken slices were tossed with a light, basil and scallion sauce and, again, crunchy, red peppers were added for texture and a touch of sweetness. There were PLENTY of onions in this dish - perhaps a few too many- as they tended to overpower just a bit. Fewer onions and more sauce and this dish would have been elevated to the “must have” list.
Next up was the PAD SEE EW. Again, we ordered with chicken as there were not many shrimp-lovers at this visit. This traditional noodle dish, created with flat noodles and a sweet, soy sauce was my favorite of the day and would surely be a kid pleaser, even for first-time Thai-tasters. Broccoli, carrots and egg are mixed in with whichever meat you choose. Similar to PAD THAI but without the peanut and bean sprouts, WHOOPI’S See Ew was delish.
Our final pick of the day was the GREEN CURRY. What makes it green? The green curry paste is traditionally made by pounding together green chilies, shallots, garlic, galangal (similar to ginger,) lemongrass, kaffir lime peel, cilantro, cumin, shrimp paste and salt/pepper. This paste is mixed with coconut milk and, voila! With any curry at WHOOPI, the guest may choose chicken, shrimp, salmon, duck, beef, mixed veg or tofu. The soft, green, creamy base is the perfect host for the meat or veg of your choice and bell pepper, bamboo shoots and basil come along for the ride. Tasty and filling, green curry is always a go-to choice for most Thai lovers and the curry at WHOOPI doesn’t disappoint. What WHOOPI’S lacked in thickness, it made up for in robust and satisfying, complex flavor.
There were plenty of options on the menu that we didn’t have time to try during our first meal at WHOOPI but will definitely be on the list for our next visit. If I bring the kids, we will definitely try the PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE, CHICKEN SATE and possibly the COCONUT SHRIMP. And we’ll most likely order some FRESH SUMMER ROLLS and STEAMED or FRIED DUMPLINGS. If take-out is in order, I will probably try the CHOO CHEE SNAPPER (with red curry and lime leaves) or the CHICKEN VOLCANO ( crispy chicken with pineapple and cashew in a sweet and chili sauce) and perhaps one of the fresh WHOOPI salads like the MANGO SALAD or the LARB CHICKEN SALAD.
The menu at WHOOPI is large and there are plenty of options for the whole family. There are lunch specials from 11:30-3:00 daily and the price is right! WHOOPI is open every day of the week from 11:30-9:30 Mon-Thurs and Sunday and from 11:30-10 Fri and Sat. WHOOPI, come on over to their PAD (for) THAI!
Whoopie Thai Cuisine 2449Black Rock Turnpike Fairfield 203-870-1888