Simply Siam – Finding Thai Food in Rural Missouri

When traveling away from home, DSH and I like to avoid chain restaurants and find local restaurants with good food.  We have eaten at a wide variety of restaurants in our travels, but I can’t remember a single time when we’ve been disappointed.

We often get recommendations from locals or former residents, and the places we’ve eaten have often been located in unassuming buildings.  By unassuming I mean run-down shacks, old fast food restaurants, strip mall joints, and the like.

When my daughter decided to attend college in a little town in northwest Missouri, Maryville, we started checking out the local eating establishments.  They have the requisite sit-down chain restaurant (yes, one of them) and a number of standard fast food joints.

But they also have a BBQ place, a Mandarin (aka Chinese) restaurant, a sports bar (yes, one official sports bar and a number of college bars), a Greek / American (the fine dining spot) restaurant, and a Thai restaurant.

After several visits, we’ve managed to eat at most of these places.  On my most recent visit, we went to the Thai restaurant called Simply Siam.

I don’t know if we would have visited this place if I had not run across an article (which I can now not find) that included a review of this restaurant that said they offered the best Thai food in rural Missouri.  I tucked this information away for future reference, and when I visited My Baby the Bearcat for a Mom’s Day event, we decided to try it out.

I really, really wish I had taken a picture of the outside of this restaurant.  It is located in a run-down former fast food restaurant.  It is so unassuming that it would be an easy spot to pass up.  There are only about 8 tables in the place, but it was crowded at dinner time.  That’s always a good sign.

My Baby the Bearcat was skeptical.  She doesn’t like spicy food and Thai food is the spicy cousin to Asian cuisine.

Simply Siam Thai egg rolls.

We started out with homemade Thai egg rolls that were handrolled that day and freshly cooked to order.  They were served with a sweet and spicy sauce.  These veggie delicacies were delicious!

Simply Siam Pad Thai.

I figured an order of Pad Thai would be a safe bet for my kid, but I ordered the Pra tod Kratiem prig thai (deep fried fish with garlic and black pepper).  When I told the waitress that I wanted to try one of the fish dishes, she warned me that they cook and serve WHOLE fish including the head and everything.  After I assured her that this didn’t scare me, she recommended the garlic pepper fish.

Now, here is the thing.  In our country, we are used to eating our food stripped down.  No skin, no bones, no flavor.  We take everything out and off our food and then add flavor back on with spices and marinades.  Truly, there is nothing better than cooking your food in whole pieces to get the best flavor and retain the most moisture.

Pra tod Kratiem prig thai before

When my fish came out, you could tell that it was a fish.  We started to dig in before I realized we needed a picture!  Seriously, after you cut through the crispy outer crust, the white flesh was moist and flavorful and not at all greasy as the skin prevented the oil from penetrating to the interior.

Pra tod Kratiem prig thai after.

My Baby the Bearcat and I ignored the Pad Thai until after the fish was picked clean.  She loved the garlic peppery moist flavor of the tender white meat of the fish.  And neither one of us was grossed out by being served a whole fish to eat.  That’s what I love about my kids – they may sometimes be skeptical about trying new foods, but when they do they appreciate it.

So, if you are ever in Maryville, Missouri, try out Simply Siam.  They have plenty of non-fish options, and everything we saw them bring out looked amazing.  The menu has something for everyone whether they be vegetarian, vegan, or need a gluten free option.

And, while the wait staff was non-Asian, the cooks, and several of the patrons were Asian.  This is another good sign, to me, when the patrons of an ethnic restaurant are of the same ethnicity as the food that is being prepared.

So, if you ever find yourself in Maryville, Missouri, try out Simply Siam and if you find yourself in a new town or city anywhere in the world, take a look around and ask questions.  You never know when you might find a diamond in the rough restaurant that serves great food in an out-of-the-way spot.

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