Continuing with my food adventures in Nelson, I found myself crossing off another Asian offering. This time it was Thai at Busaba Thai Cafe.
Here, I found this the most authentic Asian restaurant out of all the others I tried in the Kootenays. And I enjoyed the food so much so that I ended up visiting them twice. Especially after learning that the new owners were dedicated to making their menu more authentic and that they are originally from Vancouver. They had moved to Nelson 6 months ago to take over Busaba. They currently have two main chefs, one use to be the head chef at Kinkao restaurant and other worked at Meanam in Vancouver.
And even without that insider knowledge, everything on the menu looked so good that I wanted to try everything, and more so after the first go.
On my first visit I had the Keow Waan green curry with eggplant, bell pepper, Thai basil, lime leaves, kachai, and my choice of protein. I went with the chicken over tofu and the add on of prawns for extra. The broth was delicious with heavy coconut milk and an additional dollop of coconut cream on top. The chicken was a little on the tougher side, as is typical with such curries. All forgivable, as I especially liked how the eggplant was still raw for a firmer chew that paralleled the sharp red peppers.
The order doesn’t automatically comes with rice. Thankfully the server knew to mention this. Instead of adding on a bowl of regular coconut or jasmine rice, I opted for one of their fried rice dishes, to be able to try more of their menu. Plus, I figured that you can’t have curry without rice and I would hate to pay for one that is plain when I can have one dressed.
My server persuaded me on the Chicken Railway Fried Rice stating that this was her favourite. It is jasmine rice with egg, garlic, green onion, white onion, broccoli, tomato, cilantro, black pepper, and chicken. I have been only eating out for the whole week so at this point was craving vegetables and was happy to get some firm ones here. Including the raw cucumber used as freshness chase. The chicken was tougher from the wok stir fry, but I did enjoy its light soy flavour. In hindsight I should have gotten something more specific to the restaurant.
And alas, I did end up ordering a bowl of coconut rice for my curry, as the fried rice was so flavourful that it masked the flavour of the amazing curry. I am sure I won’t make that mistake again.
And of course, I had to try their Pad Thai with noodles, egg, beansprouts, and green onion; with 4 protein options at an additional $2-4 more. I went with shrimp and got 4 large pieces for $4, making it $1 each. My favourite protein with pad Thai is shrimp, so I had no regrets, as this was a delicious plate of it. Starchy noodles with raw bean sprout for added crispiness and chopped peanuts for crunch. And with a squeeze of lime, all the flavours became bolder. This was an excellent rendition and one I would go back for more of, if in Vancouver. As I have yet to find my favourite spot for Pad Thai in Vancouver.
And I had to do it, I came back the very next day to order their Pad See Ew, for my meals ahead. My work shift was scheduled well before any breakfast options opened for the day and there aren’t any I wanted to entertain at the airport before my flight. I also wanted their Khao Soi, but figured I couldn’t travel with it, as the curry broth would be considered liquids an not acceptable as carry on.
I was seriously impressed by the flavours and authenticity, and continued to be just as much, the next day with the following.
The Pad See Ew was not what I expected visually, but an interesting and original take all their own. Mini rice rolls instead of flat rice noodles, chicken, broccoli, and black pepper. It was super tasty and my style of comforting eating with crispy veggies, chewy protein and silky noodles.
The chicken satay special with peanut sauce was so tender that it made up for the other dry chicken before. The peanut sauce was more spicy than sweet, a smoother texture but still chunky for an easier scoop.
Truly, their menu had me wishing this was an option back in Vancouver. But alas, at least I get to bring their leftovers home with me. Highly recommend Busaba for authentic Asian cuisine in Nelson.
Busaba Thai Cafe
198 Baker St, Nelson, BC V1L 4H2, Canada