She’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Sarah – Tuk Tuk Thai

tuk tuk thai restaurant, los angeles, ca

Tuk Tuk Thai

8875 Pico Boulevard (@ Swall Drive)
Los Angeles, CA 90035
310.860.1872
www.tuktukla.com

I’ve never read the book – the real book, titled He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys – but I don’t have to read it because I’m pretty sure I know what it’s about. The title alone is enough, and a former co-worker used to tell me all about it, all the time. Like all the time. Leaning over the short wall into my cubicle. Eating Doritos or some other office break room vending machine snack that makes a lot of noise. Dropping half-moist unnaturally nacho cheesy crumbs from his mouth onto my deck…

But I digress into corporate cubi-farm bitterness!

The author of the book (a guy, so he’s an “expert”) explains in a witty, readable, sometimes slightly harsh way that certain things that guys do, or don’t do, pretty much all point to the fact that he’s not that into you. The first line of Chapter One says it all: “he’s just not that into you if he’s not asking you out, because if he likes you, trust me, he will ask you out.” You should just stop trying to make excuses for the guy’s behavior. He doesn’t want to “ruin a friendship,” he’s not intimidated by you, he’s not trying to take it slowly, and he’s not a gentleman for giving you his number. He doesn’t want to call you. He’s just. Not. Into. You. Get over him and move on. Period.

I’ve written the same book, though it probably won’t get mentioned on Oprah.

It’s called She’s Just Not That Into You.

I am that She, and the book is a no-excuses guidebook for Thai food about how I’ll never really like it and that it should just move on to someone who will appreciate all those wonderful things about it that it’s giggling Asian girlfriends tell it that it has, but I just don’t see. *shrugs* Sorry. You see, I’m just not into Thai food. Trust me, if I liked it, the whole world would be hearing about it.

Previous dates and things I’ve said before might be mistaken for mixed signals, but seriously, they shouldn’t be used as excuses to keep waiting or hanging on. Thai food will make every excuse a woman has ever made to avoid admitting to herself that a guy just wasn’t crazy about her. But why? Women and Thai food can stop asking the question “What’s going on?” because here’s the answer: we’re just not that into you. Don’t say I’m confused about coconut, because I’m not. Don’t think I’m afraid of commitment. I have made a statement of undying love and adoration for Indian food.

I’ll be honest, I really wanted to be into Thai food so I gave it more than several chances. I thought there might have been something wrong with me because I didn’t love it. But, I felt this way about Thai since the first time I tried it and I guess I just didn’t want to hurt its feelings right away.

Basically, the message is that Thai food deserves a girl who truly loves it and not some alf-hassed sorry excuse for a food connoisseur. Thai food needs to be empowered – find a girl who will really love you for all the nasty lemongrass and cilantro you truly are. Because it sure isn’t going to be me.

I think the message became pretty clear to Thai food and to me, finally, after we went out for lunch at Tuk Tuk Thai, a Thai restaurant on Pico Boulevard in that nebulous area between Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that I call Kosherwood (that’s not to be obnoxious, it just so happens that the whole strip probably doesn’t have a slice of pork on it).

The restaurant itself is cute from the outside. In case you don’t know what a tuk tuk is, there’s a little tuk tuk, a Thai version of a rikshaw that’s motorized instead of bicycle-powered, that looks like it’s bursting out of the restaurant over the front door. And by the way, my first guess on the pronunciation, “took took,” and not “tuck tuck” was accurate.

The exterior made me think that Tuk Tuk Thai would be a playful, clamorous, almost cartoonish experience. The inside, however, is different. The space is classy, quiet, reserved. We sat down along one of the side walls in the fairly small dining room well-decorated with colorful artwork that seems to be the hallmark of slightly upscale Thai restaurants. Dark wooden table tops are un-clothed but polished, and each seat has a smart, sophisticated setting with clean white plates and folded cloth napkins. If Pottery Barn ever furnished Thailand, it’d probably look like the inside of Tuk Tuk Thai.

The menu too, is smart and modern. There are dishes that have the typical, familiar Thai names like larb (spicy minced meat), mee krob (crisp fried noodles), pad thai (soft rice noodles stir fried with vegetables and garnished with peanuts), satay (meat on skewers) and panang curry. There are also dishes that look like they are slightly foodie-forward, like a Thai interpretation of salmon – salmon panang.

(Just as a random side note, I will never order “panang” because I refuse to say it out loud because, here, why don’t you try it? Try saying “panang” out loud without thinking of…yes I have a dirty, immature mind. Sorry. Maybe I would order “panang” if I could write it out on the napkin and pass it to ther server.)

From what I could tell on the tables around us, the food at Tuk Tuk is cooked and served with slightly more attention to its presentation detail than I have seen at other Thai restaurants.

I found myself wondering what to order and unable to decide for a noticeable amount of time. Nothing sounded good to me. I’ve tried many of these things before in numerous other places and I just wasn’t wild about them. Thai flavors are slightly off for me. Cilantro is never a favorite herb, and with lime, while awesome in guacamole, doen’t do it for me in combination with fish sauce. I don’t love coconut in anything except desserts. Many times, I find myself forgiving of flavors with the promise of spiciness, but the heat level has always disappointed. I’m always
able to find something I can order in Thai restaurants, but I’m usually settling for something that is decidedly not Thai. As I sat there trying to figure out what to order, I think I finally realized and admitted to myself that, Sarah, you’re just not that into Thai. Now it’s just Thai’s turn to realize that, too.

tuk tuk thai restaurant, los angeles, ca - springroll
bias-cut is always flattering

We ordered Thai spring rolls to start. As I expected, they were presented artfully, placed atop a small pile of dark baby greens as a contrast, and cut on the bias to expose the cabbage, carrots and other vegetables inside. I jumped right in, and they pretty much tasted like a Spring roll from any Asian restaurant.

spicy stir fried tofu and green beans at tuktuk thai restaurant, los angeles, ca
no spark. no chemistry. not a match. (you get it)

So I stayed away from the typically Thai dishes and went with a simply spicy stir-fry of green beans and tofu. The beans were fresh and bright and looked lovely on the plate. I even saw enormous specks of what promised to set my tongue on fire – red pepper flakes. But the dish, though it certainly wasn’t bland, just didn’t have that spicy kick. No spark. I just — I don’t know — I just wasn’t into it.

tuk tuk thai restaurant, los angeles, ca - brown rice
it’s pretty, but just not for me

The other dishes on the table were more exciting to my companions who ordered them. Tuk Tuk Thai’s Bangkok Steak is something that seems to receive buzz out in the culinary underground, and even at our table. I just wasn’t into it.

(As another random side note, I have trouble saying “Bangkok” without giggling like an 11-year-old.)

Does this mean Tuk Tuk Thai was bad? Not at all. Like I said, the restaurant is nice, the staff is friendly, fast, and accommodating, and the food was not bad. In fact, the food might possibly be fantastic…for someone else. But for me? It’s just unfortunate that I’m just not into Thai food. Here’s my number. Call me.

And another thing, don’t think that “prettifying” by working out, wearing more makeup, wearing less clothing, and flipping your gorgeous long, sleek black hair will change her mind, Chan Dara. It’s a waste of time at the salon and energy. You miss the point entirely.

Guys (and Sarah) rarely, if ever, grow to love.

More About Tuk Tuk Thai Around the Web:
~ Tuk Tuk Thai’s menu on menupages
~ 84 reviews average to 5/5 stars on Citysearch
~ Only 3½ out of 5 stars from 93 reviews on Yelp
~ AssociatedContent dubs Tuk Tuk Thai the best Thai in Los Angeles

** this post originally published 01.12.2006 **

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  • Craig

    isn’t thai food so 80′s with Tommy Tang and all the Thai Dishes in town…also make up your mind, either stir fry or curry not both…LOL

    i think it is that split-non-committal attitude that turns you off, food should be a refuge from that type of attitude, leave the attitude to guys like me… :)

  • gary

    Hmmm, this place is on the way to work for me. I’ve seen the little scotter on the roof and just wondered about it. I might just try it for lunch.

    Just went to Delmonico’s across the street. Good thing a vendor picked up the tab.

  • Briana

    I have to say that Tuk Tuk is one of my favorite Thai restaurants in the city- never greasy and always flavorful. But that said, I love cilantro, lime and fish sauce- especially together. If you do find yourself there again, make sure to order the cocnut flan for dessert- a decidely non-thai dish that may have you ordering another after you’ve licked the plate. Not that I’ve ever done that. Not me.

  • Eve

    It’s too bad you don’t love that you don’t love thai because I agree with briana, Tuk Tuk is really good.

  • sarah

    craigm: you know, maybe that’s part of it with thai food, too! i’ve never thought that maybe the seafoam green and pale peach miami vice decor of thai dishes would subconcsiously turn me off to the FOOD. LOL!

    gary: if you like thai food, you’ll probably like tuk tuk thai because apparently, i have no f–kin’ clue what about thai food (according to a few emails i’ve gotten, lol!)

    briana: LOL! but how funny is it that flan is in the whole category of desserts that i’d rather not eat – custards (creme brulee, flan, panna cotta, etc.).

    eve: i believe you :)

  • Anonymous

    Do not eat Thai food between Western Ave. and Bangkok. Ever.

  • david hong

    Tuk Tuk is good and decently priced food. Service is good, and I have always had a good meal there. I like the currys.

  • bobby

    I really must check this place out now that all you guys claim its good. <3 Thai!

  • Jeri

    I recently moved to the Pico/Robertson area and Tuk Tuk was one of the first restaurants that I tried: I’ve actually been there several times now. It has great food, is very reasonably priced, and has a nice atmosphere. Of course, I actually do love Thai food. Highly recommended.

  • anna

    Thai is something I also can’t really get into. However, I do totally hate Indian food (it might be the cardamom, just the sickly spicy-sweet smell of curry makes me nauseous). I think I just don’t like my food overly-seasoned, which is what Thai and Indian food seems to be to me.

    Fun Thai food story: The one and only time I let my parents drag me to one of the many Thai places in town, we were served by the owner, a nice little Thai lady. A couple months later, the place is closed as it turns out she murdered her husband’s mistress. She’d fled to the opposite coast and started her restaurant in my hometown. I now occasionally refer to Thai food as “murder food.”

  • Anonymous

    I tried Thai food in Phuket.

    It was the bomb. I’ve had Thai food in San Diego as well. Not that good.

    Asian food, even Korean, are always better when eaten in the country they are native to. Something is lost in translation when imported and becomes bastardized to suit the American palate.

    Same with the women.

    Sanjay Kumar

  • Nadine

    I just came back from an amazing trip to Thailand and Cambodia, (Cambodian [Khmer] food is basically like Thai, but less spicy, more sweet.)
    Both types I find INCREDIBLE! And remarkably, unlike Chinese American restaurants, I’ve found that Thai restaurants in the U.S. serve quite similar food to that of their home country.

  • sarah j. gim

    anonymous: but all that thai food over in h’wood is okay, right? (at least, that’s what they tell me)

    anna: you realize now that because of your comment, thai food (not that it ever did) does not stand a snowball’s chance in curry of ever being okay with me. ever.

    sanjay: hello again, darling.

    i would have to disagree with your blanket assertion that all Asian food tastes better in their respective native countries. while preparation and techniques may remain more “authentic” in, say, korea, the quality of most ingredients for any dish is better in the US, resulting in a better eating experience.

    but who am i to judge anyway? i’m a white girl from detroit.

    nadine: i think that’s another thing, though, of which i am not particularly fond when it comes to thai food – the sweetness. though i will give thai cuisine credit for having some of the spiciest curries (and straight chili peppers) i’ve ever allowed to burn through my GI tract

  • sarah j. gim

    anonymous: but all that thai food over in h’wood is okay, right? (at least, that’s what they tell me)

    anna: you realize now that because of your comment, thai food (not that it ever did) does not stand a snowball’s chance in curry of ever being okay with me. ever.

    sanjay: hello again, darling.

    i would have to disagree with your blanket assertion that all Asian food tastes better in their respective native countries. while preparation and techniques may remain more “authentic” in, say, korea, the quality of most ingredients for any dish is better in the US, resulting in a better eating experience.

    but who am i to judge anyway? i’m a white girl from detroit.

    nadine: i think that’s another thing, though, of which i am not particularly fond when it comes to thai food – the sweetness. though i will give thai cuisine credit for having some of the spiciest curries (and straight chili peppers) i’ve ever allowed to burn through my GI tract

  • Anonymous

    The quality of the food for most ingredients is not better in the US.

    US produce and meat has a lot more steroids, growth hormones, and pesticides than food you will find in Asian countries. Unless you want to talk about organic food, which I doubt you will hardly find in any Asian food restaurant in the States. Even the taste is better. Korean beef for example, is way better in taste (and also more expensive) than USDA beef.

    The taste preference is just my opinion although voiced by others who have made the same comparison, but the “processed” produce and meat comparison I can say with certainty.

    Again I make the comparison to women. Better in the native countries versus the States unless they are fresh off the boat.

  • Anonymous

    When did I make a “blanket assertion that all Asian food tastes better in their respective native countries?”

    I said Asian food always taste better in the country they are native to.

    Sort of makes sense I think.

    It peeves me when people take what somebody says and then rephrases it in a way that was not what was originally said.

  • Lori

    Me either. I tried many times, but ah, no. Satay is okay. But thats as far as it goes. Good to know I am not alone.

  • Lori

    Me either. I tried many times, but ah, no. Satay is okay. But thats as far as it goes. Good to know I am not alone.

  • yinyang

    that’s too bad that you and Thai food don’t mesh well. just curious, do you like Vietnamese food? Certain Vietnamese food has fish sauce and lime (the nuoc cham that you use to dip eggrolls, vermicelli, broken rice, etc into).

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a fan of Thai food either. Although I LOVE fish sauce and lime juice… I find that the cuisine is more sweet than spicy or sour. So far, it’s the only SE Asian cuisine I don’t like and I myself have tried to give it many chances too. Oh well, right?!

  • AnonToo

    From the list of dishes you listed and the picture you took, those aren’t really the best of choice to order, nor does it look represent Thai dishes that well. It’s too bad you couldn’t get to try the authentic version. I’ve tried Americanized Thai restaurant in LA, they do taste ok, much better than some other states, but still not kicking and whamming on your taste bud like the version in Thailand.

    To put it in your context, you have dated an Asian looking american who has a Thai name. To date a real Thai, try find a new dating agency?

  • http://twitter.com/hannibal666 @hannibal666

    Duangrat’s rocks in the Metro DC Area. Love it! Never can get enough of those Thai iced teas.

    Follow @hannibal666 to enlightenment.

  • anon

    You must be kidding about the “same with the women” remark. Women–people, for that matter–aren’t any better or worse because of what country they grew up in, and as an Asian-American I find it sad that anyone would date me with the hopes and expectations that I would act a certain way based solely on my race.

  • http://sosdidit.com sosdidit

    Phuket. Hollywood or some mall in Makati, i peek quick in the kitchen then the restroom, that will tell you alot about the quality, you know if the presentation has a turn me off attitude how can you expect a seasoned world traveler to not see through the shallow but vague description, because believe me it takes more than long black hair to make me commit, i want substance god dammit! i’m sick and tired of this chop suey mentality towards my sense of being, if you can’t give me something that’s dished out from the heart, keep your schlopp because i been there done it, didit, if you want to love, than learn how to show respect, so simple to say” just not into”,, have you ever felt passion so strong that the meaning “give up” doesn’t exist, — the universe whispers, chimes ring, a will lives…. But of course as with any food some you like and others, Not!

  • sunny

    panang…….i dont get it :| beaten by a chick :(

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