Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Hampshire, the White Mountains, North Conway, Story Land and Thai Food

Summer is here in New England (finally!). After a considerably wet month of June (and part of July as well) with temperatures averaging a lower-than-normal 70+ degrees Fahrenheit, we are finally experiencing a run of sunny days with warmer temperatures. Even the seasonal humidity is slowly creeping up to the slightly uncomfortable level. Well, summer months usually mean that it is time to take that vacation trip. Lately, with all-round bad news on the economic front, the current trend is to vacation on a budget, usually at a location closer to home. This year, we are following that mantra, taking a family vacation trip to the neighboring state of New Hampshire, specifically to the scenic White Mountains area where the popular children's theme park, Story Land is located.

This is our second trip to Story Land, having been there once before maybe four years ago. The kids are much older now and this might be their last trip there as the various rides are proving to be quite kiddish for even the youngest one. Nonetheless, we enjoyed ourselves all the same.

Well the reason for this post is not to talk about Story Land but rather to talk about the food we had there. As North Conway and its surrounding areas have quite a number of tourist attractions, there is simply no shortage of places to dine. Of course, there are the usual franchise places like Friendly's, Applebees, Pizza Hut, etc. Then there are also the smaller local restaurants. So, we were really spoilt for choices. Would you be surprised if I said that we had Thai? Yes, Thai food smack in the middle of North Conway, NH. And you know what, it was really good.

The restaurant is called Thai Nakonping (no website) and it features some authentic Thai dishes as well as some Americanized Thai fare. Apart from the usual Thai noodle and rice dishes, there is also a hamburger and hot dog menu for the kids, which might be helpful for parents who might want to try food that their children might not be familiar with. Our kids are more familiar with Asian food, so they shared a big plate of pineapple fried rice with shrimp. My wife had Pad Thai (her favorite) and I tried the spicy basil garlic soft-shell crab served with jasmine rice. We were blown away! The food was really excellent, very tasty and full of Thai flavors. I asked for my dish to be extra spicy and the chef complied (not knock-your-socks-off spicy but hot enough to get my sweat glands working a little).

The next evening, after a full day at Story Land, we went around North Conway looking for places to have dinner. Everywhere we went (mainly the franchise places), there were long lines of families waiting to be seated. If there is one thing I hate the most, it is having to wait in line to sit down for dinner. After being informed that it might be a 40-minute wait at the Ninety-Nine, we made our way back to, you guessed it, Thai Nakonping! It is a small restaurant, maybe 20-30 tables and there were already several tables having their dinners. We walked in and the friendly waiter from the night before, recognized us and showed us to the same table we occupied before. And the best thing is, no lines and the food is excellent. The kids shared the house fried rice with chicken while my wife had Pad Thai yet again (yes, she loved it). Again, the food did not disappoint and we had a great meal without having to wait in line.

So if you are ever in the North Conway neighborhood, be sure to check out Thai Nakonping restaurant. It boasts of authentic Thai flavors, reasonable prices and a friendly atmosphere. Would definitely go back there again if we ever make our way up to the White Mountains area in the near future.

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