This past week I went to the newest Thai food place on the Houston restaurant scene: Foreign Correspondents. Having opened less than a month ago, Foreign Correspondents is the talk of the town. Here’s what I learned after having dinner there.
It’s very trendy and distinct.
Houston Tidbits featured it and when describing the food to my friends, a rando on the street corner recognized the description, turned around and said “I love Foreign Correspondents.” SO RANDOM. But clearly quite trendy! It’s apparently been in the works for many years and is the brainchild of the people who brought Houston Hunky Dory and D&T Drive In.
You’re meant to feel like a foreign correspondent.
Foreign Correspondents is located on the eastern side of the Houston Heights on an unassuming location on Main Street. In a typical Thai restaurant you’re greeted with bamboo and a golden Buddha–you definitely don’t get that here. It has a modern metal facade with neon arcade-like lights spelling out it’s name. The inside is a bit more cozy with clean white lines, minimalist wooden tables, and a whimsical comic book like mural wall. The menu is a file folder which a *ahem* foreign correspondent might take notes in. So edgy.
Don’t go for the pad thai.
The menu breaks tradition from what you might expect in a typical Thai restaurant. There’s no pad Thai, no red, green or yellow curry, no spring rolls, no Thai tea, no Sriracha… I can go on… Instead the dinner menu filled with things like garlic oil rice steamed with blood and steamed frog bundles. After interrogating the waiter for sometime about what each of the entrees actually were we decided on the crispy fried herbs with special sauce, the garlic pork skewers, and roasted eggplant dish.
The fried herbs dish was a combination of water spinach and three types of Thai basil fried in a tangy, spicy batter. Surprisingly filling. A little greasy, but quite good. But also, take a step back here….I ATE FRIED HERBS. WUT.
Next we moved on to garlic pork skewers which was four skewers of thinly sliced pork marinated in garlic and coriander then grilled and served with tamarind sauce. This dish was likely the least confusing item on the menu.
The roasted eggplant dish threw me for a loop. When I read the menu, “Eggplant cooked in coals and pounded with garlic, fish sauce, and basil. Served with hard-boiled duck eggs and fresh herbs.” I expected an eggplant stir fry of sorts. Not the case. What I got was a spicy eggplant dip with hard boiled eggs accompanied by cooked carrots, squash, zucchini, and cauliflower for dipping. The flavors were strong, a bit unexpected, but certainly good. I was struggling to classify the meal as “Thai” because this restaurant was breaking down every stereotype I had ever had for Thai food.
Eating with your hands is super fun.
Although we were given forks and knives, everything on the table could be eaten with our hands. SO GREAT! The best part of the meal was when the server brought out the rice. Which if you know me is saying A LOT because I have a huge vendetta against rice. I hate rice. All rice. I couldn’t care less about rice. UNTIL. I had Foreign Correspondent’s sticky rice. OH EM GE. That stuff is amazeballs. And you can eat it with your HANDS! It comes in a little plastic bad inside a wicker basket. And it’s so sticky you can literally break off pieces and use it as a fork for dipping and whatnot. So fun. Mind blown. Huge rice game changer right there.
Reservations are clutch.
I was able to walk in a get a table for two without a wait on a Wednesday night, but if you want to go on the weekend, you are for sure going to need a reservation. I have mixed feelings about this place because it totally redefined my notion of what Thai food is and what Thai food can be, but it was certainly worth the experience. Can’t wait to try out their brunch!