Print Edition: February 6, 2013
46212 Yale Road, Chiliwack
Prices from $6-$15.50 (Lunch specials are all $9.50)
Tuesday-Friday: 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
For years now, friends and family have been raving about this unique little Thai restaurant cleverly called Chilies. As a Chilliwack native myself, I was quite intrigued to see what all the fuss was about – and as a lover of oriental food, the idea of trying Thai cuisine for the first time was more than alluring, so I took the first chance I could to check it out.
Now if there is one thing that can be said for this place, it’s that the décor definitely sets the mood and the tone for the entire experience. It almost transports you, as cliché as that sounds, with its muted lighting and draped curtains. On one side of the small establishment, floor-to-ceiling mirrors make the room seem a lot larger than it actually is, while on the other side, beautifully handcrafted Thai pictures line the walls. Hypnotic music of the Thai-pop persuasion is on repeat, and every so often one of the waitresses will be singing along. It gives off a very calm, yet sultry feel, which I absolutely loved.
As an appetizer, we decided to order the spring rolls, a vegetarian-friendly option that seemed like an easy way to test the waters. Oh, but they were so much more than that. Crispy and hot, these babies were the right amount of crunch and flake to just melt in your mouth. Not to mention the house dip that went along with them: spicy and light, it blended mouth-wateringly with these deep-fried lovelies. It had a kick to it, like the kind that just lingers in your mouth long after you’ve swallowed. Heaven sent, I kid you not.
For our main course, we chose to share the Pad Ga Tiem with chicken, as the waitress recommended it for first-timers. Because my dinner companion isn’t a big spice fan, we agreed to have the mild version, and I ordered myself a side of spicy sauce (I like to think I can handle my spice). When it got to our table, the smell was incredible.
Unfortunately, though, the portion was very small, especially considering the price. We got somewhat skimped on the chicken, too; there were barely two ounces in the entire stir-fry, but I kept an open mind.
I’m sad to say that it did not live up to my expectations. It was just lacking something. You could barely taste the black pepper that the description highlighted, and the sauce itself was considerably bland. There was array of veggies, like broccoli, celery and carrots, all sautéed to the right consistency, but I would have seriously appreciated more chicken.
Upon adding some of the spicy sauce I requested, though, it took things from bland to amazing. A warning, though: do not add the spicy sauce unless completely and utterly prepared. I was not expecting the intensity it brought at all, and I continuously found myself gulping down the water to keep up with each passing bite. It was just so much better with the addition of kick the sauce gave. But not as good as the spring rolls were.
Although the service was excellent and the spring rolls are probably my new best friend, the experience at Chilies did not live up to the hype surrounding the establishment. Perhaps the waitress led us astray with her suggestion, or perhaps we should have amped up the spice, I don’t know. But if you are looking for some place to indulge in some kick-ass spring rolls, Chilies is your place.