One of my favorite restaurants is Lily Thai. My experience has been that it regularly scores high marks in my food trifecta of Consistently Good Food, Good Service, and Reasonable Prices. As a vegetarian, when you eat out as much as I do, you realize that the terrain can be tricky. Take Thai food, for instance. A typical Thai restaurant uses fish sauce to flavor many of its dishes and I’ve eaten at Thai restaurants where the vegetarian options were flavored with fish sauce. I’m delighted to say that this is NOT the case with Lily Thai.
There is an entire section of the menu called “Veggie Lovers” that is devoted to vegetarians. And it changes! I ate there yesterday and picked up a “to go” menu to write this column and there are at least four new entrees under this section that I will have to try. (Like this is a hardship, right?) Without a doubt my favorite entree is the Veggie Pad Thai – pan-fried noodles, bean sprouts, red tofu, egg, ground peanuts, carrots, green beans and other seasonal veggies. The noodles are always perfectly cooked, never too oily, the sprouts and other veggies still have crunch, and the flavor is just delightful. For vegans they are more than happy to omit the egg. I often get this as a lunch special – just $8.95 for an entree, crispy roll and salad. And every time I take someone there for the first time, they want to buy the salad dressing! It’s a cilantro-citrus vinaigrette and oooh is it good! The Vegetable Drunken Noodles and The Vegetable Curry are also excellent and the kitchen is happy to make them as spicy as you like (or not).
Last fall I went to Portland, Maine and was thrilled to find the Green Elephant, a totally vegetarian bistro so amazing that my meat eating companion asked to visit twice. My favorite dish there was a soup that I am happy to say you can get here at Lily Thai. It’s called Tom Kha Pak and it’s made with vegetables, coconut milk, lemon grass, galanga root and cilantro. Galanga root is like a Thai ginger and the flavor of this soup is so unique and wonderful – it’s become one of my most favorite things. They have several vegetarian soups to choose from, but you simply must be adventurous and try the Tom Kha Pak. Recently, Lily debuted a new, expanded menu! Two veggie offerings under starters, the Wrap n Roll (spring roll), and the Foo Tod which is fried, crunchy tofu served with crushed nuts and sweet and sour dip.
There are now four veggie choices under the Salad section – I particularly like the sound of the new Cucumber Mango Tango although I haven’t tried it yet. My favorite soup, the Tom Kha Pak (see above) is now called Veggie Coconut soup. There are several new items under the Vegetables (entree) section although I’ve been told you should now specify “no fish sauce” when ordering ANY dish off the menu. And if you’re vegan, the Veggie Pad Thai contains egg (even though that’s not a listed ingredient), so make sure to tell them “no egg” as well. There’s a new Curries section and a revamped Entrees section. ANY dish listed under these sections can be prepared with tofu, so all told I believe that now makes 38 vegetarian items on the new menu. Awesome!
This is one place where I try to leave room for dessert because I must say I love the Bananas and Ice Cream. The bananas are dipped in batter and fried – and are absolutely delish! My friends often get Lily’s Famous Mango which is made from fresh mangos, sweet sticky rice and topped with coconut cream. There are no wrong choices in the dessert department.
Be patient if it’s busy because there may only be one server; but she/he will take very good care of you, I promise. 10 North 1st Street in Rehoboth. 302-227-3348
To this day (June, 2014) Lily has zero web presence. Go figure.