New Britain’s Mae Kong

Melody Rivera, Staff Writer

Main course, the Mae Kong Fried Rice, is served with cucumbers, green beans, brocolli and tomatoes.
The fresh summer rolls are served with a side of sweet and sour sauce with ground peanuts, an interesting yet tasteful addition.
The shrimp in a blanket is the perfect balance between golden shrimp and mixed vegetables, with a delightful chili sauce adding the right amount of extra flavor.
The Mochi Thai ice cream is a delicious ice cream dish with a flavored rice wrapping, coming in various flavors such as strawberry, mango and green tea.

As I was walking down the streets of downtown New Britain, I stopped by this very small restaurant known as Mae Kong. When I went inside, I couldn’t help but admire all the beautiful décor that the establishment had to offer. Everywhere I looked, there was something intriguing to look at, such as the lucky cat by the front desk and the elephant cloths that were placed under the reflective glass tables. It was almost as if I was walking into a hidden treasure chest.

I was greeted by the owner of the restaurant who was also the waitress. She was very friendly and seated me at a glass table. When I was asked what I would like to drink, I ordered the young coconut juice. The coconut juice was served in an alluring tall glass and was topped with large pieces of fresh coconut that were arranged in a way that reminded me of a flower. The scent of the juice was light and soothing. Sipping on the juice was incredibly delicious, and the taste of the fresh coconut was the icing on the cake. The young coconut juice is probably one of the best coconut-related drinks I’ve ever had in my life.

Next came the appetizers I ordered, which were the shrimp in the blanket and fresh summer rolls.

The shrimp in the blanket was a golden shrimp roll with mixed vegetables and clear noodles which was served with chili sauce. This appetizer looked just like a spring roll except the fact that the shrimp tail was poking out of the bottom. As I dipped the shrimp in a blanket into the chili sauce and took a bite, I felt amazed by both its taste and texture.

The tastes of shrimp, vegetables and noodles were so different yet so harmonious with each other and the chili sauce brought them even closer together with its spiciness. As for the texture, it was really crispy and crunchy. The crispiness of the cooked vegetables had definitely complemented the crunchiness of the egg roll wrapping. To wrap it up, the shrimp in the blanket was simply savory and those who are shrimp lovers will enjoy it.

The fresh summer roll consisted of cooked shrimp, lettuce, carrots, mint leaves, cilantro and rice noodles which were wrapped in rice paper and served with a sweet and sour sauce with ground peanuts. When it came to the appearance, the roll reminded me of cut sandwich wraps, but when it came to the taste, it was just like a salad.

The rice paper that was keeping all these vegetables together was clear and its texture was similar to that of noodles. Taking a bite out of the fresh summer roll was like eating a vegetable that came straight out of a garden. The taste of the mint leaves, in particular, reminded me of the mint my dad would grow in his garden. The aroma of the vegetables alone reminded me of the gardens I’ve been to. The grounded peanuts were also a nice touch to this appetizer visually and taste-wise. The fresh summer roll is a pretty good appetizer that can be enjoyed in any season.

For the main course, I ordered the Mae Kong fried rice. More specifically, I ordered stir-fried steamed jasmine rice with eggs, onions, green peas, carrots and tomato with a bonus of other vegetables and tofu. The fried rice was served on a huge square plate and a small single tomato was placed directly in the middle of the dish. Visually, the dish was appetizing and I was thrilled with the scent. It was almost as if the aroma was rising along with the steam that was coming from the fried rice. The taste of the rice was absolutely delectable and unforgettable. The tofu was pleasantly chewy and the vegetables had a gentle crisp. This is definitely a dish that’s recommendable to those who enjoy fried rice.

Finally, it was time for the dessert. I ordered strawberry mochi thai ice cream and fresh mango served with sticky rice.

Mochi thai ice cream is ice cream in which is coated in a flavored rice wrapping. The mochi came in various flavors such as strawberry, mango and green tea. One order of Mae Kong’s mochi thai ice cream comes with three individual mochis. The easiest way to describe the rice coating of the mochi would be that it’s like a soft, chewy and gummy candy. This dessert was arranged with whipped cream in the center of the plate which was coated with chocolate sauce and a maraschino cherry on top, surrounded by the mochi. When I tasted the mochi, it was terrifically scrumptious. The fresh taste of strawberry was remarkably refreshing with the cold sensation of the ice cream. I recommend that those who haven’t tried mochi before should definitely try it at some point.

The fresh mango that was served with sticky rice was plated rather beautifully. The mango slices were set next to each other at the top of the plate and the sticky rice was placed at the bottom. I could tell that the mango was ripe with how soft and smooth the slices were. As for the sticky rice, it was just pure amazement. When I took the first spoonful of the rice, I was filled with pure joy with how sweet and warm it was. I was instantly reminded of oatmeal when tasting it. I can honestly say that the fresh mango served with sticky rice has become one of my favorite desserts of all time.

Overall, Mae Kong is a great restaurant to visit to get a taste of the Thai Cuisine. Mae Kong is especially great for Central Connecticut students because it has a variety of different dishes and accepts Bluechip cards. The restaurant is located at 26 Main St. in New Britain.