Tee off with Thai Mii Up
Fairport restaurant’s Laotian dishes are full of unexpected flavors
Thai Mii Up
4400 Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd.
1780 East Ridge Rd.
Rochester’s twoThai Mii Up locations might be the only Laotian restaurants in town. Thai Mii Up’s Fairport outpost is located in an unusual spot for a Thai restaurant—Eagle Vale Golf Course. Nonetheless, it continues to serve the same great Thai food it is known for in Irondequoit—delectable Laotian dishes prepared from scratch using family recipes.
On all visits, I start with the vegetable egg rolls. They are not uniquely Laotian, but they are some of the best I have had. Thai Mii Up’s are crisp and filled with fresh vegetables, mushrooms, and a bit of noodles. You can even share these with your vegan friends.
A good place to start your journey into Laotian cuisine is the Laotian beef jerky. It is not quite like its American version but less chewy and more flavorful. Think umami bomb with a hint of garlic, pepper, and spice.
Nam Khao is a dish that you initially try with trepidation and then a few weeks later start craving. Balls of rice are deep fried and then broken apart to form a crispy rice salad with bits of pork, tons of scallions, cilantro, and lime juice. On the side, there are crunchy leaves of lettuce, fresh stems of cilantro, and a salty-sweet dipping sauce. Start with a piece of lettuce. Scoop some of the rice salad in it, add a drizzle of the sauce, top with cilantro, wrap it to the best of your abilities. (I always overfill them, so I usually need a fork. Don’t be me.) Then take a bite. The fried bits of rice, salty pork, light onion bite from the scallion, citrus freshness from the lime, and hint of sweetness from the sauce enveloped in crisp lettuce—you will not view lettuce wraps the same way again. I get mine without the pork, and it is just as tasty (and vegan).
Living in Rochester means there’s always a chance of cold and gloomy weather. Order the Ka Pak Sen. It could be simply described as the Laotian take on the American chicken soup, but it is so much more. A steaming bowl of aromatic chicken broth arrives at your table with freshly made udon noodles, shredded chicken, scallions, and fried garlic bits on top. It is light and comforting. If you like to walk on the spicy side of life, get a side of the housemade hot oil and add a little to the broth. Be warned that this will make quick work of your congestion.
If you are ready for a soup that has no equivalent in American cuisine, try the ka poon. It is a fragrant and (medium) spicy curry broth with rice noodles, galangal, and lime leaves. It comes with a plate of garnishes—lime wedges to balance out the richness of the broth (I always add this), bean sprouts and shredded cabbage to add crunch, and occasionally a Thai chili (add at your own risk).
Tiger Cry is one of my summer go-to dishes. It consists of thinly sliced brisket that has been marinated and grilled served with cucumber slices and lime wedges. It also comes with a housemade spicy tomato dipping sauce. Get a side of sticky rice too. The salty steak with a squeeze of lime dipped in the spicy sauce will have you returning for more. The sticky rice and cucumber help reset your palate for the next bite.
Speaking of sauces, the concept of having dipping sauces (known as “jeow”) for grilled meats and vegetables is a very Laotian one. Thai Mii Up has various housemade jeow. Consult with your server on what he or she suggests (and let them know of any allergies because shellfish-based ingredients are an integral part of Laotian cuisine).
Next time you are at Thai Mii Up and feel tempted by the drunken noodles (and who can blame you—theirs are perfectly spicy, chewy, and delicious), check out the Laotian specials. In addition to the dishes featured here, they also offer mok gai (steamed chicken stew in bamboo leaves), fried lemongrass chicken, Laotian sausage, etc. The staff is always happy to explain dishes and make recommendations.
There is no question that Thai Mii Up has great Thai food. Its success at its original Irondequoit spot helped them open up this location at Eagle Vale and a brand new one in Del Lago resort. But in a world of people who always order the fried rice (they make an excellent pineapple fried rice) or chicken wings (they have a great version here called Linda’s wings—sweet and spicy), don’t you want to be the person who wants to order the Nam Khao?
Naz Banu is a software engineer by day and a food appreciator by night (and day). She is often seen trying to convince people to try the spicy salsa for once. Follow her on Instagram at @tablefornaz.