Thai Me Up

By | July 6, 2006

Thai Me Up
1925 E Carson St
South Side, 15203
M-Th: 11-10; F-Sat: 11-10:30

Here’s the scenario.  You are hungry.  You feel like Thai food.  You don’t have very much money.  You like authenticity.  You are in the South Side.  You go west.  You look around you.  You are across the street from a small restaurant.  You read the sign.  The sign says ‘Thai Me Up’.  You groan at the sight of such a horrific pun.  You walk over to the building.  You are carrying a chocolate biscuit, a small golden ball, and a crumpled piece of paper.  You see a handle.  You grab the handle.  The door opens, and you are shocked to see a glittering treasure chest.  Do you open it?  (Y/N/LEAVE)

Looks like you did!  Well *ding ding ding* — You’ve found a trove of delicious, authentic Thai food!  And cheap too!  Hooray!!!  This little restaurant appears to be largely undiscovered.  It is tiny, just about seven tables, yet I almost never have to wait.  I can’t imagine why, because it is a pretty sweet find.  It doesn’t do every item the best, but it is also way more than just a cute name.

The menu here is much like other local Thai restaurants, with curries and pad thai-s and the like.  However, you will find more authentic offerings too.  My personal favorite is Larb.  I like it because it is tasty, and because it sounds like lard, which I find fascinating in a ridiculous and juvenile fashion.  It is actually a finely ground chicken cilantro salad that is quite deliciously sour with lime juice and other more exotic flavorings.  The experience of eating it is a bit like eating ceviche in that way where you suck each bite dry just to prolong the savoring of the flavoring.  (Well maybe you don’t, but I do.)

Frankly, Thai Me Up is better the further you get from the usual Thai dishes Pittsburgh loves so much.  For instance, their spring rolls aren’t as well executed as their fresh rolls, and their pad thai isn’t as good as their red curry.  Try something a little more authentic, like the larb, spicy carrot-shrimp salad, or beef-mint salad.  The lemongrass soup is full of wonderful flavors, and I hear rave reviews of the five-spice beef stew, which I plan to get on my next trip.

Another nice facet of Thai Me Up is that it is mostly light.  While they do serve fried spring rolls and tofu, and certain dishes can be slightly oily or have coconut milk in them, they by and large don’t have anything really creamy or excessively greasy.  For some reason, it is not common for cheap food to be at all healthful (fast food, pizza, hot dogs, etc.).  At Thai Me Up you can be happy to know you aren’t clogging your arteries while you have to eat on a budget.  You can also be happy if you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you have a friend who thinks they dislike Thai food.  Thai Me Up might just change their mind.  Anyone can be happy about Thai Me Up.  All you need in your inventory is 8 bucks and a taste for adventure.

Lemongrass Soup
Red Curry
Something authentic

You won’t be able to Thai one on unless you BYOB.  They are happy for you to bring it in though, and with the great view of Carson you can get settled in for a bout of people watching.  You are, after all, in the best neighborhood in Pittsburgh for it!