When it comes to Thai food, if you find yourself on the “I’m particular” end of the spectrum or even downright snobby, you’ve come to the right article. Wild Rose stands above the fray as a bastion of exceptional cuisine among a landscape littered with heavily western-influenced, mediocre Thai food options. Inspired by the geographically rural eats found in Northern Thailand, regional authenticity is paramount to the recipe of success found at this local’s favorite, located in the Oregon high desert of Downtown Bend. Family recipes from the region inspire every dish on the menu.
No trip to Wild Rose is complete without the right dining companion, so I chose a close friend who shares my love of excellent Thai food for the experience. Although the menu is not complicated with too many items, we’re constantly torn between ordering our favorite dishes and branching out with new ones. For this experience, we opted for three familiar staples; the Thai Iced Coffee, Gai Tod Nam Pla (spicy chicken wings), and the Khao Soi Curry. We know from personal experience that it’s best to bring your A-game to Wild Rose because Northern Thai food is always best experienced when all five senses are adequately cultivated.
Thai Iced Coffees
Our Thai Iced Coffees arrived first, a beautiful burnt orange, dark brown, and creamy appearance. A moderate sweetness that balanced well with the tea. It was smooth, creamy, and a nice pairing with the chicken wings that arrived soon after.
Gai Tod Nam Pla (Chicken Wings)
A unique small plate offering of fish sauce marinated chicken wings deep fried in a sweet and salty garlic glaze. Topped with cilantro, scallions, and crispy garlic. A dish with such beautiful plating that the increased wait time between visual-marveling and eating is well worth it. Wild Rose offers a 1-5 spice choice with words, and we opted for a 3, which played quite nicely with the sweet & salt. A welcome complimentary kick without overpowering the nuance of the flavors.
Khao Soi Curry
A dish that we’ve ordered at least a dozen times, the Khao Soi Curry is a consistently solid option. We chose chicken for our protein, and the rest of the dish consisted of chewy egg noodles, red onion, and pickled cabbage in a coconut curry broth, topped with crispy noodles, cilantro, and lime. We also chose a spice level 3 for this dish. The broth was heavenly, with subtle sweetness which framed the more savory notes and hints of spice throughout. Also, the crunchy noodle garnish added a fun texture juxtaposition that added variety to the other soft elements.
Whether you’re a Central Oregon local or visiting from out of the area, make Wild Rose your next foodie adventure for an unforgettable experience with authentic Northern Thai food.
Jon Jones hails from beautiful Bend, Oregon, and owns a local marketing company; Upper Left Digital Media. He has lived in Bend for over 20 years and is a foodie influencer on Instagram as @thebendfoodie; and also runs the popular Facebook group; Bend Foodies. He has written for numerous publications over the years, such as; The Source Weekly, Bend Magazine, and currently for Central Oregon based; Desert Current.
According to Jon, “I’ve been a foodie for most of my adult life and have a real passion for the complex, sense-driven experience that comes with dining. Every quality dining experience is like engaging with a unique and living piece of artwork, that once consumed, can never be replicated exactly the same.” Whether working in a professional capacity, promoting food-industry business’ marketing strategies, or supporting local eateries as a consumer, Jon loves being a part of the local Bend food scene.
Facebook: The Bend Foodie