Lung Yai Thai Tapas
Sometimes we tolerate uncomfortable situations because we know the end result will be worth it, like getting a tattoo or napping next to an airport TGI Fridays for 19 hours in order to spend two weeks in Rome. That’s how we feel about Lung Yai too. You might have to wait a long time for your table and put up with rules and situations that you won’t encounter at any other restaurant in Miami, but if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best Thai food in the city.
Lung Yai usually has the longest wait on Calle Ocho. An hour-and-a-half is possible on a busy weekend, though you can order beer, wine, or sake and drink it on the sidewalk while you kill time, which definitely makes 90 minutes go by quicker. Just make sure that, when the host with the clipboard finally does yell your name, you're within earshot to hear it.
You’re only allowed to order once at Lung Yai, so take your time with the menu to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Get at least one of the snacks—the crispy duck salad is great and the chicken wings are fried crispier than any other wings in town. And the “chef’s recommendation” portion of the menu is where you’ll find some of the best dishes, like the khao soi—a bowl of egg noodles in a golden curry that tastes the way a hot shower feels. Get it with braised beef and make sure no one you’re with tries to steal the crispy noodles on top.
Sure, dinner at Lung Yai takes some planning and patience. Maybe that’s not for everyone. If you think eating out should always be a painless and relentlessly accommodating process, go somewhere else. But if your priority is first and foremost the food, come to Lung Yai—because just like an obnoxiously long layover or the pain of a thousand tiny needle pricks, the end result is going to be worth it.
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You can get these with shrimp or pork, steamed or fried. There are no bad choices here, but the fried dumplings come out crispy enough to break a windshield and go great with a beer.
We understand if you want to save stomach space for other things after waiting an hour for a table, but these are some really good wings. They’re crispy, juicy, and come with a sweet sauce that always makes us want to get another order.
These little guys aren’t the most thrilling snack on the menu but they are cut into triangles, which—you may remember from geometry class—is the tastiest shape.
This is a really crisp and refreshing salad that delivers a nice contrast to most of the spicy, creamy, and meaty dishes on the menu. It also might cool you off a bit if the flame from the burners creeps a little too close to your eyebrows.
If you took a bath in this golden curry you’d probably come out looking ten years younger. We like it best with braised beef, which balances with the slightly sweet curry better than a gymnast on a hoverboard.
The green curry is essentially the Tom Hanks of the menu—it has near-universal appeal. It’s a very good thing to split with your friends and comes with rice and your choice of chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or veggies.