Hungry? These dishes and drinks are a few of Edmonton’s greatest hidden gems

Food writer Phil Wilson is on a hunt for Edmonton’s best culinary creations.

Every other week he shares the chefs’ stories and tastings with presenter Adrienne Pan on CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active.

You can hear his column live every second Friday on CBC Radio One and the CBC Listen app.

These recommendations come from his first four columns on the show.

Tamarind sauce and curries from Siam Thai Kitchen

15883 116th Ave., Edmonton, siamthaikitchen.approx

Esther Kagaoan at Siam Thai Kitchen. (Submitted by Esther Kagaoan)

This little restaurant, which opened in the summer, is in an industrial area in the West End, but don’t let that put you off.

Owner Esther Kagaoan told Wilson that she takes two days each month to make sauces and curry pastes from scratch.

Instead of buying tamarind sauce by the glass or using concentrated tamarind pulp, Kagaoan buys fresh tamarind pods, which she peels, cooks, purees and then strains several times.

“It’s so much better fresh,” she said. “I don’t take abbreviations of any kind.”

That kind of exertion is unusual, Wilson said. He called half a dozen of the city’s best-known Thai restaurants but couldn’t find another that made his own curry pastes or tamarind sauce in-house.

Wilson recommends trying the pad thai, tamarind chicken, and red and green curries from Siam Thai Kitchen.

Radio active10:00Best dishes – Siam Thai Kitchen

Food writer and baconhound Phil Wilson starts a new column on Radio Active today. He highlights the best and most special dishes he can find in Edmonton restaurants. First, Siam Thai Kitchen explores fresh tamarind sauce and curries with owner Esther Kagaoan. 10:00

Animal taco from La Patrona

2 Athabascan Ave., Sherwood Park, lapatrona.rocks

The animal taco is a secret menu item at La Patrona in Sherwood Park. (Submitted by Phil Wilson)

This secret menu item offers five types of meat – chicken, two pork, and two beef.

“You’d think it tasted like five dishes mixed together – like some kind of messed up ’80s mix tape that went wrong – but in reality it’s like five instruments coming together to make a nice melody,” said Wilson.

Carlos O’Farril is the Chef at La Patrona in Sherwood Park. His animal taco is a secret menu item that food writer Phil Wilson recommends ordering. (Submitted by Carlos O’Farril)

Chef Carlos O’Farril told Wilson that the animal taco is a variant of tacos mixtos, a popular dish in Mexico that usually contains two types of meat.

The different types of meat, sweet, salty and spicy, create waves of flavors in your mouth, he said.

One warning: don’t order this unless you have a big appetite. The animal taco feeds two.

Radio active12:54 pmBest dishes – La Patrona

Food writer and baconhound Phil Wilson unveiled another special Edmonton restaurant dish for us on Radio Active today, and this one is for the taco lovers. La Patronas Animal Taco – http://lapatrona.rocks/ – 2 Athabascan Ave, Sherwood Park. 12:54 pm

Mulligatawny Soup from the Drift Food Truck

9330 80th Ave., driftfoodtruck.ca, closed until 2021

Gala apples are an important part of Drift Food Truck’s mulligatawny soup. (Submitted by Phil Wilson)

In the past, drift food truck owners Kara and Nevin Fenske served soups at catering events, but they decided to sell a few liters per liter this year.

Wilson recommends ordering the mulligatawny, an Anglo-Indian curry soup.

Fenske, whose family is from Pakistan, uses his grandfather’s recipe, which is full of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and paprika. He uses homemade broth, diced Gala apples and soaks the spices in a combination of malt vinegar and white vinegar.

Nevin Fenske from the Drift Food Truck. (Submitted by Nevin Fenske)

“It’s a balanced, layered dish,” Fenske told Wilson.

The Drift Food Truck location at the Shamrock Curling Club is currently closed, but keep an eye on the company’s website for pickup and delivery options in the New Year.

Radio active9:21Best Dishes – Drift Food Truck

Food Writer and Baconhound – Phil Wilson unveils another special Edmonton restaurant dish for us. If soup was really just right today, you’ll love what Drift Food Truck makes. 9:21

Cream liqueurs from Hansen Distillery and Elk Island Spirits

Hansen Distillery: 17412 111th Ave., Edmonton

Elk Island Spirits: 120 Pembina Rd., Sherwood Park

Cream liqueurs from Hansen Distillery and Elk Island Spirits. (Submitted by Phil Wilson)

These drinks might not go the best with the dishes listed above, but they are just the thing to spice up your coffee this holiday season.

Hansen Distillery offers Morning Glory Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Liqueur, Purple Cow Saskatoon Berry Cream Liqueur, and Salted Caramel Cream Liqueur.

Salted Caramel is selling faster than the distillery can produce, said bar manager Rylan Martin.

If you can’t get your hands on any of these bottles, try the Elk Island Spirits offering known as MooseMilk.

“It’s a well-known brew among the armed forces, with each branch having its own proven recipe,” said Wilson.

John Stubbington, owner of Elk Island Spirits, told Wilson he spent three years testing the recipe before launching it at the distillery late last year.

Its version is made with the distiller’s Ross Creek Rye, vanilla ice cream, and maple syrup.

Radio active10:38Best dishes – Local cream liqueurs

Food writer and baconhound – Phil Wilson – discovers special food and drink finds from Edmonton for us. Since many of us spice up our coffees for the holidays, he introduces 3 excellent locally made cream liqueurs. 10:38

What particular dish should Phil Wilson highlight next? Email him a suggestion here.

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