The light curry chicken and veggies with rice. | Andrew Valente

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If you go to Paris you must eat à la ‘boui-boui’, the name Parisians have given to small restaurants in every part of the city run by immigrants from places such as Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Vietnam, Ukraine…to name just nine.

The magazine Paris-Match tells of a new book, Guide du Paris Boui-Boui, which gives 120 eateries that serve this kind of food. The one thing they all have in common is that a meal costs less than €15.
But for a bargain meal at under €15, we residents (and visitors) don’t have to go to Paris — we have menús del día galore at less than €15, many of them done by immigrants, but some cooked by Mallorcans and people from the mainland.

The noodles with chicken and veggies.
The noodles with chicken and veggies.

The island’s menús del día at under €15 can be Mallorcan, Chinese, Colombian, Thai, Indian, Moroccan, Galician, Andalucian or Aragonés — to name just nine. The report in Paris-Match raves about authentic dishes being cooked at the ‘boui-boui’ places and makes note of the different spices used. But no mention is made of dessert or drinks, so it looks as if the under €15 price is for one dish — a dish of the day, or plat du jour as the French say.

Spain’s menú del día, on the other hand, includes (by law) a starter, mains, dessert, bread, a drink and VAT. The law doesn’t stipulate what the drink should be, but most places give customers a choice of mineral water (still or fizzy), wine, beer or a soft drink.

The chicken spring rolls.
The chicken spring rolls.

From time to time I come across a place that doesn’t include beer as one of the drinks options, so if you are offered water, wine or a soft drink and ask for a beer or a caña, that will put the menú price up by anything from €1.90 to €2.50 — and sometimes more. Most restaurants give a caña as one of the menú del día drinks, but if you’re on a tight budget (as I am) make sure the caña is included in the drinks offer.

This week I went to a new Thai place called Palma Thai Kitchen. It’s run by a Swedish couple who know Thailand and Thai food. The kitchen is in the hands of a Thai cook and a young Thai woman who also helps out in the dining room.

The chicken saté.
The chicken saté.

I had their fixed price menu at €14.50 which included vegetable spring rolls and chicken curry with vegetables and rice, plus a caña. I went back another day and ate à la carte.
The chicken curry was extremely light, partly because the chicken and the veggies weren’t actually cooked in the soupy curry liquid.

It looked as if the chicken was cooked separately and added at the last minute, so it didn’t absorb any curry flavours. But the texture was superb and not overcooked and soggy as it so often is in other curries. The veggies — mainly cauliflower, broccoli and red peppers — must have been cooked in the soup curry liquid for about a minute and were very al dente. Some people may find they are somewhat uncooked.

The menu spring rolls.
The menu spring rolls.

The rice was done in the usual Asian way, which means cooked through but with every grain separate, especially when doused with the soupy curry liquid. I spooned some of the dips over the rice and the added sweetness made the rice even more delish.

I am sure the Thai ‘boui-boui’ places in Paris are not serving a spring roll starter and an ice-cold caña with a lovely head with their under €15 meals. So the €14.50 menu at Palma Thai Kitchen is a great bargain.

FOOD

Go for the spring rolls that were among the best ever and were worth a 10. The chicken curry was light and most enjoyable.

PRICE

The €14.50 menu consisted of vegetable spring rolls, chicken curry and a caña.

Chicken saté, €5.50
Chicken spring rolls, €5.50
Noodles with pork, €10.50
One caña, €1.90
Total cost with VAT: €23.40

VERDICT

There is at least one Thai restaurant in Palma with sky-high prices, so it was good to see Palma Thai Kitchen has a fixed price menu at €14.50 that includes a spring rolls starter, a curry or noodles mains plus a drink that can be a caña or a cola. Their à la carte starters cost mainly €5.50 and that includes two kinds of spring rolls (vegetable and chicken) that were both worth a 10 rating and were among the best rolls I ever ever tasted — here or in London.

The chicken saté was tender and beautifully spiced. The chicken curry was light and tasty with the chicken cooked separately and not in the soupy liquid. This gave it a superb texture, instead of being overcooked as it so often is in Indian curries. The vegetables were done the same way and may be somewhat too al dente for some readers. The rice was done in the usual Asian way — which means cooked through and with every grain separate.

The noodles were nicely cooked and bursting with flavour. But they should revise the text of their menu. In Spanish they call noodles tallarines, which are flat and these are round. In English they are called egg noodles, but real egg noodles have a completely different texture. The noodles are plain spaghetti — which I prefer to the squishy texture of Asian egg noodles.

PLACE

Palma Thai Kitchen, Calle Blanquerna 19, Palma. Tel:673-354421. Closed on Mondays. They have some tables on the terrace but not all that many, so it’s always best to make a reservation.