A Sandwich A Day: Chicken Satay Sandwich at Thai Fresh in Austin, TX
There's a lot going on at Thai Fresh. This multipurpose Thai deli, grocery store, and cooking school serves about ten different dishes from its counter including the required Pad Thai. They use local meats and produce when possible, but of course they're not sourcing tamarind paste and fish sauce from Texas. The store also sells a handful of Asian groceries.
The business recently expanded into the space next door, opening a cafe that serves several draught beers, wine, coffee, and tea. And if that's not enough, there are also coconut milk-based ice creams and vegan and gluten-free baked goods. There's something for everyone, and that might explain why ordering can often seem slow and chaotic.
But after placing my order, I didn't wait long before my chicken satay sandwich ($8.00) arrived. The bite sized chunks of Dewberry Hills Farm chicken were marinated heavily in turmeric and grilled until nicely charred with the crusty black spots that are proof of a good satay. The pillowy fresh ciabatta bread was coated with a spicy peanut sauce and layered with tangy shredded cabbage and the chicken. My only complaint was that the sandwich was almost taller than it was wide, which made for a difficult eating experience.
A huge salad of mixed greens, tomato, carrot, and sliced shallots was served alongside the sandwich. The thin dressing served on the side tasted strongly of mint and green chiles, and it reminded me of an Indian chutney. Save room, though—you'll probably want some coconut ice cream for dessert.