5410 NC Highway 55
Durham, NC 27713
Review Date: March 29, 2008
Reviewers: John Davis, Jody Hamilton-Davis, Christine S., Susan P., John M., Amanda Newman, Ron N., Donna Allison, George A.
On March 29, 2008, a Saturday evening, we dined at Thai Lanna in Durham. Thai Lanna can make almost everything on their menu vegan or vegetarian by substituting tofu or vegetables for meat in their dishes. You can pay an additional $1.00 and add both tofu and vegetables to your dish. The server was knowledgeable about the ingredients, and helpfully checked with the kitchen to see if the curry dishes could be made with only coconut milk and no dairy milk which is normally included - the answer is yes. She also asked the kitchen to leave out the fish sauce in all of our dishes (it's common in Thai restaurants for fish sauce to be in many dishes, even ones called vegetarian and in nearly all sauces). We ordered a wide variety of dishes, including spring rolls, summer rolls, soup, pad thai, stir fries, and curries. Several of the curries were highly rated. The CM Kaeng Matsaman Curry was described as very flavorful, with coconut milk and mild peanut undertones. Both reviewers who had the Kaeng Kheaw Wan Curry (green curry) enjoyed it, and one described it as perfectly spiced. It had more of a pinkish brown color, however, and one reviewer said there was no basil although basil is listed as an ingredient on the menu. The Pad Thai was described as being fair, with too little tofu and vegetables. A few of the reviewers said they would have liked more spice in their dishes. One noted the Pad Khing Tour, fried tofu and vegetables in a ginger dressing, did not have a distinctive ginger taste. Another noted that he enjoyed the soup but missed mint or other spices in it.
The menu includes two vegan desserts, Mango with Sticky Rice and Taro Dumplings and also fried bananas with honey. The rice in the sticky rice, and in the dumplings, is cooked with coconut milk. The dumplings consisted of a sweet rice mixture cooked inside a banana leaf, and was declared very tasty.
The restaurant has a variety of beer, including Singha (a Thai beer), sake and wines from which to choose. The location is in a strip mall, and the restaurant is fairly light and open inside. A wide variety of Thai art, weavings and wood carvings decorate the walls. The restaurant seems family friendly and a fine place to enjoy a Thai dinner, but not so good for an intimate or romantic dinner.