Cafe de Bangkok @ Fort Collins

I have another Asian restaurant to show you today. This one is not in Denver, but in Fort Collins. As I was staying in Loveland, this one was much closer to me (10 miles/16km) and I came here quite frequently.

I was introduced to this place in 2011 by a Malay colleague who has been to the US more times than me. Back then, the place was called The Bangkok Kitchen. The owner was a Muslim Thai woman, so the restaurant was a halal (kosher for Muslims) one. In fact, it was the only halal restaurant within Loveland and FoCo.

This place is another small scale eatery. There were only about 5 or 6 tables, maximum capacity 20 people.

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The place was hugely popular among the thriving Asian students community who studied in CSU (Colorado State University). They do most of their business as takeaways. Still, if you come during lunch/dinner hours, it is very likely that you will see the shop being full and you will have to wait outside the shop if you want to wait at all. They have a couple of tables and a few benches outside the shop for that purpose.

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There was once when we came for dinner and had to wait outside. It was quite cold, the temperature was sub 50°F (10°C) and the five of us were the only ones stupid enough to wait. After about 15 minutes waiting with no signs of any tables inside going to be vacated soon, suddenly the waiter came outside with a plate of hot food. He told us madam owner felt bad watching us wait outside in the cold and gave us this plate of food, on the house.

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Free hot food to help with the cold

Since it was free, I do not know what this dish is called. It’s some curry chicken with turmeric rice dish. We learned later that the cook (madam owner herself) was preparing this for one of the customers, so she cooked more to make this plate.

Yes, I’m imparting more information to you here. The owner cooks every dish herself, fresh from order. There’s no precooked and reheating shit going on here. Everything will be hot and tasty.

So, when I came back in 2012, I was dismayed when I tried to search for The Bangkok Kitchen online but what I found was that the restaurant has been closed down. The restaurant was replaced with another Thai restaurant called Cafe de Bangkok.

I was apprehensive with this new restaurant. After all, the food with The Bangkok Kitchen was authentic and delicious, and I was worried that this new replacement would not be as good.

Turned out that my worry was unnecessary. When I came back to the restaurant, I found that only the restaurant’s name was changed, the interior and menu were 100% identical. I quickly learned that the new owner Pu is a close friend of the previous owner Tuk. She took over the restaurant because Tuk wanted to move back to Thailand.

Both the owners spoke terrible English, and both of them shouted instructions in Thai to their kitchen assistant. In fact, it was the same assistant. The only main difference is that, the new owner is not a Muslim, so this place is no longer a halal place. Too bad for my Muslim colleagues, but no big deal for me.

Anyway, let me teach you one foolproof way to identify an authentic Asian restaurant from a bunch of fake wannabes.

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If the restaurant is authentic, they will serve you with a spoon and fork and nothing else. If you want to taste authentic Southeast Asian food, then you are expected to eat like a proper Southeast Asian, you are expected to eat rice with a spoon, NOT a fork. If you enter an Asian restaurant in America and find sets of knives and forks on the tables, turn around and walk away, ASAP.

Malaysians, don’t feel strange when you read this, but being served with knife and fork in an Asian restaurant is very common in America.

Anyway, I think I’ve told enough stories here. Let’s cut to the chase and get to the food. Below are pictures that I took from my many visits to both The Bangkok Kitchen and Cafe de Bangkok. Since their menu and food quality has remained the same, I think it should be fine to mix my food photos up.

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Thai Iced Tea, Fried Chicken
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Khao Pad – Thai Fried Rice

Their fried rice is very good, and their Nam Prik fried rice (which I do not have a picture of) was the best that I have ever tasted, Malaysia and Hatyai included! Nam Prik is a type of Thai specialty chili paste.

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Gang Keow Wan – Thai Green Curry, served here with rice noodles
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Khana Moo Krob – Chinese Broccoli w Roasted Pork stir fry

This vege plus pork dish is my favorite from the restaurant. After a few rounds of sampling other stuff, I stuck to this on most of my subsequent visits.

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Tom Yum (Hot)
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Tom Yum (Mild)

Now, ladies and gentlemen, unlike the one in Jaya Asian Grill, the Tom Yum soups here are the real deal. Tom Yum is not supposed to be a sweet and sour soup, it is supposed to be a hot, spicy and sour soup.

The food in Cafe de Bangkok is undoubtedly authentic Thai, and properly, properly delicious. It is my second favorite Asian restaurant in Colorado. Although their Tom Yum is a joke, my favorite is still the Jaya Asian Grill in Denver. I think both their food are delicious, but the one in Denver wins in terms of more variety in the menu. And because they have kangkung belacan.

Anyway, they have a website with menu and address and whatnot. Link here. If you are ever in Fort Collins and want to pay this restaurant a visit, here’s a tip for you: Your GPS might not recognize Cafe de Bangkok, but it will definitely recognize BlackJack Pizza. Search for the pizza joint, they are just next to each other.


With this, I bring my Asian food in Colorado chapter to a close, temporarily..

28 Comments

  1. Very useful info. Too bad I won’t be using it myself but will pass this info on to anyone going to Colorado.

    Thai food overseas sure taste authentic. I know because my spouse took me to eat Thai food in Edinburgh and Belgium when I much prefer to eat the local food, hahaha!

  2. That is so nice of Madam to give you a plate of warm meal to help with the cold outside.

    Ok, I’ll run away if I see knives and forks in any Asian restaurant 🙂

    • I’m sure you don’t need me to teach you this, now that you are living in China, you should know this! 😀

  3. I may never go to Colorado, but it doesn’t matter! I love to read about food. 😀 Also, you never know when you’ll be asked “I’m going on business to XX, do you know any good places there?” This will definitely be on my list in that case. XD

    And how kind the former owner was, to make a dish for you while you were waiting. Very thoughtful!

    • You are absolutely right. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself being able to travel to the States and Japan for work, but they did happen! Who is to say that you might not move back to America and settle down in Colorado? After all, Colorado has a rapidly growing Asian community, especially around Denver area. 😉

  4. wah…loads of food pictures until i drool seeing them! ur trip to US not bad wor, at least u gotta sample Asian food there!

  5. I am impressed that you guys were served free food while waiting. That is genius PR! I guess the owner was really kind hearted and was touched that you guys were willing to wait in the cold for her food. I love Thai food and it’s great that this restaurant serves authentic Thai fare.

    • I was impressed myself! I don’t think we will see this kind of hospitality in Malaysia. Well, at least not in KL..

  6. I love Thai…but these days, I would find out where the chef comes from. Went to one in Kuching, chef from Johore and owner from KL – wouldn’t be so bad if what they dished out was good, not all that nice, even the menu…all mixed up with Chinese dishes.

    • I too, personally prefers Thai food cooked by “a Thai cook” rather than “a Malaysian chef trained in Thailand for X years”.

    • Nope, that is a Thai dish, you see it has a Thai name to it! Maybe inspired by the Thai Chinese though. 😀

    • Yup, after a few visits, my standard order would be the broccoli dish and a tom yam with rice. Eat half, pack half for next meal. 😉

  7. That plate of hot rice and curry looks so good. If you had planned to leave after another 5 more minute’s of waiting, then cannot liao lor, coz lady boss so nice, gave free food while waiting.. I love that bowl of green curry, a must-have eating in Thai restaurants..

    • Yeah, I think if we left earlier then no free food and no kindness story to tell about! 😛

    • I’m personally not that fond of green curry. I would order them once in a while, but not frequently. The one here is on par with what you can get in Thai restaurants in Malaysia/Hatyai though.

    • The free food looks so yummy huh? Hahaha! 😀

      That green dip, it is a chili dip, but mixed with some herbs I think.

  8. the food looks good!!! What impressed me more was the madam owner who gave you a plate of hot dish on the house seeing you standing in the cold.. that was indeed a very nice and warm gesture!!

    p/s: what about that photo with the sign “this table belongs to bangkok kitchen….”?? i thought you have a story to tell about this..

    • Hahaha, no special story, sorry for the confusion. I don’t remember why I took that. Probably just to show that the tables outside belongs to them 😛

      I really like that gesture too. I think we can only get this kind of personalized treatment in a small and personally owned restaurant, and even then it depends on the owner being nice or not.

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