Pretty much every city has a road that contains the majority of their restaurants. Sort of a central eating location, if you will. For Ypsilanti, that road is Washtenaw ave. This stretch used to be home to mostly fast food and local breakfast joints, but it has recently made the transition to mostly ethnic cuisine. The fast food remains, of course, but the rest have become Chinese restaurants(and grocery), and Mediterranean cuisine. All of these places are serving some pretty solid food, but the best food is being served by a small Thai joint housed in a building that obviously used to be a Long John Silver’s. I can guarantee you that this is the best food ever to be served in a Long John Silver’s location.
Tuptim Thai Cuisine has been at this location since 2002, and is serving some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had. Upon entering, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Very elegant, in the “designing on a budget” sort of way. It contains about 20 or so tables, which are frequently full, but you will always have plenty of space to enjoy your meal. Usually the waitresses are doing front of the house duties along with taking care of the customer needs, but they notice newcomers almost immediately. For the most part the small staff is friendly and helpful.
The menu is easy to understand, clear and descriptive. Plenty of choices, with a clear direction and interesting flavor profiles. They offer five different types of curry, many different appetizers, soups, salads, and your entrees, which include vegetarian and meat dishes, can be ordered with rice or noodles, and your choice of steak, chicken, pork, tofu, or shrimp. Finally, you can order any dish mild, medium, or hot. Trust me on this one, if you don’t like spicy stick to the mild. The hot is for real spice lovers, but still allows you to enjoy the taste of the food. When most people think of Thai, spice immediately comes to mind. Tuptim offers you that spicy option, but the mild dishes contain great flavor which can be enjoyed by people who don’t like a little burn.
The food tastes incredibly fresh and always contains unique flavors. You can tell a lot of care has been put into the preparation and the recipes. Many of the dipping sauces are oil based, but the food is not greasy or oil slicked. Every dish is beautiful garnished, and contains enough food to fill you up for the night. Not quite Epic Portions, but you’ll never leave the place hungry.
For starters, the Steamed Dumpling are very decent. Tiny pockets of pork filling, reminiscent of a pot sticker. It is served with your choice of a ginger chili oil vinaigrette. This is my go to appetizer, but any appetizer will offer a great start to your meal.
My go to dish is the chicken with cashew nuts, which is prepared with garlic, onions, fresh peppers, and scallions. I have ordered other entrees, but this one is so good that I usually can’t get myself to order anything else. The sauce is an interesting combination of sweet and spicy. Most Asian style dishes rely on a Hoison sauce base, but this just tastes different to me. In a very good way.
My mother, who accompanied me on this visit, ordered the chicken with spicy basil sauce, which is prepared with fresh basil, garlic peppers, and onions. This is a little more simple, allowing the taste of the basil to shine through. The basil is not very spicy, as advertised, but she chose to order it mild.