One of the absolute highlights of our recent trip to America was undoubtedly having the pleasure of meeting Mama at her restaurant Topaz Thai in New Jersey. Our hosts in America, being regular visitors to the place, had spoken very highly indeed of the dishes on offer here and so we made our way there with high hopes on our first visit and were not left disappointed.
Immediately upon being seated we were presented with a deliciously fresh salad, topped with a little of Mama's famous peanut dressing. Focusing our attention on the menu became increasingly difficult after having sampled the salad and in the end these were finished before we'd even made our choices for the evening. Super fresh and crunchy salad leaves and carrot strips topped with the most delicious dressing. Having enjoyed the peanut dressing so much already, we ensured more of it would make its way to the table by ordering an appetiser portion of skewered chicken satay, alongside some dumplings and fish cakes by way of variety.
|Fresh salad with peanut dressing|
|Skewered chicken satay|
The range of main courses available at Topaz Thai included various noodle dishes, grilled chicken, grilled pork and more. As a fan of crispy chicken and spicy food however, I couldn't see past ordering the 'Crispy Volcano Chicken'. This mammoth plateful of crispy deep fried chicken pieces, coated in a fiery sweet tamarind chilli sauce and stir-fried with green beans, onions and broccoli was everything I hoped it would be and more. Sweet but not cloying, the sauce had just enough of a kick to it to justify the volcano title, whilst remaining smooth and sweet enough to keep you coming back for more.
|Crispy volcano chicken|
The food at Topaz Thai ensures that locals continue to flock there (the restaurant was overflowing when we visited at 9pm on a Tuesday evening). It's Mama herself however who ensures that every single customer leaves feeling loved and appreciated as well as well fed. Her charm is utterly endearing and makes a return visit an absolute must. One day I'll make time to take her up on her offer of a year's unpaid labour washing dishes in her kitchen in return for just a few secret recipes. If you ever visit the New Jersey / New York area, I can't recommend highly enough that you pop in for a meal. If you do, tell Mama I was asking for her and be sure to pick yourself up a T-Shirt.
Topaz Thai (Mama's) is located at 137 Washington Ave, Belleville, NJ 07109, United States. You can visit Mama's website here.