Ethnic Eats: Bangkok Happy Bowl

March 2 2012, 10:30 AM

When my husband and I ordered takeout from Bangkok Happy Bowl in Aspen last weekend, it was more out of laziness than expectation. The eatery was new and we were hungry. But one bite into the spread—green papaya salad, larb gai, pad see uw (pictured), and panang curry—and I knew we had lucked into a terrific meal.

I went from dish to dish and found that each item kept its integrity. The salads, the noodle bowl, and the curry were intense and bright, and all a harmony of Thai food's quintessential flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy. This expertise comes from co-owner Paula Coult, who is a native of Thailand. She and her husband opened the eatery in late January, and they’ve been trying to keep up with the crowds ever since.

We both ate far more than we should have that evening—and we continued to talk about the meal the next day. I'm anxious to return to Aspen, if only to forgo takeout and dine in at the small restaurant.

Best of all: The Coults have a Denver counterpart: Wild Bangkok Bar & Grill at 16th and Welton streets downtown. The two-year-old eatery is taking part in Restaurant Week, and I'd say it's more than worth a visit.

Bangkok Happy Bowl: 300 Puppy Smith St., Aspen, 970-925-2527

Wild Bangkok Bar & Grill: 1630 Welton St., 303-623-4999