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Chicken and vegetables with pad prik sauce at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. Spicy dishes can be ordered with different levels of heat.

Chicken and vegetables with pad prik sauce at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. Spicy dishes can be ordered with different levels of heat. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Sometimes the best food is down the dark, single-lane gravel road and the reward is worth the spike in adrenaline you feel on the approach.

Sandwiched between a series of ponds and the fields of the local soccer club, the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in the Bavarian town of Freihung is a delightful change of pace from the normal flavor profile that makes up most German food.

Restaurant patrons can find a typical Bavarian dining area after climbing the stairs to the second floor, but what separates Sai Nam is cuisine, and more importantly the spiciness.

The Thai tea served at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. Thai tea is made from Ceylon tea, milk and sugar, and served hot or cold.

The Thai tea served at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. Thai tea is made from Ceylon tea, milk and sugar, and served hot or cold. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

For an appetizer, I ordered the fried chicken wontons, which sound Chinese but are relatively popular in Thailand. They were a little bland, but the sweet and sour dipping sauce saved the day. Based on my observations of the selections by people at other tables, the fried shrimp also is a favorite starter.

Despite the somewhat shaky start to the meal, I had no cause for worry after the first satisfying sips of the iced Thai tea served in a half-liter beer stein. The taste took me back to my former favorite haunt for Thai food in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, the kitchen kept the food coming to my table and the others with little to no wait.

Fried duck with pickled onions and cucumbers at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022.

Fried duck with pickled onions and cucumbers at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

I ordered two main dishes, the chicken and wok fried vegetables with pad prik sauce, made of chili paste, oyster, chili, tomato and fish sauces. I followed that with the “smile duck.” From what I could see and taste, the dish was fried duck on top of pickled vegetables with a sweet sauce.

I noticed something I had not run into since arriving in Germany: spice, both in the standard arrangements and in the extras.

A red pepper on the menu indicates entrees with variable spiciness levels. Customers can choose their preference from among mild, medium or extra.

However, my recommendation is to add a dusting of the homemade spice blend that comes in a tray with sweet and sour, soy and sriracha sauces, as well as crushed peanuts.

The chicken wonton appetizer at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. They come with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

The chicken wonton appetizer at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. They come with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

If you are looking for the most authentic Thai food the country has to offer, Sai Nam is not going to be your first stop, as the dishes didn’t quite measure up to the ingredients that some of the larger German cities offer. However, if you are looking to spice things up without driving to Munich for a meal, then Sai Nam will scratch that itch.

The friendly waitstaff, easy-to-read menus and affordable prices make Sai Nam one of my new go-to spots for an enjoyable quick bite just 15 minutes from Vilseck or Grafenwoehr.

The dining area at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. The room features long tables and open seating for large parties.

The dining area at the Sai Nam Thai restaurant in Freihung, Germany, Dec. 6, 2022. The room features long tables and open seating for large parties. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Sai Nam Thai

Address: Am Hacklweiher 12, Freihung, Germany

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.

Prices: Between 1.80 and 18 euros. Cash and most credit cards are accepted.

Menu: Available in English and German.

Information: Phone: +49 09646 808850; Online: facebook.com/sainamthairestaurant

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