Erb Thai (as the name suggests) serves delicious Thai food at 950 Wealthy St SE, just down the street from some of our other Grand Rapids favorites, the Electric Cheetah and Brick Road Pizza Co. The owner, Lisa Chang, started the restaurant when she moved to Grand Rapids (hooray!) to pursue a culinary degree. Nicole and I have eaten here several times, and have always been more than pleased with the vegan options on the menu.
We visited Erb Thai to celebrate Nicole’s upcoming birthday with her mother. It was a quiet Monday evening in the restaurant, and Nicole and her mom ordered Thai ice tea to start, and the server was considerate enough to let us know that it is typically made with dairy milk, so Nicole was able to substitute coconut milk instead. She describes it as very sweet and creamy, very delicious! I ordered a guava juice, which was very refreshing after a long day at work.
Almost any menu item can be made vegan at Erb Thai if you let the server know, and we would recommend asking for no MSG to be added to the sauce. And if you’re living gluten-free, they are happy to accommodate that as well! The request does carry a modest surcharge of $0.50.
Asking for vegan, gluten-free, and no MSG dishes does add a bit of time to the wait, but the chef graciously realized this, and sent us a free plate of spring rolls. We were happy to wait because we understood that making a special order would require more time, but we definitely enjoyed the appetizer too! The veggies all tasted very fresh and crunchy, which blended well with the soy sauce served alongside. Nicole and I had a bit of a ‘discussion’ to decide who got the last roll because they were so good! In the end, we simply split it.
I don’t typically order vegan dishes when out to eat, but I was curious to experience Erb Thai’s vegan version of the Thai Fried Rice, and I was not disappointed. The rice was cooked just right, and I could just taste the soy sauce base. I ordered the mixed veggies instead of chicken or other protein, which included shaved carrot, big juicy mushrooms, and even some bamboo!
You’ll be asked how spicy you’d like your meal when you order. Nicole’s mom has no tolerance for spiciness, and she said the ‘mild’ was more than enough for her. I went up to medium spice, and I enjoyed a little kick without too much afterburn. I tasted Nicole’s meal, which she asked to be ‘plus’, and that definitely caught my attention! Not enough to make me regret tasting it, but just a bit above my comfort level.
Nicole ordered the Peanut Curry Noodles, which she said were fantastic. She also asked for mixed veggies (with her mom picking off the mushrooms), with carrot, snap peas, and green onion, among others.
All in all, we always enjoy Erb Thai when we’re in the mood for delicious, local Asian food, and highly recommend it for both vegans and their friends and family in Grand Rapids!
Have you been to Erb Thai and have a recommendation on what to eat next? Leave a comment below! We’d love to hear what you have to say.