Funky Elephant – Berkeley


Been on the search for good, affordable Thai food in the East Bay and the search may conclude here with Funky Elephant. We heard about it from Lily,the boba vendor we hired for our wedding. When you get recommendations you never know how they will turn out. It is not always the person who makes the recommendations fault. Sometimes you just aren’t on the same food wavelength as each other. Thank goodness we seem to be riding the same food wave! Funky Elephant opened earlier in January and it looks like we found a keeper.

Inside had a particularly neat mural on their wall. It either looks almost finished or just right. Either way, it looks just how it’s supposed to be to me. There isn’t much seating inside but there are tables outside you can grab.

I’m not sure the significance of the alcohol bottles containing water. Luckily they were well rinsed.

Green Papaya Salad, Bangkok Version (cherry tomatoes, snake beans, garlic, Thai chilies, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp: $12

At a new place we felt the need to order some of our staples. There is not much I would change with this one. I think we ordered a spicy level of 4 and when you ask for a weird number like 4 I more often than not get something closer to a 2 or a 5-6 on my scale. This was spot on what I expect out of a 4. Heat that slowly creeps up on you and after a few bites makes you pause and think twice about the timing of the next few bites. It isn’t unpleasant, but could be with one or two more chilies. The Mrs. always wants more fish sauce, and this was no different. However for me the stankness was spot on. Maybe a tiny bit more sourness or tang from the lime, but honestly it was fine as is.

Pad Thai Old School (gulf white shrimp, HODO tofu, peanuts, bean sprouts, garlic chive, egg, shallot, Thai chili powder): $14

We do not typically order Pad Thai. As we walked in to sit at our table, a few other diners had these monster shrimp on their plates and it seemed dumb not to follow suit. Yes, we the sheep followed. And this goes to show that it isn’t always bad to be a follower! Don’t always listen to everything you hear kids. If you like pad thai, this version will not disappoint. But you may just find yourself coming back for their massive shrimp. Man they were tasty. The only thing I wish this plate had was more of them! I could literally eat an entire plate of these suckers.

K.M.G. #2 (poached chicken breast, with GG rice (garlic and ginger) only, fermented soy bean sauce): $14

Yes, we also are on a constant wobbling journey to find the best poached chicken dishes money can buy (or we can afford). Dude. This was bomb, or as our nephew might say, it was lit. Super juicy and tender, it almost tasted sous vide. Luckily it still had texture and didn’t come off rubbery. The amount was enough and again, we were impressed. I still think Savoy Kitchen in the SVG is my favorite for either Hainan Chicken or Kao Mun Gai, but this isn’t too far off from that homey feeling I get after the first bite. Looking at the menu, I still wonder what happened to the OG K.M.G.

The menu is simple which always is a plus for me. That way I feel like I can try everything on the menu with minimal effort. It also helps when everything sounds awesome.

Final Thoughts

I can not wait to come back and destroy the next few dishes. Who wants some!? Every single item we ordered we would get again. Oh yeah, and the Thai Tea was good too. Almost forgot about that sweet addition.┬áNext up may be some wings, the green curry, and maybe some nam kao todd…

Anyone else try Funky Elephant? What do you or would you look forward to tasting?

Funky Elephant
1313 Ninth St.
Suite 120
Berkeley, CA 94607

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