The only thing hotter than a Kansas City summer is a particularly spicy dish at Waldo Thai, simply known as “Pam’s Special.”
Pam’s Special is a dish that is not for the faint of heart. One serving includes 20 to 25 Thai chilies, not to mention a slew of other peppers and spices. The dish was originally created by chef and owner of Waldo Thai, Pam Liberda, as a meal for her staff to sober them up after a post-shift drink. After all, it’s so incredibly spicy that it’s impossible to enjoy it without drinking several glasses of water and eating a few servings of white rice to soak up the spice (and alcohol).
At Waldo Thai, you’ll find other unique dishes, many originating from the Northern region of Thailand where Pam grew up. At first it was a challenge for Pam to educate patrons on the regional differences of Thai cuisine, but now her regulars and newcomers alike are enthusiastic about the regional specialties.
“I wanted to try to push and show people how we eat at home,” Pam explains. “Almost every Thai restaurant around town pretty much has the same menu. We don’t want people to know what they’re going to order before they even walk through the door.”
A trip to Waldo Thai isn’t complete without a signature cocktail. Bar Director Darrell Loo, collaborates with Pam to develop cocktails that highlight ingredients and flavor profiles found in her menu.
“We use the term ‘Asian-inspired cocktails,’” Darrell says. “It’s always fun when you are able to work with the kitchen using the same type of ingredients, and then try to channel the cocktail program back to the food program.”
Even if you can’t handle the heat of Pam’s Special, Waldo Thai is still a fantastic dining spot to explore what the northern region of Thailand has to offer. The menu is best approached by having an open mind, and letting Pam take the lead. Her hope is that guests will simply walk into the restaurant and say, “what’s on the menu today that we should try?”