As I recommended in my full Central Pennsylvania Arts Festival review, don’t choke down those dry old lo mein noodles along Allen Street before you check out the real gem for grab and go food at this festival! At Allen & Highland, on the West side of Allen St. walk just behind the art booths to see that Cozy Thai Bistro has set up a stand outside their restaurant!
Vegetarians can choose from Papaya Salad, Tofu Red Curry (no fish sauce), Spring Rolls or Fried Tofu both with dipping sauces. These folks know what they are doing and have a full vegetarian menu inside. Some of their recipes do have fish sauce but they have always been really honest as to which ones do. I say this is the place to grab some street food to enjoy while walking around CPFA. They also have some bundled price options if you want to enjoy a few selections together.
If you keep in mind that these Spring Rolls aren’t hot out of the cooking oil, you will agree they are the best walk-away food at the festival. Small and tasty with shredded veggies and mushrooms still hot inside, all they are missing is the crunch.
They are drizzled with a sweet chili sauce and served over a bed of torn iceberg lettuce and grated carrot so grab a fork and napkin before you depart.
These two inch by half inch triangles of tofu that have been deep fried and served with sweet chili sauce over a bed of torn iceberg lettuce and grated carrot weren’t super warm but very satisfying. They were a little dry if not eaten with a little of the sauce and you want a fork to enjoy them as you go.
A fresh salad on a hot day is just the thing when you are surrounded with all of the festival scents of fried foods. The shredded papaya is blended with some lovely chopped green beans, cut cherry tomatoes, carrot and crushed peanuts. It has a lime dressing with just a zippy bit of heat that makes you want to order another dish of it.
Tofu Red Curry
It thrilled me to have asked different employees on 2 separate days about this red curry. Both assured me that is was vegetarian and had no fish sauce or shrimp paste. The red curry is just well blended spice wise so that it won’t scare off 85% of the central PA palettes but still had a nice little bit of heat. The sauce coated a generous serving of fried tofu and veggies that included thinly sliced eggplant, baby corn, bamboo shoots and whole Thai basil leaves. By itself would have been enough but they also piled a huge spoonful of aromatic (jasmine/basmati?) rice. Upon paying there were a few condiments near the plastic ware and we kicked the heat factor up by added a healthy spoon full of hot chili sauce to the bowl. Delicious!
The two of us share an order of each and were pleasantly filled. We didn’t get a beverage there but a tall cup of Thai Iced Tea would have been better than any dessert at the festival.