Pandan Room in Hackettstown is Winning

Be sure to make a reservation at this happening spot, as Pandan Room is quite popular.

If you are planning to dine at Pandan Room, make reservations—especially on the weekend—as there are not too many dining options in Hackettstown. This place was packed on the Friday night that we ate there. Thai and Indonesian dishes are featured as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options, which are noted with a V or a G on the menu.

We shared four appetizers: a signature dish of four, sweet-corn fritters spiced with onions, parsley and chili, accompanied by a spicy garlic and basil sauce; a fried curry puff filled with finely minced chicken and potatoes, which were spiced with yellow-curry paste served with a sweet and sour sauce and a cucumber-onion mixture; hand-made pork dumplings served in a boat-shaped dish came with a soy-ginger sauce; and bamboo leaves filled with sticky rice containing pork, mushroom and chestnuts. All were good, but not served piping hot.

Two of the entrees stood out. The lemongrass pepper ribs brushed with brown sugar and a sweet, mild, chili sauce were tender and succulent. Served with sautéed mixed vegetables, sweet potato puree and two sauces (ginger scallion and chili) this dish is my I-am-ordering-this-the-next-time-we-come-here choice. Additionally, this entrée included a salad. The half-roasted duck with a mild Masaman Thai curry, also a winner, came with rice, pumpkin and a slew of vegetables, including string beans, red pepper and tomatoes, and was topped with finely chopped peanuts. Butter-seared Maryland-style crab cake, grilled tilapia and shrimp served on a bed of Thai basil fried rice was also a generous portion paired with a sweet, spicy mayo and a ginger-scallion chutney. Thin mae fun noodles were stir fried with chicken and vegetables with mild flavors from the yellow curry sauce.

All dishes can be ordered mild, medium, hot or extra hot, and although we ordered our dishes medium, we found them to be mild. Let the waitress know if you like your food very hot.

The dessert we shared was disappointing: a long, thin, fried dough  filled with peanut butter with a raspberry dipping sauce. This dish read better than it tasted.

Open daily for dinner from 5 PM; lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 2 PM; Dim Sum on Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 2 PM.

Pandan Room Thai & Indonesian Cuisine
100 E Moore Street

Rosie Pandan Room
Roasted duck with a Masaman Thai curry.
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

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