The long-awaited Lansing Shuffle, housed in the former Lansing City Market, has finally opened, and with it, many a new eatery to explore. The interior is a food-court-style layout, but with locally owned Nepalese and vegan-Italian stalls instead of Panda Express and Sbarro. I went on a Saturday afternoon, and it was busy, but not overwhelmingly so. Currently open are an expansive, full-service bar and five food vendors (with more to come), so my companion and I were spoiled for choice.
After much deliberation, the winner was Kin Thai, which offers dishes inspired by Southeast Asian street food, including wok-tossed noodles, boba teas and crab Rangoon nachos, the last of which I will absolutely need to go back for. We chose the classic Thai dish drunken noodles (with tofu) and the laab wings. We then wandered around while our food was prepared, further exploring the new space and trying to find where the shuffleboard happens (that part of the development isn’t completed yet).
Both our selections came out in short order, hot and fresh. The thick, wide rice noodles were satisfyingly dense and chewy, tossed in a delicious, mildly spicy, gravy-like sauce with notes of soy and oyster sauce, stir-fried red peppers and sweet red onions. The tofu was silky but still held its shape, and the fresh, crunchy bean sprouts sprinkled atop added the perfect element of textural variety.
As lovely as the noodles were, I, like many others, am an absolute sucker for fried chicken in any form, so my focus couldn’t help but drift back to the laab wings. Laab — from larb, a national dish of Laos — is a chopped meat salad that’s noted for its umami-rich, lime-soaked seasoning. Kin Thai has taken those delectable flavors and infused them with perfectly golden-fried but not-at-all-greasy chicken wings, creating a dish that seems designed to keep me, personally, entranced and craving more. What I appreciated most were the generous quarters of fresh, ripe lime served with the wings, allowing me to absolutely douse them in juice. It would be difficult for there to ever be too much lime in my Thai food (or Vietnamese … or Mexican).
We sat at one of the large, communal tables and, since we were sharing it with a few others, I thought I should maybe tone down the voraciousness with which I was consuming my food. I comforted myself, though, with the thought that the sudden pops of wild, spicy flavor I encountered as I worked through the wings would surely have a similar effect on most.
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