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Entries in Thai (12)


Pho 170 Opens in Middletown: Vietnamese + Thai Cuisine Gets Top Marks

“That’s it,” I overheard a man say with a smile, holding his takeout order as he joked about having come in four days in a row. The word is out downtown...Pho 170, M’town’s newest/latest, is busy. The service is friendly and attentive, showing this new kid on the block is already in the groove, cranking out fresh and delicious dishes—both Vietnamese and Thai.

It’s not been quite three weeks since Viengthong Charonesuk opened the doors to her newest restaurant. And, unlike so many other spots when they first get started, everything’s well under control. Even on a night when they were one person short on the waitstaff, they pulled everything off without a hitch. Vieng hails most recently from Bann Thai in Cheshire, and she’s run restaurants in other locations across the state as well. Little things, like making sure you have extra plates when you share a dish, aren’t overlooked. And it’s always a nice touch when your water glass is refilled before you even need to ask.

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King & I Thai Kitchen in Hartford and Manchester: A Family Affair 

Blink and you can easily miss the little white house as you drive down Park Street in Hartford’s Parkville section. So keep an eye out, because it’s home to a fine family business specializing in Thai and Lao dishes—generous portions, reasonably priced. And if you head east of the river, you’ll find the exact same menu and great food in Manchester.

There are many choices closer to home when it comes to Thai, but when the craving hits, I make tracks for King & I. It’s changed management over time, but the food remains just as delicious as it ever was. In fact, it’s amazingly consistent. How is that even possible?

The secret to their success starts in a tiny kitchen with their cook. Behind the scenes, the same woman has been busy stirring up deliciousness for the past 10 years. When the previous owner sold the restaurant four and a half years ago, Hongkham Munesaleum was already part of the kitchen. But now, with her husband, Lam, washing dishes, and his daughter Lilly, serving the front of the house (literally!), it’s all in the family.

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Ruuthai’s Kitchen: Real Thai in Bridgeport CT

Word’s out. There’s a new Thai place in Bridgeport worth traveling for. Ruuthai is a little family-run restaurant making authentic Thai dishes. Even better, Ruuthai offers dishes rarely seen in these parts, like mussel pancakes, boat noodles and steamed red curry fish custard. And then there are the desserts. Thai desserts are decidedly weird to Americans. Pork in a dessert? What?! Yes, and it’s good.

Ruuthai has been open almost five months. It’s in a residential neighborhood off North Avenue. The storefront is cheerfully decorated with orange and lime accents, and pink and purple swirly, girly flower stencils. The effect is simple and charming. They’ve added a few more tables recently (they’re getting busier), and they do a lot of take-out, but I believe in eating food when it’s at its best – moments after Def Ruangsikul, head chef, has prepared it.

If you sit down to eat you will probably meet Chef Ruangsikul’s daughter Dif. Dif McGeough is the manager and waitress. She was born in Thailand and raised in the United States, and she’s a knowledgeable and gently humorous guide.

Over the course of several visits, here’s what we’ve tried:

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Rainbow Thai Opens in Westport 

Yes, Virginia, there IS a great Thai food to be found in Fairfield County. The new RAINBOW THAI at 5 Bridge Street in Westport is just what Virginia (and all the rest of us who feared that a great, local Tom Yum Gung soup might not really exist) ordered. RAINBOW THAI is tiny and, not to its advantage, finds itself in that ill fated location in the Bridge Market complex that hasn't to date been a lucky spot for restaurants. Many an eatery has peaked and faded faster than a shooting star in this locale but I think Rainbow Thai has staying power. Why? The food is just so damn good.

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WAFU Asian Bistro Opens in Southport

If you Google or Bing the word "Wafu" it translates to "Japanese-style," but when I asked Elaine Chen, the proprietor of the new WAFU Asian Bistro in Southport, her definition was "peace and harmony." The new Wafu, located at 3671 Post Road (formerly Friendly's) seems to be a little bit of both. Chen, from the FUJIAN PROVINCE of China, and her husband (the restaurant's lead sushi chef), have created an ASIAN establishment where Japanese, Chinese and Thai food mesh perfectly in a serene and sophisticated environment. Although it's difficult to telll from the exterior, the decor once inside is New York chic (and perhaps a tiny bit over the top with Swarski Chandeliers and neon-blue lighting). Menus are presented on ipads and you sit comfortably at your glossy tables on your white-leathered booth. Sure, it's a bit shi shi, but shi shi works at WAFU. The food is good for a "multi-culture" menu, the decor is funky and, though it looks fancy, it turns out to be a very kid-friendly establishment.

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Shanghai Asian Bistro: Shanghai Opens Second Location in Norwalk

Occasionally, we like to get a few opinions on a restaurant. Here are two shorts from Cathy Siroka and James Gribbon on Shanghai Bistro.

If you’re in South Norwalk and want a simple, easy place to go before a movie or out with the kids – try Shanghai Asian Bistro. They recently opened a second location at 124 Washington St., with their first one in Westport at 1715 Post Rd East.  Owner, John Jiang, had been carefully looking for a second location for years, and has seen such a huge change in the traffic and excitement in downtown Norwalk, and finally felt that “now was the right time.” 

While the menu has the Chinese classics like shrimp with duck sauce and General Tsao’s  chicken, the restaurant also offers an array of other Asian inspired dishes and many ways to customize your order according to your tastes and dietary preferences.  Jiang explains his menu as “all-Asian, not just Chinese, a sampling of the flavors of China, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.”

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Chef Nicole: Thai Meatballs with Dipping Sauce

I made these Thai Meatballs with Dipping Sauce last week for my family and they were devoured in record time. Served in a lettuce leaf or over rice, they are big on flavor, but are not overly adventurous for little palates. These are perfect for busy families as the prep time is minimal. Try them in your house, and let us know what you think. 

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Ten China Bistro in Wilton: 10 For 10

Why TEN? The new TEN China Bistro in Wilton had a lot to live up to, giving itself a number like that. We would be the ones to decide if TEN was indeed an appropriate rating. We were diners on a mission. Chef/Owner Eric Xie would have a lot of "splainin" to do if the food at TEN ended up as anything less. There was only one way to find out...EAT! So eat we did. There are many reasons to try this new Asian fusion restaurant, (in the same plaza as SOUP ALLEY). Would we give it a 10? Well, here's the verdict:

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Thai Coconut Curry Lentil Soup c/o Healthy Living Blog

Jeanette Chen is a resident of New Canaan. Her Healthy Living Blog is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition.

Lately, I've been craving both Thai coconut curry soup and lentil soup. Perhaps, it's because I wanted to relive the heady bowl of Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup I had for lunch last week when it was wet and dank outside. There is something warming and completely comforting about spicy Asian noodle soups. Thick lentil soups have also been on my mind, as it's getting cooler out, calling for heartier fare. These two comfort foods inspired me to come up with a recipe for Thai Coconut Curry Lentil soup.

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Flavorful Lunch Bargain @ Thai Pearl in Ridgefield

If you're looking to give your brown bag a break or if you just can't face another sandwich, you'd be hard pressed to find a better and more affordable lunch alternative than Thai Pearl in Ridgefield. With a prix fixe lunch menu featuring ten traditional Thai dishes and three courses starting at just $8.95, I'd say it's easily one of the most affordable and most satisfying lunches in town.

On a recent snowy afternoon, I began with the shumai as a warm and savory amuse bouche to start the meal. A combination of shrimp, tofu and vegetables fill three wonton wrappers. I presume these are steamed and then pan fried given their chewy exterior and crisp edges, and then finished with a chili and soy sauce. The other lunch appetizer options include soup, salad or spring roll. One course down, two more to go.

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