Eclectic seasonings enrich taste profile of common ingredients
Posted: March 17, 2013 at 3:46 a.m.
The original location of A Taste of Thai, set just east of the Fayetteville square, offers an inclusive six-page menu with more than two dozen lunch-priced items and an entire page of vegetarian dishes.
The ornate decor, prompt service and consistent cooking have helped it remain one of the top recommended Thai restaurants in the area.
Ample space for big lunch or dinner crowds is provided by two dining rooms — the intimate main area overlooks Center Street — and a private outdoor patio.
A Taste of Thai is closed 2:30-5 p.m. daily and on Sunday, allowing the kitchen time for food preparation.
Each dish is made to order, so guests can customize their selections to their specific taste. The well-seasoned, educated staff is available to answer questions and guide customers toward a satisfying experience. The dishes are prepared using a five-star rating of spiciness, ranging from mild to Thai-hot. Along with the heat comes flavor, said Sandy Sihapanya, who co-owns the restaurant with her sister-in-law, Maryann.
“Three stars is a nice, warm, lingering heat. Don’t be scared of the spice,” Sihapanya encouraged.
The flavor profile of Thai food is diverse. Cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint and Thai basil are used regularly. The addition of ground peanuts, fresh fruit or coconut milk adds a new dimension to familiar meats and vegetables.
A Taste of Thai has numerous popular dishes, and the curry options are at the top of that list. Each variety offers a different flavor, and options include yellow, red, green, Panang and Massaman. All of these are featured on the lunch menu, which provides a generous portion with a choice of soup or salad. Steamed white rice accompanies each order, except noodle dishes. A choice of chicken, beef, pork or vegetables is offered for $8.50; shrimp for $9.50; any combination of the previous for $10.50; or shrimp and scallops for $12.50.
Lunch items include Pad Thai, Pad See-Ew, Evil Jungle Prince, Teriyaki chicken, Lad-Na and fried rice. Salad choices feature grilled chicken, salmon or chicken and shrimp. The menu is reduced to increase the efficiency of the kitchen so that dishes are prepared quickly and get to the customer fresh and hot. If the full page of lunch items doesn’t satisfy the customer, most of the dinner items can be prepared upon request.
The dinner menu adds diversity with fried samplings, sushi, soup and chef’s specials. Delicacies such as the Angel Wings or Chicken Satay are a delicious way to start off the evening. Soup includes seafood basil, coconut or hot and sour.
Fresh flavors are abundant in the mango curry with a choice of chicken or shrimp with snow peas, asparagus, red bell peppers and a broth of coconut milk and red curry. A similar dish is offered with pineapple instead of mango.
Seafood selections are fried, grilled or sauteed and include catfish, salmon, sea bass, scallops, shrimp and calamari. Specialty dishes include rack of lamb with a basil sauce, crispy duck with ginger sauce or lobster tail with a creamy coconut-garlic sauce. Each specialty dish is offered for $18.95 and includes vegetables.
A perfect palette cleanser includes house-made coconut or green tea ice cream. House-made tapioca pudding or sticky rice with mango also provide a sweet, satisfying ending to the Thai meal.
The entire menu is available online at tasteofthaifayetteville.com.