The ingredients used in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisine are vastly different, as are the methods of preparation. At Zhuang's Garden, they come together in surprising ways. Eight crackling hibachi-grill tables and a sushi bar represent Japan, and Chinese décor and the aromas of lo mein hint at the traditions of that nation. Glasses of wine clink together above plates of Thai food at the BYOB eatery, where the dishes include curry that is the brilliant yellow of turmeric or a banana salesman’s business card.
Voted the Best Ethnic Restaurant by Berks County Living in 2009, Thai Cuisine packs Southeast Asian flavor into each lunch and dinner dish. This laid-back eatery specializes in quality, vegetable-filled entrees such as the shrimp curry in red coconut cream sauce ($16.95) as well as lighter salads ($7.95–$8.95), and traditional, flat and tasty pad thai noodles ($15.95 with chicken). Each meat-centric dish can be made vegetarian-friendly, and diners can specify the spiciness of their order, selecting from mild, medium, hot, or hotter than the surface of the moon. The eatery also maintains a friendly BYOB policy, making its dining quarters a prime spot for group get-togethers.
Thai Spice's plenteous noodle and curry dishes infuse rich flavors from traditional Thai recipes. Dress up perpetually bald tongues with the spicy basil noodle, a wide-noodle dish laced with string beans, mushrooms, and chili peppers ($10.95–$13.95). Alternatively, bored forks can search for the seafood-combo treasure at the bottom of the Emerald Sea platter ($17.95), or sample the bamboo shoots swimming in coconut, carrots, sweet peppers, and broccoli in the kang ped curry ($12.95–$14.95).
"I really love Thai food," says Jazmine Thai co-owner Josh Morton. "I love how it reflects all the taste buds, all the sensations, from sweet to sour, to spicy to salty." He shares this passion with his partner and executive chef Somsak Kechat, who artfully prepares and plates a wide range of dishes from Thailand's vast culinary treasure trove. With a Kechat does everything from sculpt fried rice into a heart to serve the shrimp-chicken-veggie dish inside a masterfully carved pineapple. He also prepares dishes such as the Spicy Sea of Love?a blend of seafood and green peppercorns?and the Evil Jungle Princess, a red curry he saut?es with shrimp, chicken, and veggies. Meanwhile, a bartender compliments these interestingly named meals with a lineup of refreshing libations that includes wine, sake, and the My Thai cocktail, a tropical blend of fruit juices, liquors, and giggle zest.
While scanning the pages of Nooddi Thai Chef's eclectic and lengthy menu amid the eatery's oceanic murals, eyes are forced to stop at words that stand out against the traditional "dumpling," "curry," and "satay." The kitchen staff's specialties cause these double takes on a daily basis, as they introduce eccentric proteins such as wild boar in a garlic red curry sauce or saut?ed alligator in an aromatic herb sauce. In addition to their Thai classics, the cooks assemble flavors from across Asia, including those in Vietnamese pho, Japanese yakisoba, and Indonesian mee goreng.
Sa Bai Dee was named “Best Thai Restaurant in the Suburbs” by Philadelphia Magazine in 2012 for its “reliable and fiery” Thai dishes. Specialties include steamed whole fish and tom zap soup, a.k.a. stewed meat in a hot-and-sour broth.