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.
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.
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." His passion for the cuisine is apparently infectious, as his partner and executive chef Somsak Kechat prepares very lovingly presented dishes. Sometimes this is quite literal, as with fried rice that's sculpted into a heart, and other times its more subtle, like the shrimp-chicken-veggie dish that's served inside a masterfully carved pineapple. The menu is even a delight to read, with dish names such as the Spicy Sea of Love (a blend of seafood and green peppercorns) and Evil Jungle Princess, which is a shrimp curry that diners must rescue from a dragon-guarded tower.
Chefs at Asian Bistros II shape artisanal dishes using splashes of vibrant color and contrasting textures to create eye-catching designs. The kitchen produces traditional Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, and Thai entrees made with fresh ingredients, such as coconut shrimp, pepper steak, and seasonal vegetables. Dexterous hands build more than 30 sushi rolls and sashimi using raw and cooked seafood, while hibachi grills fire up to sear filet-mignon tips and the eyebrows of incautious spectators.
Chinese, Japanese, and Thai specialties share table space at CJT Asian Cuisine. Chefs prepare moo shu pancakes and peking duck, craft specialty sushi rolls, and simmer Thai-style curries and lemongrass stir-fries. Fish swim in a backlit tank, and LED lights cast a subdued glow over the restaurant’s walls.
At Rice King Asian Cuisine, the staff doesn't force their diners to pick a favorite between Chinese, Japanese, or Thai fare. Instead they bring all dishes under one roof, creating a lengthy menu of spicy seafood, seasoned vegetables, garlic noodles, and aromatic rice. They introduce western concepts to some of the dishes in items such as bourbon chicken, cheesesteak roll, and bacon fried rice.