If you ask chef Lek Saicheur where her recipes come from, she may regale you with stories of the bustling open-air markets of Bangkok, Thailand, where vendors peddle fiery noodles and sizzling fried fish. While pursuing her master's degree at U.C. Davis, Saicheur shared these dishes with her fellow students in Thai cooking classes. Their enthusiastic response compelled her to eventually open up her own Thai restaurant—Thai Recipes.
Deep in the kitchen, Saicheur and her sister whip up a variety of traditional curries and noodle dishes. The aromas of fresh basil, spicy peppers, and garlic flood the air as the sisters simmer meats in pure canola oil or liquid hot magma. They complement their plates of pad thai, green chicken curry, and stir-fried clams with bottles of imported Thai beer and glasses of cool coconut water. Thai Recipes also purifies it's water by using a reverse osmosis system.
Swathed in red décor and open until 3 a.m., Red 88 Noodle Bar forges a unique menu that highlights the humble noodle's role in soups, Asian entrees, and eclectic fusion fare. Owner and executive chef Ketmoree, fondly nicknamed "Mama," prepares the roasted duck noodle dish ($9) by resting sliced duck and chinese broccoli atop egg noodles freshly hatched from a sheet of hen-shaped pasta. Inside the thai boat noodle soup, tender slices of beef float alongside broccoli, bean sprouts, and noodles in a thai-style broth ($8), and thai barbeque pork nestles into a pile of steamed white rice coated in sweet chili sauce ($6.95). Fusion options cross cultures with entrees such as the lamb spaghetti ($9), which confuses customs officials by stir-frying ground lamb, spaghetti, snow peas, and bell peppers together into a globe-trekking gastronomic feat. The eatery also caters to vegan and vegetarian diners by whipping up meat-free options and accommodating substitutions.
The spice specialists at Royal Thai Restaurant flip, season, and sear a variety of vibrant ingredients to craft a vast menu of classic Thai eats. Groups can practice learning to share by distributing an order of crispy spring rolls and, once everyone has gotten a fair lot, celebrate by dousing each other in wonton soup. Each helping of Thai-style barbecue chicken arrives at tables festooned in a pickled-garlic sauce. The conga line of zesty flavors continues with the red-curry chicken, before foursomes are allowed to cool down by noshing the ginger beef with mushrooms and onions or by rubbing their cheeks against a block of ice. Various teas are available for sipping and, following the dinner, Royal Thai Restaurant's selection of chocolate, strawberry, or coconut ice cream act as a sweet reward for tongues.
Bee-Bee's Asian Grill may only have one roof, but underneath it, the restaurant serves three distinct types of cuisine: Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese. The result is a menu that seemingly never ends, with dishes of each type of cuisine that include soups, noodles, curries, and rice plates. Tom yum noodle soup holds rank as one of Bee-Bee's most popular Thai dishes, and is the restaurant's go-to speaker at press conferences. It fills bellies with a mixture of lemongrass, mushroom, chilies, and green onion. Under the Vietnamese flag, meanwhile, awaits spicy servings of pho and meaty vermicelli, and the Japanese selection includes bento boxes, hibachi, and sushi rolls.
Ginger, saffron, and other aromatic spices mingle in Hot Basil Cafe's kitchen, where chefs create dishes inspired by Indian and Thai cuisines. The kitchen maestros prepare Thai dishes such as cashew-nut chicken and spicy catfish, filling place settings alongside tiger prawns and cream pepper chicken baked in an Indian clay oven. They round out each meal with Thai-style iced coffee and indian fruit lassis, as well as wines and ice creams.