A quick word about "authenticity." In Thai cooking, the emphasis is on fresh, tasty ingredients. When a chef goes to the market, it is always to find pi-sed (the best ingredients). As a result, Thai dishes prepared in America may use produce that wouldn't necessarily be used in Thailand. Carrots, for example.
The most common question I'm getting from customers lately is, "where do you get your red, yellow and white carrots?" Well, they come from our suppliers, and they're grown in California. They're crunchier than most carrots, which is why they're called "Rainbow Crunch Carrots." Rainbow is part of the name because these carrots come not just in orange, but also in white, yellow and red. Each day before our customers come in for lunch and dinner, our staff spends time carving flowers from these rainbow-hued carrots so we can make your entrée look more interesting and appetizing. (Parents know that True Thai works hard to trick children into eating vegetables, and we're finding that kids like red carrots better than orange ones!)
Do they use red carrots in Thailand? No, not yet. But Thai chefs are always looking for new ways to "improve" their presentations, and new, colorful vegetables quickly find their way into Thai dishes. Every time I fly back to Thailand my first question is, what's new?
At True Thai Restaurant, what's new is the carrots — they're not just orange anymore.