Saturday, May 16, 2009


There are important things you need to know about Thai noodles. Most important? They're delicious! Whether you have silverthread noodles ( beanthread vermicelli) in a salad or entrée, Pad Thai style noodles, or flat "fun" noodles with your Rad Na or Pad See Yew, all Thai noodles are made from rice flour and contain no wheat!

Silverthread noodles

rice stick (uncooked Pad Thai noodles)

Pad See Yew

This does not mean that people who are avoiding gluten can just order a Thai noodle dish and be OK. Many noodle dishes contain soy sauce (for coloring). If you have a gluten allergy, please be sure to tell your wait person so the cooks will know to leave the soy sauce out. (Likewise our Sweet & Sour entrée contains gluten, but it can easily be kept out if you remember to tell your server.)

As with Italian wheat noodles, the size and shape and texture of rice noodles determines which dishes use which kinds of noodles. One of my friends likes Pad See Yew but when asked why she says it's really for the gailan (Chinese broccoli) and not the flat fun noodles. Another friend loves Pad Thai, but admits to liking the crushed peanuts and fresh lime. Noodles are there to deliver other tastes to your palate and as with every kind of Thai food we work very hard to infuse each dish with as much flavor as possible.

Friday, May 15, 2009

This and that (& take out!)

Most of the time when people call to order take out, the first thing they ask is "how long will it take." True Thai now has six cooks who do only take out orders and who can have your take out ready in as little as ten minutes (we'll let you know if your order may take longer).

If you don't call in the wait is more pleasant now that we don't have lines of people waiting to be seated (thanks to our recent expansion).

When I wrote about buying True Thai curry stock recently, I forgot to mention that we can also sell you our Sukiyaki sauce in pint and quart containers.

The price is the same as for curry, $3.95 and $6.95.

We can set up a buffet for your party room gathering if you have at least 20 guests, and you're welcome to bring in your own music if you like.

Best of all, there's still no charge for reserving the party room!

One last thing. Long time customers sometimes ask me how we keep our prices so low. True Thai has been able to hold the line on prices despite higher food costs because of you, our customers. Each day you're here for lunch and every night you come in with family and friends to enjoy your favorite Thai food.

The biggest expense for a restaurant is when there are no customers. Food gets thrown out, wait staff still have to be paid, and the rent and utilities still have to be paid. It's like you show up for work and instead of making money you lose money instead.

But because you our customers keep coming in every day and evening True Thai is a more efficient restaurant. We keep our waste down and as a result we can keep our prices at 2004 levels.

In business this is called good synergy. For people dining out it's called a good deal!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Prikki nu season is upon us!

Wow — very busy now with True Thai open seven days a week and it's prikki nu planting season! After consulting with the Farmers Almanac, Thai growing charts, lunar cycles and the fact that my last French manicure is starting wearing off...I've started the work of planting 200 Thai prikki nu plants that I started at home earlier this spring.

What's a prikki nu? I don't think I should give you the literal translation (it's kind of rude) but the bottom line is that prikki nu are the tiny Thai peppers that point up to heaven as they grow hotter and hotter, even when grown in Minnesota.

The peppers we buy from our vendors can be quite hot but for the hottest peppers you need to grow your own. (Click this link if you're curious about hot peppers and the Scoville Heat Index.) When I came to America, Thai peppers were rated #3 on the Scoville scale but thanks to the hard work of plant geneticists around the world there are now many kinds of super-hot peppers. I've eaten habañeros and some of the other new super peppers but there is a point at which I think the heat overwhelms the taste of the food. For me, Thai prikki nu are just right. I have no interest in trying the Texpur Chili as it is reputed to being like having your tongue pepper sprayed!

If you're a real Minnesotan, Thai prikki nu may a bit hot for you. I encourage you to experiment with your orders, working your way up to the level of heat you find best. VERY IMPORTANT TIP: If your dish is too spicy for you, just send it back to the kitchen. It only takes a minute for us to make it less spicy.

First harvest will be in six weeks. Hot food lovers take note.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Queen of all Curries

I have friends who rely on the Internet for all their information, but they tell me it is very hard to find anything about how sweet green Thai curry came to be known as the Queen of all Curries. I found this very hard to believe but when I did a Google search True Thai came up near the top! I also learned there are many Sri Lankan and Indian women who claim to be the Queen of Curries.

I think the Internet has much to learn about Thai cooking. Wikipedia has a section on Thai curries, but their page on sweet green curry doesn't mention that it is the Queen of all Curries. But if you ask a Thai which curry is known as the Queen of all Curries, they will say sweet green curry (แกงเขียวหวาน), of course!

At True Thai we always include Thai eggplant as that is an important ingredient. Thai eggplant were very hard to find in Minnesota when True Thai opened, but now you can find Thai eggplant in most Asian grocery stores. Other curry ingredients like kaffir lime leaves may be harder to find or difficult to buy in the right quantities, and that is why we started selling our curry stock in pint and quart-sized containers. Just add your own vegetables and protein and we'll provide the flavor!

I did find one other authentic Thai restaurant that acknowledges the special status of sweet green curry in Thai cuisine. If I am ever in the United Kingdom, I will be sure to visit Lanthai restaurant to sample their Queen of all Curries.

Because Thai green curry is the best green curry no matter where you eat it!

[photo credit: Dick Sonnen!]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twitter TrueThai

I love it! True Thai has been on Twitter less than two weeks and already we have 56 63 80 92 "followers."

At Twitter it's not just about followers, but about messages and your messages about us have meant a lot to me. From this tweet about our being open on Sundays to others tweeting about their "perfect" Mothers Day at True Thai, you're the greatest customers ever!

I see that some of you have posted pictures of your True Thai experience on Flickr as well! Email us and we'll be glad to link to your pictures (we've found quite a few of them already, but we'd prefer to have your permission before using them on our site). Who knows? Maybe we'll buy the rights to your True Thai picture!?

Sorry, no True Thai on MySpace or Facebook yet. (Do you think we should?)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Our best Sunday ever!

True, yesterday was also the first Sunday we've ever been open, but thanks to all of you it was a success! A friend who dropped by shortly after 1 p.m. was amazed at how many customers were in the restaurant.

"There are plenty of parking spaces in back and on the street" he exclaimed.

"Well," I replied, "True Thai has a lot of friends who live within walking distance."

And it's true: the people of Seward are our biggest fans and supporters. Maybe that's why we've developed so many traditions at True Thai over the years. Did you know:
True Thai customers get free ice cream on their birthday?
You can bring in a birthday cake and we'll serve it to your party at no extra charge?

You can bring in your own sauces or oils for us to use in fixing your meal?

That you can bring in your own music if you're using the party room?
At True Thai it's all about the food and you, our customers.