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At Thai Restaurant Siam, 90% are Repeat Customers! Thai Food Loved the World Over Available in Nanjo City
post : 2018.12.28 06:00
Ethnic cuisine is popular world over for the variety, taste, the healthy and detoxifying effects, recovery from fatigue, and ingredients that promote beautiful skin.
In particular, Thai cuisine has become increasingly popular in Japan, with dishes prepared with plenty of herbs and spices in dishes like the tom yam kung soup and tom kah gai (soup with chicken and coconut milk), green curry, yam woon sen (glass noodle salad), and others.
Siam is a Thai restaurant that opened for business in 1994, in Nanjo City which is located in the southern region of Okinawa Island. It’s hard to forget the delicious foods served there, and customers regularly come by even from far distances, and families of three generations are often seen at the restaurant. The clientele is diverse, and they say 90% of their customers are repeaters! To tell you the truth, I’m one of their regulars and whenever I feel like enjoying Thai food, Siam is where I go.
The chef is a local man by the name of Yasushi Inoue. After graduating from culinary school, he gained experience working at a Chinese restaurant, and later, he honed his skills at Thai cuisine when he worked at a Thai restaurant in the Sunmarina Hotel (presently the Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Hotel) in Onna Village.
Ms. Inoue is in charge of the floor, welcoming and tending to the customers. They met when she came to the Sunmarina Hotel as an interpreter for a Thai chef. After their meeting, they soon married.
Not only is their food wonderful, but the interior decorations are great, too. The lamp shown on the left is handmade by Ms. Inoue.
Number of dishes available at Siam are created by the couple, and many of the local Japanese customers enjoy the taste. Customers often say their dishes are definitely from another land, but somehow very familiar and nostalgic tasting at the same time. The foundation of their dishes are tastes from the home cooked meals that Ms. Inoue enjoyed with her family in Thailand, to which Yasushi added his experience and arrangements to.
One of the most popular items on the menu is their tom yam kung, said to be one of the top three soups in the world. When this soup is brought to your table, you’ll first enjoy the scent of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and galangal, and once you enjoy a sip, the orchestra of aromas will take over your senses. The fresh taste of lemon brings all the tastes together, leaving a lasting flavor. The tom yam kung soup is said to promote fat-burning effects, and also is good when your body feels tired, or when you feel like you’re coming down with a cold.
The chicken and cashew stir-fry is another all-time favorite, with their special paste made with chili oil and shrimp. Excusing my rudeness, I asked what the difference was with their special paste compared to those available on the market, and the response I got from Ms. Inoue was, “It’s TOTALLY different. I can’t create the taste that I like and want by using store-bought paste.” This wonderful dish with its great tastes of chicken and vegetables, and the crunchy texture of cashew nuts, goes so well with rice or even with beer, too. The spiciness is just right and stimulates your appetite, but they can adjust the spices if you’re not a fan of hot food, so feel free to let them know.
My personal favorite is their khao phat, the Thai fried rice. At Siam, their khao phat has the familiar fried rice ingredients like carrots, onions, eggs, and pork, but they also add pineapple as well. Unlike the stickier Japanese rice, the Thai rice is lighter and fluffier. The taste of their fried rice is subtle and gentle, and as you eat, the flavor sinks in and gets better with every spoonful. Once you try their khao phat, you’ll never forget it.
They also select their ingredients carefully, saying, “We want to avoid using additives, synthetic flavoring, and produce grown with chemicals as much as possible. We’re too busy to grow our own vegetables, but we do our best…” This is what got them to start growing the herbs they use in their dishes. Shown above is the kaffir lime leaf, used in the green curry and the tom yam kung, and other major Thai dishes.
In their herb garden, they have basil, holy basil (which has a scent like basil and mint combined), lemon basil, lemongrass, papaya, finger-root (Thai turmeric), galangal, banaba leaf, and wild pepper, all grown completely chemical-free.
Some customers who come to their restaurant tell them, “I think I’m coming down with a cold,” or “My body feels tired and can’t seem to shake the fatigue off.” To this, the chef and his wife select ingredients and herbs to create a special menu. Perhaps it’s such love and care they have for their customers on top of the delicious dishes that give people energy, that their customers of all generations keep coming back to Siam.
Address: 136-1 Fusato, Tamagusuku, Nanjo City, Okinawa
Business Hours: 11:30-14:30 & 17:00-22:00
Closed: Mondays & 4th Sunday of the Month
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko