Whether you're looking for a taste of the exotic or just looking to warm up this winter you may want to take a look Food Thai Thai. Located in the Merritt Creek Farm shopping center, the small family restaurant offers a variety of soups, noodles and curries. In addition to photos of various Thai cities, an assortment of Thai pottery, art and cooking equipment give ambiance to the restaurant's decor. There's even a bicycle driven food cart at the front of the store that not only pays tribute to the country's traditional street food, but also displays the restaurant's many homemade desserts. The restaurant, which opened in July, is owned and operated by the Saisuk family.

Co-owner Chayanon Saisuk grew up in Thailand before moving to Pennsylvania, followed by a move to Huntington to study at Marshall University. He runs the restaurant with his father Saipin.

"I think there was a Christian bookstore before we moved in here. It took about a year to negotiate and build the place, then it took about six months. Four of the months were building and the other two getting inspections and everything ready," Chayanon Saisuk explained. "Since I was a kid, I always liked trying different types of food. Here, I sometimes thought the food could be more authentic. Pad Pong Karee, for instance, is a kind of yellow curry that I could get back home that I didn't see served around here."

One of the traditional Thai dishes on the menu is Pad Pong Karee, which is stir-fried meat (your choice of shrimp, chicken or pork) with yellow curry, scrambled eggs, and vegetables with rice on the side. There's also Tom Kha Gai, a traditional chicken, mushroom and coconut milk soup. For veggie lovers there's Yam Moo, a salad served with spicy pork, onion and tomatoes.

"For people who are new to Thai food I usually ask if they want to start with some appetizers. One of the things we have among the appetizers is the salted pork belly. We steam it, deep-fry it, and slice it. So it's kind of like bacon. It's really popular back home and not many people have it here. If people like shrimp, I recommend our shrimp cake. They're crispy on the outside and light and bouncy on the inside. We coat them in breadcrumbs and serve them with a light yellow sauce," Saisuk said. "Most customers start with Pad Thai, but I always ask if they want to try something traditional. I can recommend Rad Na, which is a noodle dish. We also have different curries. Red curry tends to be spicy, green curry is flavorful and Panang curry is flavorful. I try to explain as much to the customer so they know how we eat it. I had a gentleman come in with a sore throat. I recommended a noodle soup that was warm but not too spicy."

The restaurant has a wide assortment of different Thai deserts. These include Kanom Foy, a gold-colored egg-based dumpling, and Kanom Tuay, a custard made from rice flour and coconut milk. You can also wash down your meal with a glass of Thai Tea or a house made smoothie called a Frosty with real fruit juice.

"My plan is to use different deserts on different days. We might have something pumpkin related around Halloween or Thanksgiving or something. We might also have some red and green deserts next Christmas," Saisuk said.

Food Thai Thai is located at 940 Lauren Christian Drive in Barboursville. It is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day but Tuesdays. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For carry-out order or more information call 304-955-5504. You can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Food-Thai-Thai-234354470389603/.

NAME: Food Thai Thai

TYPE OF FOOD: Thai

ADDRESS: 940 Lauren Christian Drive, Barboursville, WV 25504

HOURS: 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, closed Sundays

PHONE NUMBER: 304-955-5504

PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and All Major Credit Cards (No Checks)

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