Middle Tennessee does not scream, “Ooh y’all! Come on down and have some of that pho!” Now, we might scream, but you are likely to hear us hollering about fried chicken, not Thai food. But, Southerners love good food, and we are not food snobs. We will graciously acknowledge any food from any culture that we deem good. And yes honey, Thai food is good.
Perhaps because of its thriving economy or access to so many different urban areas, Middle Tennessee has a large community of Vitnamese, Thai, and Laotians. Most of these folks have their roots among the Hmong mountain folk of Southeast Asia. These groups of people constituted a large number of the refugees who fled after the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. Because of this large community of Asians, we have a plethora of Asian restaurants. Most of them are your mom and pop variety that serve steaming bowls of noodles and egg rolls.
“A Taste of Thai” on Church Street in Murfreesboro, Tennessee is a cut above the best. The small family-owned and run restaurant does not offer any all-you-can-eat buffet, but they do offer fresh authentic Thai cuisine at a reasonable price. Like most Thai restaurants, the menu includes Asian staples like spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken, sesame chicken, and fried rice. But, “Taste of Thai” includes other more exotic dishes. The following is just a sampling of what this hidden food gem has to offer:
Mee Krob–a plate of sweet, crispy noodles mixed with shrimp, pork, and egg topped with bean sprouts
Larb–minced beef spiced with mint and homemade chili sauce, sliced red and green onions, lime juice and tender cabbage
A variety of traditional pho, which is a hearty Vietnamese street soup made with an assortment of meat, spices, and noodles
Rama–beef or chicken sauteed in a red curry paste with just a dash of coconut milk and ground peanuts
A variety of squid and shrimp dishes
Mixed clay pot meals, which are exactly what you think they are–an assortment of meats, spices, sauces, vegetables, noodle and rice served family style.
Besides being authentic traditional Thai food, the prices won’t make you think that you’ve spent a fortune on some big-city gourmet restaurant. “A Taste of Thai” lets Southerners like me get an authentic taste of fresh Thai cuisine without breaking the bank. Like I said, it’ll make you go “Ooh y’all!”
The cover image belongs to Melissa Reese Etheridge.