Since 2000


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Long ago, the Thai migrated from China, and like the rest of their culture, their cuisine evolved from Chinese foundations. But to traditional Chinese dishes, the Thai add lively flavorings. In each appetizer, side, soup or entree, they try to balance sweet, sour, salty, bitter and heat. The result is a cuisine MUCH livelier than Chinese, which the Thai consider bland and boring. They keep the Tea and Rice from Chinese cooking but add Lemongrass, plentiful in the more Southern Thai countryside. The Thai brought the Wok, Deep Frying and Stir Frying from China, and use lots of Noodles and Soy. In Thailand, the fork is used by the left hand to place food in the spoon held in the right hand. They rarely use knives. A traditional Thai meal will be either a large bowl of Soup, or a series of six or seven smaller bowls of varying ingredients. Sauces are EXTREMELY important in Thai cuisine.

Do not let Royal Thai's Cave Mill storefront appearance dissuade you. Inside, this is a large, classy restaurant with a state of the art Thai menu. It's one of five locations run by Nita and Woody Sirayutwatana, who started in Nashville in 1994. The menu is a fire works display of exotic tastes and textures and on your first visit you'll have a hard time choosing. Among the 13 Appetizers, we like their Steamed Dumplings (filled with minced pork and shrimp), Keow Todd (fried won tons filled with shrimp), and the Combination Platter. We are great Soup fanciers, so we love the Thai soups, beginning with their traditional Tom Ka Gal (coconut milk, chicken and mushrooms). But the Tom Yung Goong is the Thai version of Hot & Sour Soup (with shrimp, lemongrass, lime, mushrooms and tomatoes) and is delicious. They also have Wonton Soup, Salmon Soup and Poh Taek (Seafood Medley). There are seven salads, of which our favorites are the Sua Rong Hai, a toss of beef medallions, chilis, tomatoes, cucumber, onions and lime, and Yum Pla Duk Foo, quick deep fried catfish with chilis, scallions, cilantro, lime, and green apple slices. They offer Seafood entrees (scallops, crab, squid, shrimp, tilapia, snapper, catfish and mussels), five Curry sauces, and four Vegetarian entrees. There are also Roast Duck (outstanding), Lemon Chicken, and Pepper Steak. The Peanut Sauce is excellent. Weekend evenings can get a bit crowded so we advise you go early.
Thai Thai at 712 Chestnut is an outstanding Southeast Asian restaurant, much better than you would find in any other city Bowling Green's size. It's in yet another of those great residence restorations that make restaurants here so special. Appetizers include Satay Chicken, Egg Rolls and Fried Sweet Potato. There are five Soups, of which we prefer the Shrimp/Chicken/Fish and Tom Kha Chicken (Coconut Milk, Chicken and herbs). Of their eight Salads the stars are the Waterfall (spice grilled beef, mint, scallions, lime and roast rice) and Som Tam (papaya, shrimp, peanut, garlic, chiles and lime). The usual Noodle/Rice dishes include the classics Pad Thai (fried noodles, chicken, shrimp, egg, bean sprouts, onions, chopped peanuts), Crab Fried Rice (jasmine rice, crabmeat, onion, peas, carrots, egg) and Pineapple Fried Rice (jasmine rice, pineapple, shrimp, chicken, onion, cashews). We think their signature Entrees are the Basil Eggplant (stir fried chicken/beef, onion, eggplant, broccoli, carrot, zucchini, chiles and basil), Sweet & Sour (spicy sweet and sour sauce, chicken/beef, pineapple, tomato, cucumber, scallion, zucchini and onion), and Thrice Ginger (sauteed chicken/beef, onion, pepper and fresh ginger in a delicate ginger sauce). However, if you're a hard core Thai lover, they also serve the Classics : Masaman Beef (braised USDA London Broil in masaman curry sauce, onion, potatoes), Hor Mok (red curry, mixed seafood, herbs, vegetables and egg) and Four Friends (pan seared chicken, beef, shrimp, vegetables, spicy sauce and cashews). They can adjust your spice level on a 1-10 scale. On a first visit start with a 1; anything above a 3 is blazing hot. Allow time for very slow service. Thai Thai
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