Weekly Thai-Flavored Pig Roast Coming to South Street

ROASTFLYER1Bangkok-born Chef Alex Boonphaya, owner of the mini-chain of Circles Thai restaurants throughout the city, brings a taste of his homeland to his newest location at 429 South Street.

Partnering with New Jersey based meat provider D’Artagnan, Boonphaya will host a weekly “Hog Thai’d” pig roast beginning this Tuesday Nov. 10.

As the Circles restaurants showcase Boonphaya’s skills at providing Philadelphians with authentic cuisine from his native Thailand, he is proud to christen his new location with a special pig roasting recipe combined with Thai flavors.

Each week, he’ll marinate his pigs overnight in Thai herbs and spices including lemongrass, galangal, lime juice and various chilies. He will then pair it with his flavorful, homemade sides and sauces.

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The Newest Circles Is Having A Grand Opening Party

circles-alex-Boonphaya-400Tuk Tuk Real–the Thai-Latino fusion experiment by chef Alex Boonphaya and his sous, Silvestre Rincón-Tellez–did not go well. There were problems with balance, with presentation, and the place got kicked around pretty good by our own Trey Popp. When it closed a few weeks back after just nine months in business, no one was really surprised.

And when it was announced that Boonphaya was going to be turning the location at 429 South Street into another outlet of his well-liked Circles Thai restaurant mini-chain, folks were happy. Circles is dependably good. Thai is Boonphaya’s comfort zone. All of this is good news.

Even better? He’s celebrating the re-opening of the space Tuesday, August 4 with a whole bunch of free grub for the neighbors.

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Because Some People Just Like To Be Hurt: It’s A Thai Tapout Dinner At Circles

Alex Boonphaya
The heat is ON on Thursday July 16th at Circles Thai.

Here’s the deal: chef Alex Boonphaya is hosting a 5-course Thai Tapout dinner, and he’s so confident that his dishes are too spicy to endure that he’s buying dinner for anybody who finishes the full five course meal. Winners who “beat the heat” will also receive a complimentary t-shirt.

It’ll work like this. Dinner costs $45, but can be made progressively cheaper by finishing the spicier courses. The first course is the most mild (4/10) and the last is the spiciest (10/10). If you make it through three, you pay $30. If you make it through four, you pay $20. If you attempt the fifth, you pay $10, and it’s free if you finish every last bite. Be warned: the fifth course features a ghost pepper concentrate–which is just crazy because concentrating the world’s hottest pepper into one fiery paste sounds just ridiculously dangerous.

But also kind of cool.

Anyway, keep reading, you masochists.

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Alex Goes To Jimmy’s House: The Big Night


Circles chef Alex Boonphaya and his wife are tired. They’ve slept less than 90 minutes and they’ve just finished serving 70 diners out of a kitchen that’s not their own. But their first dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan seems to have gone well and now they desperately need a drink … or a bed.

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Alex Goes To Jimmy’s House: Tagging Along On A Midnight Shopping Trip For A James Beard Dinner

AlexShoppingThe Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market is a lonely place at midnight. And that’s just how Circles Thai chef/owner Alex Boonphaya likes it. The refrigerated temperature doesn’t phase him despite his short-sleeved t-shirt, and on this past Wednesday morning, he quietly looks over boxes full of colorful fruits and vegetables imported from around the world–trying to decide which will make the cut for his dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan tonight.

To call Boonphaya unassuming is to speak a significant understatement. Though he continues to win “Best of Philly” awards and survived a year-long application process to cook at the famed Beard House, his manner is shy and his ego is most assuredly in check. As he ambles through the Essington Avenue warehouse, glancing frequently at a notebook where he’s written a meticulous shopping list, he thanks product runners graciously, simply answers “yes” to a cashier who asks if he’s a chef, and orders a humble tuna sandwich to go for dinner from the on-site diner.

“Chefs don’t eat very glamorously,” he says softly to a member of the three-person entourage who’s accompanied him on this evening’s errand.

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Alex Goes To Jimmy’s House: Circles Hosting A Pre-James Beard Dinner

free dinner circles

For those who can’t make it to chef Alex Boonphaya’s James Beard House dinner next Thursday, August 14, the owner of the growing mini-chain of Circles Thai restaurants (and perennial Best of Philly winner) will host a preview at his Northern Liberties location tomorrow at 6pm.  For $50 you can BYOB for six courses plus a pre-dinner sparkling wine (included) and hors d’oeuvre reception that spans the breadth of Thai cuisine.

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Thai New Year Knife Fight At Circles


Chefs Alex Boonphaya (of Circles) and Peter Woolsey (of Bistrot La Minette) were just going to get together for a plain old collaboration dinner in celebration of the upcoming Thai New Year. But then they thought, “Hey, you know what would be more fun? Let’s turn it into a battle!”

Which is exactly what they’re doing–a 3-course by 3-course, head-to-head cook-off wherein 40 guests will get to determine who is the best Thai cook in the house. And if you’re up for it, you can be one of those 40 judges.

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Free Lunch at Circles Thai

Alex-Boonphaya-Circles-Photo-by-Courtney-AppleOn Tuesday, November 26th chef and owner Alex Boonphaya is giving away lunch at Circles in South Philadelphia to celebrate the Thai restaurant’s fifth anniversary.

Everyone who stops by the restaurant between noon and 2 p.m. will get to choose among Basil Fried Rice, Pumpkin Curry, Tofu Pad Thai and Pad Prik Khing with Tofu.

Limit one dish per person.

Circles Thai – South Philadelphia [Foobooz]

Circles Gets A New Lunch Menu, Offers Free Burgers (Yeah, Burgers)


And because Circles is a Thai restaurant, it makes total sense that, to celebrate the new menu, chef Alex Boonphaya is giving away free burgers to everyone at the Northern Liberties location between noon and 2pm tomorrow–the day the new menu launches. I mean, nothing says Thailand like a nice cheeseburger, right?

Actually, the burger? That isn’t so weird since, slowly but surely, Boonphaya has been turning Circles into a strange kind of Thai/Mexican/American/Indian/Spanish/Korean fusion restaurant with things like Thai burritos, kimchi tacos with Penang beef, lamb massaman naan pizzas and nachos on the new board.

Oh, and that burger? Not your traditional bar burger, natch. He’s calling it a Sai Oar burger, making it with ground beef and lamb, topping it with fried onions, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese and a fried egg and and serving it with tomatillo sauce.

You can check out the full lunch menu after the jump. And trust me–it’s worth a read.

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