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 Hosts Beer Dinner for Philippine Relief


Alex Boonphaya | Photo by Courtney Apple

Circles Thai in Northern Liberties has been planning a beer dinner on Thursday, November 14th with upstart Saint Benjamin Brewing Company for some time now. But with the devastation of the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan, Circles chef and owner Alex Boonphaya has changed the dinner into a fundraiser. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the four-course, $35 beer dinner will go to relief efforts.

Reservations are available for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. seatings and can be made online.

The menu » 

Thai Singha House Is on the Move


The Hub, the brightly colored apartment building that houses Distrito on the first floor is getting a sibling. Property has the story on Hub 2, that is springing up adjacent to the Hub along Chestnut Street at 40th Street. Being lost in the Hub 2 development is Thai Singha House, which is relocating to 3900 Chestnut Street this September. For now Thai Singha is only available via delivery.

A University City Sequel: The Hub, Part Deux [Property]
Thai Singha House [Official Site]

Adam Erace reviews South Philly’s Ratchada


From Cafe de Laos to Ratchada, the South Philly Thai/Lao haven may have changed its name, but to Erace, it’s still bringing the heat—both literally and metaphorically.

…the heat of the crushed red chilies colliding with the sweet of palm sugar, sour of lime juice and salty of fish sauce and peanuts in the chaotic harmony that underscores Thai cooking. They flamed the tom zap, the lemony soup from the north poured over chopped spare ribs that separated from their bones like bananas from their peels, and the tom kha, the quenching coconut soup from the south best provisioned with tender curls of pink shrimp. They electrified the laab duck, finely minced bits of tender meat, unctuous fat and candy-shell skin greened with cilantro and scallion, blended with bell pepper, red onion, pineapple, lime, fish sauce and roasted sticky rice — an uncommon ingredient made from roasting raw grains with lemongrass, kaffir-lime leaves and galangal and grinding the mix into a toasty herbal gunpowder. The flavorful, dynamic mix was piled over lettuce, though to call it a salad would be like calling a T. rex a lizard.

Ratchada Brings Together the Big Flavors of Thailand and Laos [City Paper]
Ratchada [Official Site]

Two Bells for CHeU Noodle Bar

The Cheu mascot?

Craig LaBan visits CHeU Noodle Bar, the decidedly untraditional Asian restaurant by Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh.

The barbecue pig tails may be my favorite new bar food of the year, the sublimely tender shreds of meat, spiced with togarashi and hickory smoked, slip right off their wing-nut-shaped bones in a finger-licking Korean barbecue glaze. Paired with kimchi-cured ramps, fermented far longer than the standard cabbage, a plate of these tails should automatically trigger a round from the former BYOB’s new list of craft canned beer. (The $3 Bud and Pabst are for Puchowitz and Darragh, respectively.)

Also a must is the gingery broccoli sauteed with house-made Vietnamese sausage crumbles, fish sauce, and lime. The paku ribs, cut from an oversize piranha relative, are roasted with crispy tamarind-glazed skin over charred corn salad, and were uncannily like tender white pork ribs.

Two Bells – Very Good

CHeU Noodle Bar: Intriguing, tasty ramen [Philadelphia Inquirer]
CHeU Noodle Bar [Official Site]

Best Thai and Lao in the Area


Craig LaBan reviews Sa-Bai-DeePhiladelphia magazine’s pick for best Thai in the suburbs in 2012 and finds it just as enjoyable. The Upper Darby BYOB serves up Lao cuisine as well as Thai and LaBan says it is as good as any Thai restaurant in the area.

I was impressed simply with the vivid freshness of flavors and delicacy of the cooking. The satay chicken was notably tender and completely infused with its marinade of coconut milk, turmeric, and galangal. The bone-in BBQ chicken app reminded me more of a Thai-style jerk, the gingery, lemongrass-rubbed meat roasted to a juicy brown over the charcoal grill.

The pad Thai was excellent, the fettuccine-wide rice noodles wearing a perfect sweet-and-tangy brown shine (with a faint fish sauce undertow) as they tangled with tender shrimp, cilantro, and roasted peanuts.

Two Bells – Very Good

Sa-Bai-Dee [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Sa-Bai-Dee [Official Site]

Where We’re Eating: Mango Tree Bistro


Philly is a desert when it comes to decent Thai food, but compared to the suburbs, the city comes off like Thai-food Nirvana. Which is why it’s such a pleasure to find those rare suburban places that seem to spring into existence against all odds and survive solely on the backs of those who understand how lucky they are to have a reliable outlet for spicy curry and tom yum soup.

Mango Tree is one of those—a lovely BYO Thai bistro set right off Ridge Pike in the charming commuter suburb of Eagleville. It draws a good lunch crowd, serves a lot of pad Thai and Evil Jungle Princess curry, then quiets considerably after dark. Dining in is nice enough (if a bit lonely during the dinner shift), but the place does a brisk takeout business and offers large portions of consistently good drunken noodles, massamon curry and pineapple fried rice. Provided enough people find it and commit to coming back, Mango Tree could easily (and deservedly) become the go-to Thai spot for the NW suburbs.

Mango Tree
3120 Ridge Pike

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