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January 26, 2007, Volume 7 Number 4

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

This week's Guam Diner Bytes is a special edition featuring a round up of the newer Thai restaurants on island. Perhaps it's due to the complex flavors and fresh ingredients, but the popularity of Thai cuisine here has led to a remarkable number of Thai restaurants opening in the past few months. Evidently, we can't get enough of great Thai food and we think that's an excellent thing. These new spots join Thai stalwarts such as Marianas Trench and Thai Kitchen.

One thing that distinguishes many of these new places is the effort by owners to create a more refined dining environment which encourages guests to relax and anticipate. One thing that is true of superior Thai food is that it is not fast food; one needs to be patient to be rewarded. That's where a comfortable dining room makes the wait a pleasure. Of particular note is that all of these restaurants do not use MSG and are rightfully proud that they take the time and effort to create their dishes through the oft time consuming development of natural flavors.

We expect our trusty "Food Guy" to return next week with his usual enthusiastic round up of restaurant and food news. One thing about Guam, there is always something new happening and the dining choices just keep getting better and better. We should really count our blessings for living in a place where delicious and authentic foods are celebrated and appreciated.

With good taste,
For Ken, the "Guam Food Guy",
the staff

Thanpanee Thai
Hafa Adai Exchange

Thanpanee Thai is one of the new school of Thai restaurants that features a lovely and charming atmosphere. A number of the best Thai restaurants on island are owned by restaurateurs with many years of experience and this one is no exception. Owner Thanpanee "Kim" Screeton, first attracted our notice when she opened King & I Thai on Ypao Road (the restaurant was sold some time ago to others). In this new restaurant, she has brought all of her talent and experience to the forefront ensuring diners a wonderful experience.

Recommended Dish: Tofu Stir-Fried with Lemon Grass ($6.99) "This is without a doubt the best tofu-based vegetarian dish I think I've ever had, anywhere. An intensely-fresh lemongrass essence lightly-permeates the blend of string beans, carrots, onions, straw mushrooms, green onions, baby corn, and tender tofu. Even the presentation was dramatic, with all of these colorful natural ingredients and fresh stir-fried veggies served on a white porcelain-glazed leaf-shaped platter."

Turnjai Thai Restaurant
Tamuning (Near A.C. Auto, Across from Lexus Showroom)

Turnjai Thai Restaurant is a bit unusual in that you can also find delicious Chamorro food. The daily lunch buffets feature both Thai and Chamorro favorites. The owners here are married and it was a match made in culinary heaven for food lovers when Ray Babauta married his Thai sweetheart, Turnjai. When Ray retired they returned to Guam and this is where you'll find them cooking up all manner of tasty food.

Recommended Dish: Beef Penang ($8) This was so flavorfully spicy it easily made the list of one of the best penangs anywhere on island. "Lots of beef slices, bamboo shoots, bell pepper, and thin slices of lime leaf...these held concentrations of the Thai flavors we've all been crazy to have...the gravy is so rich...just a treat!"

Andaman Western & Thai Cuisine
Monticello Plaza (near Cost-U-Less)

The only Thai restaurant in town with a man in the kitchen! Of course that man is noted chef Jhamnong Kraitong formerly executive chef at the Westin and his background accounts for the inclusion of Western and Thai dishes on the menu. So if you're in a group that wants various dining options, this is an excellent choice. You can get everything from an Oven-Baked Maine Lobster to a perfect Green Papaya Salad. Desserts are also exceptional. The presentation of each dish is five-star quality which really enhances the overall dining experience.

Recommended Dish: Tom Yum Goong (shrimp, $6.50/small, $12.50/large) This soup is extraordinary. An enticing presentation of fresh lemongrass, shallots, coriander, kaffir lime, galangal, mushroom and fresh lemon juice. The soups are really exceptional here, "They have a purity and methodology to them...they are made for you to experience each ingredient's taste..."

Pattaya Thai

Not as new as some, but still young enough to make our list, Pattaya's menu emphasizes the words "Authentic Thai Food" with good reason, since Pattaya only serves authentic Thai cuisine, and there are many "foodies" who swear by this restaurant. Pattaya is owned by Pim Sonepoo, the force behind the legendary Pim's Place, one of the island's best Thai spots in the roaring 90's. At Pattaya, Pim cooks each dish to order. Almost any dish on her menu can be prepared as a Vegetarian meal, so just ask.

Recommended Dish: Basil Chicken "Kai Pad Baikraproa" ($8) served "Thai style" with an egg on top. It's a delicious blend of minced chicken with garlic, mushrooms, long beans, hot basil and chilis.

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