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Treat yourself to genuine Thai dishes at Aloha Thai Cuisine

By Staff | Nov 19, 2009

Chef Urai Charbonneau presents her Thai cuisine (clockwise from top, center): Tom Yum Soup, Eggplant with Tofu, rice, Pad Thai, Fried Bananas with Honey, Green Papaya Salad, Sticky Mango Rice, Spicy Lemongrass Chicken, Panang Curry with Chicken, Thai Tea and Thai Coffee. Photo by Rob Reed.

LAHAINA — Well-known for its variety of small restaurants, The Wharf Cinema Center is proud to announce a new addition. Welcome to Aloha Thai Cuisine, featuring authentic Thai dishes prepared by charming Chef Urai Charbonneau.

“I always loved cooking and was good at it,” said Urai. “I learned most of my recipes from my mother back home in Thailand… I came from a family of eight kids that were all good cooks, but I was the best!”

“I started cooking professionally in Bangkok and then came to the United States, where I attended the Culinary Institute at City College in San Francisco," Urai continued. “I worked at many restaurants in San Francisco; I especially enjoying working at the locally famous Kelly’s in the Financial District.”

“I work all the time. I love my job. My cooking isn’t modified to please the Western pallette. I cook the old-fashioned way — everything from scratch. It’s the real deal!”

Well, we were ready for the real deal and started our Thai feast with a mammoth bowl of Tom Yum Soup — a spicy soup with lemongrass, Kafir lime leaves and tofu. One can order it hot or mild (ours was medium and delicious).

The excellent Pad Thai contains stir-fried rice noodles with egg, bean sprouts, onions and roasted peanuts with choice of chicken, beef, pork or tofu. It’s a hefty dish — creamy and similar to macaroni and cheese.

The Green Papaya Salad was refreshing with small chunks of fresh cabbage on the side, and our eggplant entree with tofu was splendid with cubes of purple eggplant throughout the dish — how healthful is that?

When it comes to Thai Curry dishes, Urai must be the Queen of Curries! Her Panang Curry with Chicken is not only healthful but sooooo smooth. Qith a Coconut Curry Sauce, zuchini and green beans, you won’t be disappointed with this dish!

It should be mentioned that vegetarians come from near and far to enjoy Urai’s vegetarian dishes.

Spicy Lemongrass Chicken is a close runner-up for great Thai chicken dishes — another winner!

For an unusual, healthful dessert, order the Fried Bananas with Honey. What a fine choice!

The crowning glory of Urai’s desserts is the superb Sticky Mango Rice. Fresh Maui mango crowns the creamy Coconut Sticky Rice — so delicious you won’t leave one kerna1 of rice!

As you can see, the menu offers 74 healthful, nutritious and delicious items (and a haven for vegetarians).

“One man who comes here often said, instead of going to the doctor, he comes to Aloha Thai,” Urai laughed. “I put my whole spirit into the dishes — it makes the food better.”

You’ll find Aloha Thai Cuisine Restaurant, owned and operated by a very vivacious lady, tucked away on the ground floor of The Wharf Cinema Center.

Do treat yourself to a genuine Taste of Thai. There’s validated parking close at hand, and for commuters, the restaurant is just steps away from the bus stop. They are open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 661-1971.

Pau for now…